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Netanyahu and Obama Seek "The Truth"

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the United States this week, vowing to expose "the truth" about Iran.

The exposure vow from Netanyahu was just the opening barrage in what is expected to be a four-day visit with ample diplomatic fisticuffs.

Obama spoke last week to the United Nations General Assembly and pledged to turn his attention to a pursuit for peace in the Middle East. Specifically, he said he would focus on resolving the issue of Iran's nuclear development and finding a path to peace between Israel and Palestine.

In Obama's UN speech, he forcefully pointed to the two issues which will consume his diplomatic energies "in the near term":

"America's diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Arab-Israeli conflict. While these issues are not the cause of all the region's problems, they have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.

"The United States and Iran have been isolated from one another since the Islamic revolution of 1979. This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs and of America's role in overthrowing the Iranian government during the Cold War.

"On the other hand, Americans see an Iranian government that has declared the United States an enemy and directly or through proxies taken American hostages, killed U.S. troops and civilians, and threatened our ally Israel with destruction.

"I don't believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. The suspicions run too deep. But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road toward a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect."

Say this for Obama, he knows how to slip AIPAC's talking points into the middle of a peace speech. He did so when he said that Americans see an Iranian government that "has declared the United States an enemy and directly or through proxies taken American hostages, killed U.S. troops and civilians, and threatened our ally Israel with destruction."

To put the best spin on this statement, we might conclude that Obama is referring to what Americans think about Iran (thanks to Israel's propaganda that Iran's primary interest is not its economy but its desire "to wipe Israel off the map," a false statement.)

Whatever he had in mind by including the misleading, inflammatory bromide that Iran threatens "our ally Israel with destruction," it was not an appropriate statement for a world leader seeking to bridge a gap that has extended over 34 years.

Look at the facts, Mr. Obama. Iran wants what every other nation wants, a nuclear power system. Does it want a nuclear arms system? Most likely it does, with one good regional reason.

Israel has long had as few as 80 nuclear bombs and possibly as many as 200. It has long been understood that nations have no intention of ever using a nuclear bomb. Nukes are deterrents. A nation foolish enough to use one against a nuclear-enemy can expect equal or more response, hence, what kept the peace in the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was MAD, mutually assured deterrence.

The irrationality of a small country like Iran building a single bomb and using it to "destroy Israel," thereby evoking enough nuclear bombs into Iran to eradicate forever a country that, until 1924, was the Persian Empire, staggers the imagination. When Netanyahu spoke Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, he made assertions like this sentence, reported by MJ Rosenberg:

"Today our hope for the future is challenged by a nuclear-armed Iran that seeks our destruction."

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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