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Obama: “Loose Talk of War” Will Push Iran to Build Nukes

March 6, 2012

In his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002, George W. Bush first referred to Iran, Iraq and North Korea as the “axis of evil.”  President Bush said that North Korea “is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction,”  and that Iran “aggressively pursues these weapons.”  About Iraq, President Bush famously said, “Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade.”

As we all now know, there were no weapons of mass destruction, nuclear or otherwise, in Iraq.  We know this because we sent in troops to find them.  The invasion of Iraq began on March 20, 2003.  Baghdad fell on April 9, and the occupation of Iraq was effectively completed with the fall of Tikrit on April 15.  The invasion took just 26 days and cost a total of 172 American and British lives.

In other words, we took out Saddam Hussein with the military equivalent of a flick of a finger.  President Bush had accused the ruling regimes in Iran, Iraq and North Korea of pursuing weapons of mass destruction, then he destroyed a regime that did not have weapons of mass destruction in less than a month.

Consider this from the point of view of Iran and North Korea.  If you’re Kim Jong-il or Ayatollah Khamenei, what do you do?  Maybe you decide that you better get your hands on some weapons of mass destruction, or else a really, really big air force.  Whatever it takes to keep the Americans from invading.

In recent weeks it has become Republican Chic to suggest that President Obama is not tough enough on Iran.  The warmongering drumbeat is not just bad policy, it’s quite likely the best way to keep North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs alive.

President Obama, who is on so many issues the grown-up in the room, seems to have learned the “axis of evil” lesson.

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