Monday, December 19, 2005

In Iran, Arming for Armageddon

Washington Post
In Iran, Arming for Armageddon
By Charles Krauthammer

Lest you get carried away with [Friday's] good news from
Iraq, consider what's happening next door in Iran. The
wild pronouncements of the new Iranian president,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have gotten sporadic press ever
since he called for Israel to be wiped off the map. He
subsequently amended himself to say that Israel should
simply be extirpated from the Middle East map and
moved to some German or Austrian province. Perhaps
near the site of an old extermination camp?

Except that there were no such camps, indeed no
Holocaust at all, says Ahmadinejad. Nothing but
"myth," a "legend" that was "fabricated . . . under
the name 'Massacre of the Jews.' " This brought the
usual reaction from European and American officials,
who, with Churchillian rage and power, called these
statements unacceptable. That something serious might
accrue to Iran for this -- say, expulsion from the
United Nations for violating its most basic principle
by advocating the outright eradication of a member
state -- is, of course, out of the question.

To be sure, Holocaust denial and calls for Israel's
destruction are commonplace in the Middle East. They
can be seen every day on Hezbollah TV, in Syrian
media, in Egyptian editorials appearing in
semiofficial newspapers. But none of these aspiring
mass murderers are on the verge of acquiring nuclear
weapons that could do in one afternoon what it took
Hitler six years to do: destroy an entire Jewish
civilization and extinguish 6 million souls.

Everyone knows where Iran's nuclear weapons will be
aimed. Everyone knows they will be put on Shahab
rockets, which have been modified so that they can
reach Israel. And everyone knows that if the button is
ever pushed, it will be the end of Israel.

But it gets worse. The president of a country about to
go nuclear is a confirmed believer in the coming
apocalypse. Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite
Islam has its own version of the messianic return --
the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. The more devout
believers in Iran pray at the Jamkaran mosque, which
houses a well from which, some believe, he will

When Ahmadinejad unexpectedly won the presidential
elections, he immediately gave $17 million of
government funds to the shrine. Last month Ahmadinejad
said publicly that the main mission of the Islamic
Revolution is to pave the way for the reappearance of
the Twelfth Imam.

And as in some versions of fundamentalist
Christianity, the second coming will be accompanied by
the usual trials and tribulations, death and
destruction. Iranian journalist Hossein Bastani
reported Ahmadinejad saying in official meetings that
the hidden imam will reappear in two years.

So a Holocaust-denying, virulently anti-Semitic,
aspiring genocidist, on the verge of acquiring weapons
of the apocalypse, believes that the end is not only
near but nearer than the next American presidential
election. (Pity the Democrats. They cannot catch a
break.) This kind of man would have, to put it gently,
less inhibition about starting Armageddon than a
normal person. Indeed, with millennial bliss pending,
he would have positive incentive to, as they say in
Jewish eschatology, hasten the end.

To be sure, there are such madmen among the other
monotheisms. The Temple Mount Faithful in Israel would
like the al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount
destroyed to make way for the third Jewish Temple and
the messianic era. The difference with Iran, however,
is that there are all of about 50 of these nuts in
Israel, and none of them is president.

The closest we've come to a messianically inclined
leader in America was a secretary of the interior who
24 years ago, when asked about his stewardship of the
environment, told Congress: "I do not know how many
future generations we can count on before the Lord
returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill
to leave the resources needed for future generations."
But James Watt's domain was the forest, and his weapon
of choice was the chainsaw. He was not in charge of
nuclear weapons to be placed on missiles that are
paraded through the streets with, literally, Israel's
name on them. (They are adorned with banners reading
"Israel must be wiped off the map.") It gets worse.
After his U.N. speech in September, Ahmadinejad was
caught on videotape telling a cleric that during the
speech an aura, a halo, appeared around his head right
on the podium of the General Assembly. "I felt the
atmosphere suddenly change. And for those 27 or 28
minutes, the leaders of the world did not blink. . . .
It seemed as if a hand was holding them there, and it
opened their eyes to receive the message from the
Islamic Republic."

Negotiations to deny this certifiable lunatic
genocidal weapons have been going nowhere. Everyone
knows they will go nowhere. And no one will do
anything about it.