On Sept. 20, 2002, as the War Party was beating the drum for preventive war on Iraq, lest we wake up to "a mushroom cloud over an American city," The Wall Street Journal introduced an eminent voice to confirm that, yes, Saddam was driving straight for an atomic bomb.
"This is a dictator who is ... feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons," wrote Bibi Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel.
"Saddam's nuclear program has changed. He no longer needs one large reactor to produce the deadly material necessary for atomic bombs. He can produce it in centrifuges the size of washing machines that can be hidden throughout the country -- and Iraq is a very big country. Even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover these portable manufacturing sites of mass death. ...
"(I)f action is not taken now, we will all be threatened by a much greater peril ... (for) no gas mask and no vaccine can protect against nuclear weapons."
This was horse manure of a high grade, as high as that which Richard Perle deposited on the podium of the Foreign Policy Research Institute a year earlier, when he informed a stunned audience that Saddam "is busily at work on a nuclear weapon."
Perle had it straight from Saddam's "Bomb Maker," "a man named Kadir Hamza." Hamza, said Perle, told him that after the Osirak reactor was destroyed by Israel in 1981, Saddam "began to build uranium enrichment facilities, many facilities, and we built 400 of them, and they're all over the country. Some of them look like farmhouses, some of them look like classrooms, some of them look like warehouses. You'll never find them. They don't turn out much, but every day they turn out a little bit of nuclear materials."
"So," Perle warned his riveted audience, "it's simply a matter of time before he acquires nuclear weapons."
Washing-machine centrifuges in uranium enrichment facilities disguised as barns and chicken coops! And Americans believed it. And so we were stampeded into war against a nation that did not threaten or attack us, to strip it of weapons it did not even have.
That war has cost 4,500 American dead and 35,000 wounded. It has brought death to perhaps a hundred thousand Iraqis. Four million people have been driven from their homes, 2 million, including half the Christians, into exile. Hundreds of thousands of fatherless Iraqi children are being raised by women widowed by that war.
Undaunted, the War Party has a new war planned for us.
Target: Tehran. And Obama may just have boxed himself in.
In return for Bibi's willingness to talk to the Palestinians, Obama agreed to a December deadline for progress in talks with Iran. If the talks are not fruitful by then, America will step on the escalator.