How They Stole the Bomb From Us
For the military and intelligence services, the report is an unmitigated disaster for another reason too. The Iranian bomb plays an indispensable part in the army's annual fight for its massive chunk of the budget cake. For right-wing demagogues, the effect is even more disheartening. Binyamin Netanyahu has built his whole strategy on the Iranian scare, hoping to ride the Bomb right into the Prime Minister's office.
Furthermore, when the Iranian issue cools down, the Palestinian issue warms up. That is especially true in Washington DC. President Bush is in trouble, his fiascos in Afghanistan and Iraq are still dragging on. Any American effort to install a stable government in Iraq, with its Shiite majority, depends on the backing of Shiite Iran. Bush's dream of delivering a lightning stroke against Iran and thus leaving his imprint on history is going up in smoke.
What can he do in order to leave any positive legacy at all? The default alternative is Israeli-Palestinian peace. Perhaps he will now give stronger backing to poor Condoleezza. Perhaps he himself will get more involved. Fact: he is soon going to visit Israel for the first since entering the White House. True, this effort has not much chance of success, but people in Jerusalem are worried nonetheless. That's just what we need - Bush acting like that anti-Semite, Jimmy Carter, who twisted Begin's arm and forced him to make peace with Egypt!