The always interesting Joel Rosenberg calls our attention to a new book about Iran:
In that context, if you’re looking for some light summer reading, you might want to skip The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the State of Iran by Yossi Melman, a leading Israeli investigative journalist, and Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born Mideast analyst who works closely with the BBC, Voice of America and the Los Angeles Times. But if you’re interesting in revealing new insights in Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic religious beliefs, look no further…
The authors note that Ahmadinejad is telling associates time is very short, noting that in 2005, he “made the timetable more specific, saying the Mahdi would reappear in 2007.” He thus increased government funding for the leading Islamic school that teaches about the coming of the Mahdi by 1,000% to $3.5 million.
“With Iran now able to enrich uranium, it could become nuclear in 2007,” the authors conclude. “If that happens, Iran’s nuclear arsenal might give the regime the confidence it needs to start a war, which could then become the ‘platform’ that Ahmadinejad has said he wants to create for the reappearance of the Mahdi.”
Perhaps Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Wendall Goller will use tonight’s debate in Columbia, S.C. — 9 PM EST, 6 PM Pacific– to push the candidates, even the marginal ones, on what a nuclear Iran means for the world and whether or not they would accept such a development if it threatened to occur on their watch. One way to frame the question: “If President Bush announced that the U.S. with or without its allies had struck at Iranian targets in response to reliable intelligence that Iran was close to becoming a nuclear power, would you support the president’s decision given past problems with our intelligence but recognizing the dangers in a nuclear Iran?”
A follow-up: “What would you expect the reaction of Iran to be to such strikes? How would you deal with it if president?”
Sure, it lacks the weightiness of asking about evolution and Karl Rove, but it might show us a lot about the candidates’ and their seriousness –or lack thereof.