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That Was Now, This Is Then: Netanyahu Edition

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Benjamin Netanyahu"Would I counsel, necessarily, a preemptive strike on Iran? I'm not sure. I would be very careful about that." - Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002

Journalist Jim Lobe has done a tremendous service to those of us who follow the warmongering propaganda of American and Israeli officials over the Iranian nuclear program.  This week, Lobe reminded us of the testimony then-former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight on September 12, 2002 in which he marshaled nearly every hackneyed talking point about weapons of mass destruction, support for terrorists and the benefits of regime change in an effort to push the United States to illegally invade and occupy Iraq.Six months later, he got his wish.

While Lobe has already masterfully laid out the ignorant assumptions, egregious lies, hysterical hasbara, and shameful bellicosity of Netanyahu's performance, it should also be noted that, when it comes to trying to bully the United States into setting "red lines" or even perhaps initiating a war of aggression, thereby committing once again - in the words of the Nuremberg Tribunal - "the supreme international crime," Netanyahu has stuck to the same script for a decade now.

Of course, as we all know, then it was Iraq and now it is Iran.  In his frenzied and frustrated warmongering efforts, Netanyahu has apparently forgotten to come up with some new zingers, instead hoping that what worked for him in 2002 would work again in 2012 (spoiler: it won't).

Here are some of his greatest hits.

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002:

"[I]t is simply not reflecting the reality to assume that Saddam isn’t feverishly working to develop nuclear weapons, as we speak."

Benjamin Netanyahu, April 18, 2012:

"Today, the regime in Iran openly calls and determinedly works for our destruction. And it is feverishly working to develop atomic weapons to achieve that goal."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002:

"How imminent is it [the threat from Iraq]? Look, do you want to wait and find out?  The answer is no."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 11, 2012:

"The world tells Israel, 'Wait, there's still time,' and I say, 'Wait for what, wait until when?'...The fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002: 

"[Iraq] happens to be one of the two - now, as we know, one of the three - regimes that is racing to build nuclear weapons."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 16, 2012:

"And for me, the issue is, as the prime minister of a country that is threatened with annihilation by a brutal regime in Tehran that is racing to develop nuclear bombs for that and, obviously, we cannot delegate the job of stopping Iran if all else fails to someone else."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002:

"Today the United States must destroy the same regime because a nuclear-armed Saddam will place the security of our entire world at risk."

Benjamin Netanyahu, March 5, 2012:

"For fifteen years, I’ve been warning that a nuclear-armed Iran is a grave danger to my country and to the peace and security of the world."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002:

"Every indication we have is that he [Saddam] is pursuing, pursuing with abandon, pursuing with every ounce of effort, the establishment of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 16, 2012:

"Come on. We know that they're working towards a weapon. We know that. It's not something that we surmise. We have absolutely certainty about that. And they're advancing towards that nuclear program."

Benjamin Netanyahu, September 12, 2002: 

"There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons — no question whatsoever."

During a March 7, 2012 interview on Fox News, Greta Van Susteren asked Netayahu about the case for illegally attacking Iran in light of what the world now knows about the lies that led to the invasion of Iraq.  "Do you have any doubt they [Iran] have a nuclear weapons program?," Van Susteren wondered.  The Israeli Prime Minister replied: "I think there is no question."

Van Susteren continued, "[I]n 2003, with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, there was so much certainty and it turned out, our intelligence was wrong on that. So I am trying to balance the two."

The response from Netanyahu was immediate.  It was also confounding, considering his testimony to Congress ten years ago.  He told Van Susteren:

"First of all, there is no question. There is no comparison. In the case of Iraq, I was on the Israeli cabinet when we discussed this issue. We didn't know. We couldn't say that they didn't have a nuclear weapons program, we couldn't say if they did. In the case of Iran there is absolutely no question."

Over the past decade, Israel has made great strides in recycling.  In regurgitating his jingoistic talking points from a decade ago urging an illegal military assault on yet another Middle Eastern nation, there is no question Netanyahu is leading that charge.


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