Gary Sick writes: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not a subtle man. When he has an objective in mind, he is not above resorting to hyperbole, exaggeration, or apocalyptic scenarios to make his point. He has been crying wolf nearly as long as he has been in politics. For a very good reason: It works. And it works. And it works.
Unlike the boy in the story who lost credibility when he sounded the alarm one time too many, each new iteration by Mr. Netanyahu is greeted with nods of grave concern. The latest edition of this long-running show was his appearance on “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
More than 20 years ago, Mr. Netanyahu solemnly informed us that, unless someone intervened, Iran would have a nuclear weapon within five years. That was one of the origins of the “three to five year” mantra. Almost every year since the early 1990s, senior political figures, intelligence specialists and respected commentators have assured us that Iran would surely have a nuclear weapon in three to five years, sometimes less, unless Iran were forced to stop its mad dash for the bomb.
It is not hard to understand the logic of this assertion. Israel itself managed to develop a nuclear weapons capability in absolute secrecy in only a few years. It was not alone. South Africa, India, even poor Pakistan with virtually no heavy industrial base, managed to develop nuclear weapons in secret within a decade or so of the decision to launch a determined program. By most accounts, Iran decided to restart its nuclear program — started under the shah and interrupted by the Iranian revolution — in the mid-1980s, nearly 30 years ago. [Continue reading…]