Compare and Contrast: Just who is the zealot?

That’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper weighing in on Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons with Peter Mansbridge. In addition to this interview, Mr. Harper was equally unambiguous with the Globe:

Mr. Harper said he has no doubt that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. “There is absolutely no doubt they are lying,” Mr. Harper said, referring to statements by Iran that the nuclear program is for peaceful uses.

The evidence is just growing overwhelming. This is not, as was the case of Iraq, merely the opinion of allies,” he said.

It echoes, almost note for note, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s. As I’ve mentioned before it echoes, almost note for note, Harper’s certainty in 2003 that Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons:

I noted that there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein operates programs to produce weapons of mass destruction. Experience confirms this. British, Canadian and American intelligence leaves no doubt on the matter. Saddam Hussein’s continued non-compliance and non-cooperation with the United Nations only confirms this information.

This runs contra the opinion of the IAEA, U.S., and Israeli military and security services. What’s more, U.S. and particularly Israeli military and security officials are no longer being subtle about their disagreement with leaders like Harper and Netanyahu on Iran.

[H]ead of Israel’s military, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, declared that the Iranian leadership had not yet made a decision to build nuclear weapons, that it was unlikely to go this “extra mile”, and was composed of “very rational people”. “Decisions must be made carefully out of historic responsibility but without hysteria,” added Gantz in a not-too-subtle dig at his political masters.


[F]ormer head of Shin Bet (Israel’s MI5), described Netanyahu and Barak as “not fit to hold the steering wheel of power“. He went on: “I have observed them from up close … They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off … They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won’t have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race.”


Dagan’s predecessor, Efraim Halevy, has said “it is not in the power of Iran to destroy the state of Israel”, and that “the growing Haredi radicalisation poses a bigger risk than Ahmadinejad”. Then there is the current head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, who is said to have told an audience of Israeli diplomats in December that a nuclear-armed Iran would not constitute an “existential threat” to Israel.

The U.S. military leadership is also circumspect:

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said in a television interview that it was “not prudent at this point” to attack Iran, and “a strike at this time would be destabilising”.

But in a comment likely to fuel speculation about Israel’s military plans, he added: “I wouldn’t suggest we’ve persuaded them that our view is the correct view.” The two countries were having a “candid, collaborative conversation” which was continuing, he said.

His concerns were echoed by William Hague, the British foreign secretary, who said it was “not a wise thing at this moment” for Israel to launch military action against Iran.

All of this says a lot about Benjamin Netanyahu. But it also says a lot about Stephen Harper. In fact this, more than any other questionable thing he’s done while in power, reveals the most about the man’s soul. And it is, in my opinion, truly frightening.

It speaks to a black and white, Manichean worldview. It speaks to the dismissal of the advice of experts. It speaks to governing by faith…to whatever end.

This is social conservatism at its absolute, dangerous worst.

At it’s hypocritical worst.

“As a concerned Israeli citizen who lives in the state of Israel with his family and all of his children and grandchildren,” he said, “I love very much the courage of those who live 10,000 miles away from the state of Israel and are ready that we will make every possible mistake that will cost lives of Israelis.”

Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister of Israel. NY Times.

It’s very easy to be brave when you don’t have skin in the game.

It really speaks to how the Harper Government[tm] makes decisions from top to bottom on anything.


One comment

  1. Norman Farrell

    There can be nothing more dangerous than “Armageddonites” holding the levers of power. Instead of forecasting Armageddon, these people are trying to bring it about. Harper’s attachment to a Christian cult is cause for concern and his words amplify that concern.