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IRAQ - VIETNAM OR MUNICH?

Prof. Bernard Lewis: 'Totally False Analogy To Compare U.S. Role In Iraq With Vietnam - It Is More Similar To Chamberlain At Munich'

'The Incredible Level of International & U.N. Discrimination Against Israel Since Its Founding Shows No Sign Of Dissipating'

'Many Arab Leaderships View Radical Islam & Iran As Greater Dangers Than Israel'

Iranian missiles

Prof. Bernard Lewis, considered by many to be the dean of Middle East experts, has rejected the comparison of the U.S. role in Iraq to Vietnam. Addressing the Jerusalem conference in the Israeli capital, Lewis called it: 'a total false analogy' - it may be more similar to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his capitulation to Nazi Germany's Adolph Hitler at Munich in 1938. Among other topics, Lewis also explained why many Arab leaderships now view radical Islam and Iran as more dangerous than Israel.

List of excerpts:

  • Iraq vs. Vietnam
  • UN and Israel
  • Iranian threat
  • Al-Qaeda
  • Quolitative edge?
  • Israeli Arabs
  • Arab leaderships

'A totally false analogy' - that's how Professor Bernard Lewis describes any comparison between the U.S. role in Iraq with that of Vietnam. But at this stage it is impossible to discern how the next U.S. president will act in Iraq. There were basically two options: either to continue an active involvement and do what needs to be done to finish the job or to decide that it was all pointless, simply to go home and to make an end of it. But Bernard Lewis declared: ' Iraq is not Vietnam - a closer historical comparison would be with Chamberlain at Munich!'

Prof. Bernard Lewis (Photo: Dan Porges)

The Professor (emeritus) from Princeton noted that even an Iran, armed with conventional weapons should be taken seriously by Israel. The fact that a fanatic Muslim leadership ruled Iran and were pursuing weapons of mass destruction made this a very serious threat. They were acting not in Iran's national interests but in the interests of radical Islam. In their view: 'the Messianic age has arrived and Islam was about to achieve its final victory'. For such leaders the principle of 'MAD' - mutually assured destruction, would not play the role of nuclear deterrent as it had between the U.S. and USSR in the Cold War - on the contrary for the Muslim apocalyptic mindset this was actually an incentive.

But not only the Jewish state had to be very concerned with Iran. Lewis saw signs that Arab leaderships now viewed radical Islam and Iran as greater threats than Israel. This was apparent during the recent Second Lebanon War between Israel and the the Iranian Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. Therefore, this was a possibility worth pursuing by Israel. However, there had been a decline in Israel's military superiority over the years after the sweeping victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, to the nearly averted disaster of the Yom-Kippur War of 1973 to the inconclusive result against the Hezbollah militia in the summer of 2006.

David Essing

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