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Netanyahu: U.S. should attack Iran with TV

By P. MITCHELL PROTHERO   |   Sept. 12, 2002 at 4:50 PM
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A former Israeli prime minister Thursday called upon the United States to effect regime change in both Iraq and Iran, prescribing a military invasion to topple the government in Baghdad and the transmission of ribald television programming via satellite into Persia, where he said the influx of pop culture would prove "subversive" to the conservative Islamic regime.

Citing the hundreds of thousands of satellite television dishes in Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu told the House Government Reform Committee that the United States could incite a revolution against the conservative Iranian clergy through the use of such Fox Broadcasting staples as "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills 90210" -- both of which feature beautiful young people in varying states of undress, living, glamorous, materialistic lives and engaging in promiscuous sex.

"This is pretty subversive stuff," Netanyahu told the committee. "The kids of Iran would want the nice clothes they see on those shows. They would want the swimming pools and fancy lifestyles."

But the more pressing issue to Netanyahu is Iran's neighbor, Iraq, which he said was dangerously close to developing weapons of mass destruction -- and would not be susceptible to subversion.

"We understand a nuclear armed Saddam places Israel at risk," he said. "But a nuclear armed Saddam also puts the entire world at risk."

"After Saddam gets a nuclear weapon, it is only a matter of time before the terror networks get nuclear weapons,' Netanyahu warned. "And they will use them if they get them."

Netanyahu said that the 1981 attack by Israel on an Iraqi nuclear facility was justified and implied that it's success hinged on just the kind of unilateralism that President George W. Bush's Thursday speech to the United Nations appears to abjure.

"Did Israel launch this pre-emptive strike with the coordination of the international community?" Netanyahu asked. "Did we condition such a strike on the approval of the United Nations? Of course not."

Burton's statements reflected more respect for the administration's coalition building efforts than Netanyahu's, but he did note that in the face of failing to develop such support for an invasion, he too supported a unilateral attack.

"This morning the president made a strong case for taking action. Now we need to see how the world responds," Burton noted. "I hope that our friends and allies around the world will join us. I hope that we can assemble a strong coalition that will stand up to this dangerous regime. However, if we can't, my view is that we have to do what's in our own best interest. If we determine that Saddam Hussein is a serious national security threat, then we have to act -- alone if necessary."

Netanyahu's rhetoric, at least the military invasion portion of his testimony, found a warm reception from committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-Ind., who said that finishing the war on terror with the occupation of Afghanistan without attacking Iraq would leave the job half done.

"One of the unfinished pieces of business we have is Iraq," Burton said. "In my opinion, this is a problem we can't continue to ignore. Saddam Hussein is a menace. He has chemical weapons. He has biological weapons. He's working hard to acquire nuclear weapons. He's used chemical weapons in the past. We should have no doubt that he'll use them again. And if he succeeds in developing nuclear weapons, we could have a catastrophe on our hands."

But Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich was not as supportive of Netanyahu's calls for war. In a terse exchange that occurred before the former prime minister laid out his "Iran Strategy," Kucinich asked him for additional suggestions for places to invade.

"While you're here, Mr. Prime Minister, are there any other countries besides Iraq that you would suggest that we invade?" he asked.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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