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In my lifetime I've heard and read Christian apocalyptic preachers and writers portray Soviet armies surrounding Jerusalem in prelude to the End, sometimes Soviet & Chinese troops (Gog and Magog). I've heard and read the Antichrist and the Beast identified with almost everyone from Henry Kissinger to the EU to supercomputers. Now, books and lecturers are appearing with Iran and its current leader cast in the end-time roles. I am sceptical of the identification, based on past experience, but, durned if the times don't feel apocalyptic: the leader of a trying-very-hard-to-be-a-nuclear-power Muslim nation, who believes himself and his nation to have a God-ordained role in the revelation of the Hidden Imam, threatening to put Israel into a "permanent coma." We have been cursed with interesting times indeed.

It is almost enough to make me nostalgic for the Politburo. At least those atheists did not really want to die. For them the perks were all in this world with nothing beyond. MAD only works if both sides really, really do not want to die. For the Mad Mullahs of Tehran, on the other hand, the right kind of death increases the perks. Once they get nukes, the old models of deterence will not work. If not Armageddon, then at least a dress rehearsal.
2006 has seen a positive shift in Bush's rhetoric regarding the threat that faces the US. At least GW now is using the term "radical Islam" instead of simply "terrorism." But he still speaks of a small minority having hijacked a "noble faith."
Give me a break. Muhammad and his early followers used military force to unify Arabia which then after his death went on one of the great military expansions of history into the Middle East, across North Africa and the Iberian Penninsula, eastward through Persia and eventually through India, northeastward into Central Asia, and finally with the Turks up through the Balkans and into Eastern Europe.
Religion of Peace? Yes, but remember that the one speaking gets to define the words used. (Always ask, what do you mean by that?) In Islam "peace" is the condition brought into being through submission to Allah. And, Islam aims to bring peace (submission) whether you want it or not. "Peace" in "Religion of Peace" does not mean what an American might first assume.
I am curious as to whether GW believes in his rhetoric at this point, or, if he thinks it politically expedient, or, of he thinks he can help modernize Islam by redefining it.