By Jim Miles
Showdown With Nuclear Iran – Radical Islam’s Messianic Mission to Destroy Israel and Cripple the United States. Michael D. Evans. Neslon Current (Thomas Nelson, Inc.), Nashville, Tennessee. 2006. 253 p.
Allow me to get right to the point with this book – don’t buy it. It might be worth the read to see how the extreme evangelicals rationalize when they are not quoting the Bible, but from that you could just as easily guess the view points expressed inside. While an attempt is made to present it in seemingly academic style with many footnotes, the vast majority from internet sources (with the rest garnered from Israeli sources), the vital element of the book is the good old American theme of fear. Accompanying that, knowing the author’s background, it truly is prophecy disguised as intellect.
Michael D. Evans has published many books and has a large enough audience that his book Beyond Iraq replaced Bill Clinton’s memoirs on the best sellers list, and his more recent work The American Prophecies – Ancient Scriptures Reveal Our Nation’s Future rose to number one on the Amazon non-fiction list even before it was published. That impetus led it to number nine on the list of global best sellers in the summer of 2004. Both these books are filled with biblical references about America’s prophetic position in Iraq. Quickly taking a glance through those works I have come across the passage “democracy in Iraq could become as contagious as the ebola virus.” (Beyond Iraq, p. 33) How appropriate a metaphor, as democracy as ebola is certainly having some lethal effects on the Iraqi population as would the real virus (and, with further thought, the occupied Palestinian population, and in Afghanistan as well). Specious arguments aside, the author is definitely in the prophecy business.
And that is very evident in this book. A twenty-three page prologue presents a ‘prophetic’ story of what will happen when Iran obtains several nuclear weapons. Among his statements is that the for the Shi’ites, their “messianic vision required a world apocalypse to bring his [the Mahdi’s] return.” How convenient for this evil enemy, but what about the Christian messianic vision that calls for the same thing, including the conversion, by force if necessary, of the Jewish population of Israel? The nuclear destruction of Tel Aviv is described in language that could have been lifted from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, or heaven forbid, Dr. Helen Caldicott. Apparently Washington D.C. suffers the same fate and “American and Israel had suffered knock out blows.” All I can say is, “What?!” The retaliation from those actions would be so massive that Iran would cease to exist, perhaps along with other parts of the globe as well.
Evans continues his arguments against Iran, referring to Ahmadinejad’s “messianic religious fervor” and “his desire for a major and decisive apocalyptic event” leaving me confused for a moment. The inevitable Hitler comparisons crop into his argument as well, although Hitler was supported by the west initially because of corporate relationships and because of the hope that he would attack the Soviet state from his stated and internally acted upon hatred of communism.
Evans indicates that stopping Hitler cost an arguable 60 million deaths globally (mostly civilians, ever the case) and postulates that stopping Iran will cost 600 million deaths. This use of hyperbole is wonderful to create fear, but I have to admit that if the U.S. and/or Israel attack Iran, the repercussions globally might lead to that and more. If Iraq used its prophesied ‘six’ nuclear weapons against American and Israeli cities, it would not last much longer than a few hours with the losses much lower. But that argument is totally specious, a red-herring and would draw the reader into the fear trap – in truth, nobody knows what the outcomes would be, as no military intelligence (such as it is) has ever been able to foresee final results but has always had to suffer through a series of unexpected and usually malignant outcomes.
Evans’ prophecies about what might occur take up another thirty eight pages of the book, with the underlying tone being the fear factor, and an implied tilt towards Israeli or American pre-emptive attacks, as “world diplomats continue to believe that strong admonitions will have a deterrent effect upon the religious zealots”, again paralleled to Hitler in Europe. And who will deter the American religious zealots?
He ends his book by establishing the idea of “Moral Clarity” in four easy dictums. “Moral clarity demands that” the present conflict be named World War III. Okay, great for Bechtel and Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and Halliburton and Exxon and many others, but not so great for the rest of the world. Clarity number two is that “we recognize the twisted messianic motivations behind Iran’s attacks on Israel and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.” Okay, providing we do the same for Bush’s ‘twisted messianic motivations’ and the American-Israeli attacks on the people of Palestine and Israel’s and America’s pursuit of nuclear weapons….oh…my apologies…they already have thousands, and while the U.S. abrogates all international treaties as it pleases, including the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (trade with India, not decreasing its own arsenal), Israel has never revealed its estimated 3-400 nuclear weapons of all kinds.
On to moral clarity dictum number three – “that the media cover terrorism as it really is.” Finally! Some sense, just what the likes of Chomsky, Blum, Johnson, Bacevich, Grandin, Cockburn, St. Clair, Carroll, and many others have been writing about for years. My mistake…. according to Evans, the media is supporting the terrorists through glorifying them, and terrorizing the people. We certainly would not want to glorify the military, would we Mr. Bush, nor terrify the people with an ongoing terror alert and government acts that limit people’s supposed freedoms.
Finally, moral clarity number four “demands…that Israel is a Jewish state committed to developing democracy.” Ahh, of course, so that is why they are creating prison like bantustans for the Palestinian people, why they are building a fence to create demographic facts that will hopefully ‘transfer’ the Arab-Israeli population to the bantustans, and why they use snipers, live ammunition, bulldozers and militarily trained police to control unarmed Arab-Israeli protesters inside Israel (and horses and batons for Jewish protesters). No, it is a Jewish theocratic state, based on one religion, with every other citizen, and including some ‘lesser’ Jews from Africa and other poor states, being denied the basic civil rights of a truly democratic state. Okay, enough moral clarity, I am glad that he clarified that for us.
This book is scary in its call for pre-emptive action, its underlying demonification of the Iranians, with Israel and the U.S. being the absolute pure light of democracy and reason. It is a book based on supposition and conjecture, a disingenuous mix of academic ‘facts’ and prophetic nonsense. It is scary because it is what the religious right is reading and believing in America and that same population is the narrow edge of victory for Bush and the Republican’s political campaigns. In closing, if you have made it this far, my recommendation still stands, and while I have only covered a small portion of its misrepresentations, I believe my original message is still valid – don’t buy this book.
-Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles. His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.