CINCINNATI (TDB) -- President Bush spoke last month of the need for a global effort to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons and launching a conflaguration could quickly become World War III. Republican Phil Heimlich, who is seeking his party's nomination in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District, apparently thinks the U.S. should be getting ready for a future rumble with Iran that could include mushroom clouds. He contends everything, up to and including America's nuclear arsenal, should be on the table for a military showdown. Unlike the president, Heimlich doesn't mention World War III; he says the U.S. should "take whatever steps may be necessary" to end all threats from Iran if diplomacy fails.
In diplomatic-speak, the phrase "whatever steps may be necessary" is often translated as meaning armed conflict, or we'll go to war if you don't stop your aggressive behavior. Heimlich is running against U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt in the March 2008 GOP primary.
At the moment, Iran does not have any nuclear weapons. But it appears to be developing them. Bush caused a worldwide stir in mid-October when he remarked during a White House news conference that a nuclear-armed Iran might attempt an attack on Israel. Said the president:
"We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you are interested in avoiding World War III, it seems you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."
Heimlich said he would be a staunch defender of Israel if elected to Congress, and made the comment about Iran near the end of an issues piece that is now posted on his campaign Web site. He said:
"The United States must join with Israel and the international community in achieving economic and diplomatic sanctions to stop Iran from further developing its nuclear weapons program. Most experts agree that Iran has the technology, and certainly the will, to develop a nuclear weapons capability. Iran exhibits an increasingly hostile attitude toward the U.S., Israel, and the West in general. In Congress, I will be a consistent and firm voice for the policy that the U.S. must continue to lead international pressure to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threat, and take whatever steps may be necessary to protect the region and the world from Iran’s aggressive and hostile actions.