The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 23, 2013

Fact checker: Obama's speech in Israel versus Bush's speech

(Continued)

In one notable distinction, Obama leaves the door open a bit for Hamas to reform itself and engage in peace talks, whereas Bush simply lumped the militant group, which now controls Gaza, together with al-Qaida and Hezbollah as entities that would be defeated. Regarding Iran's desire to "wipe Israel off the map," we have previously noted that there are questions about the translation and context in which Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made that statement.

_Pledge that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon:

"Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon." — Bush

"I have made the position of the United States of America clear: Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. This is not a danger that can be contained. As president, I have said to the world that all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. America will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran." — Obama

In some ways, Obama's statement is stronger. He places the burden on himself and the United States to prevent Iran from getting nukes, whereas Bush said it was up to the world. Obama, of course, has set the long-term goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons — a stance that helped him win the Nobel Peace Prize — and so any crumbling of the nonproliferation regime on his watch would be a personal setback. Some analysts believe this dynamic means he would be willing to attack Iran if diplomatic efforts failed.

_Pledge that the United States has Israel's back:

"Some people suggest that if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of our enemies, and America rejects it utterly. Israel's population may be just over 7 million. But when you confront terror and evil, you are 307 million strong, because America stands with you." — Bush

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