In August of 2006, Bernard Lewis wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal warning that Iran may have “something in store” on August 22. Lewis’ racist and intellectually shoddy piece denigrated Muslims and Iranians for their “apocalyptic world view.” Lewis argued that August 22, 2006 could be the day that Iran destroys Israel (and the whole world “if necessary”) with its nuclear weapons (that it still doesn’t have):
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time–Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as “by the end of August,” but Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement was more precise. What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to “the farthest mosque,” usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (cf Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.
August 22nd could be the day that makes people who are the most skeptical about my World War III theory say, “Holy mother of God, what’s happening?” August 22nd could be the day that agnostics get down on one knee and start to pray, “Sweet Jesus, are you coming today?”
What I’m about to tell you nobody else is going to tell you. Honestly, it gave me great pause today, because it’s verging on the edge of insanity. It really is. With that being said, the source is so good there’s no way I can’t tell you this news.
Let me make this clear. This is not my theory, and I hope that it’s wrong. Princeton University’s Professor Bernard Lewis, this guy, look him up. He has been called the most influential post-war historian of Islam and the Middle East. He is suggesting that Iran’s Islamic end-of-times prophecies could be fulfilled on August 22nd. This August 22nd, 13 days from now.
This shallow view of irrational, undeterrable Iranians is still an extremely popular talking point that has received criticism from many analysts—at best, it can be considered incomplete or disingenuous because it completely ignores the significant impact of radical political groups that espouse an apocalyptic world view here in the US.
Iran still does not have nuclear weapons (or even a nuclear weapons program according to the IAEA and US intelligence reports) and has not attacked or invaded another country in centuries. Despite the countless false predictions and glaring accounts of perception management that have come to light, the reporting on Iran still has not changed.
The Guardian’s Brian Whitaker points out:
This sort of quasi-religious scaremongering always finds a receptive audience in the United States, especially among Christians of the jihadist persuasion. At 90 years old, Professor Lewis may have completely lost his marbles, but he is still feted by the White House (vice-president Dick Cheney was guest of honour at his birthday party in April), and the Wall Street Journal describes him as “a sage”. He is credited with coining the phrase “clash of civilisations” back in 1990 and now seems intent on making it a reality.
don’t suppose this will discourage the neocons from continuing to write such loopy, prophetic nonsense. Here’s another of them, Michael Ledeen, formerly a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, and the Iraq-Niger yellowcake affair, predicting an Iranian nuclear test by November 5:
Irancove @ August 23, 2008