The Times There are other less creditable reasons for whipping up war hysteria. Mr Bush wants to make sure that he cannot be blamed for a lack of vigilance in the event of some totally unpredictable and random terrorist outrage, which could occur, by the law of probabilities, regardless of whatever precautions might be taken sometime in the next few years. The Pentagon has been looking for an enemy ever since Mr Bush’s election, to justify a vastly expanded defence budget. Moreover, the interests of Israel have a commanding influence on some of the key policymakers in Washington — and Israel’s interests are unfortunately identified at present with the extreme Zionism of Ariel Sharon. For Saudi Arabia, which is increasingly recognised in America as the main wellspring of the fundamentalist poison seeping through all Islamic countries, it is convenient if America’s anger is deflected on to Iraq and Iran.

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