Rachel Maddow: Bush says 'World War III is worth starting' over Iran
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday October 18, 2007

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In an appearance on NBC's Today Show, Air America's Rachel Maddow suggested that President Bush's warning against allowing Iran to acquire nuclear know-how should not be mistaken for a promise that Republicans can be trusted to prevent World War III.

"What he's saying is that World War III is worth starting, if only over the issue of Iran's nuclear know-how -- not even over the issue just of them having weapons," Maddow stated,

President Bush had indicated in Wednesday's press conference that "if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

"Right now probably the most anti-American country on earth is Pakistan," Maddow continued. "Pakistan not only has a nuclear weapon but has demonstrated that they will proliferate that technology on the black market. The idea that Iran would be cause for World War III but Pakistan's no big worry to us is psychotic."

Iranian leaders have stated many times that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons and that their nuclear program is for strictly peaceful purposes, a claim endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The International Atomic Energy Agency also agrees there is no sign of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and is currently working with Iran to resolve outstanding questions about its activities.

Maddow and Michael Smerconish, a Philadelphia talk show host who sometimes substitutes for Bill O'Reilly, also sparred over the significance of Bush's remark for the 2008 presidential campaign.

Smerconish said he believes Bush's comment was primarily directed at President Putin over his recent visit of support with Iranian President Ahmadinejad. He added that it's hard to disagree with it, because "Ahmadinejad's a crackpot ... he's dangerous, he's also delusional."

While acknowledging that "the administration totally lacks credibility for taking the country to war yet again," Smerconish insisted that "I think historically when the country feels imperiled, the Republican Party benefits. ... It helps the GOP in the '08 cycle."

Maddow responded, "This is good for the country, to know that if you vote for a Republican candidate for president, you are voting for a war with Iran."

The following video is from NBC's Today Show, broadcast on October 18, 2007.