The question is: then why did Israel attack? And the response–one of the responses, the one by Ariel Sharon–because there was a split in the cabinet whether or not–Israeli cabinet–whether to launch the first strike. And Sharon said, if we don’t–this was Ariel Sharon. It’s the same cast of characters–goes back quite a ways. Ariel Sharon, he says, if we don’t attack, it’s going to diminish our deterrence capacity. What does that mean? Because Nasser was making all of these noises, Nasser did close the Straits of Tehran, Nasser did move troops into the Sinai, and Nasser–you know the rhetorical flourishes about we’re going to defeat Israel and so on and so forth, and so had whipped up a kind of ecstatic hysteria in the Arab world, finally, to challenging Israel.
Now, de facto–de facto–Nasser was a windbag–a congenital problem in the Arab world, leaders who are windbags–and obviously there was nothing backing his claims, but they thought that this was whipping up too much of a hysteria in the Arab world; it’s time to remind them who’s in charge.

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