Melissa Harris-Perry | March 17, 2013
>>> ahead on this week's trip to israel , president obama spoke to israel 's channel 2 tv where he talked about iran 's nuclear capabilities.
>> we think it would take over a year or so for iran to develop a nuclear weapon . obviously we don't want to cut it too close. if we can resolve it diplomatically, that is a more lasting solution. if not, i continue to keep all options on the table.
>> the president reiterated his pledge with iran over the nuclear program . his statement clashes with benjamin netanyahu 's beliefs. yet, the question of how close iran is to nuclear capability has been a source of tension with obama and netanyahu and will be an important and difficult conversation when the president is in jerusalem later this week. on that subject of iran , we were talking a bit before the break about whether the iran question becomes a distraction from the palestinian question. i want to play some sound from vice president joe biden . talking about the sanctions and reiterating the seriousness of the united states when it comes to iran .
>> the big nations and presidents of the united states cannot and do not bluff. and president barack obama is not bluffing.
>> so rula, i'll start with you. this is the posture the united states has taken with iran . the most repeated talking point when we talk about the israeli peace process . are we moving past the discussion of israeli and palestinian and the look over here distraction point.
>> it is both. the government and netanyahu made it clear from day one they don't negotiate with the palestinians. they don't want to handle that issue. they built a wall around that issue. it is a tragedy for the israelis . they have to give up one of the two things. their jewish identity or they have to give up the democracy of the state. it has to become an apartheid state . the problem with iran -- the challenge to netanyahu is with the process. many others said iran is far from getting the nuclear bomb . we can stop them without actually real intervention. attacks are taking place over and over in iran . who is killing all the scientists and many other things. sanctions are hammering the iranian economy . to focus on iran , for benjamin netanyahu , he is waving the threat to the audience. he is using one of his guys as the minister of the housing and infrastructure. the man that tells you from day one, i will build in the areas. the area that connects western bank with jerusalem. breaking the last hope for a two-state solution.
>> is iran a genuine threat or distraction from the point of the peace process ?
>> it is a genuine threat to israel . no doubt from the ayotallah down. a direct war of words in support of terrorism against israel . israelis feel that. part of the purpose of the trip for the president is not merely to say we care about the iran nuclear program . it is to convince israelis that they can take the steps necessary for peace knowing the united states is behind their support. the fact we will not move on the palestinian question unless the israelis feel they have the security of the united states completely to take those risks for peace. i have known that ever since camp david one. this is why this is so essential. the work of groups on the ground to continue to nurture a peace to incubate this while the president gets his ducks in a row.
>> he is going to the area to bond and making a peace or talk tough to netanyahu 's government and iran . to send a message to iran that u.s. has bonded with israel . none of this is about middle east peace, but a conversation that takes us off the point.
>> i think it is about more than one thing. it is about iran . it is not just about iran because of israel . let's be here. all of us who visited the arab countries in the gulf know what is at the top of their agenda. it is not israel . it is iran . it is the shi'ite and sunni islam . not to allow iran to get the bomb. do we want to trigger a new nuclear arms race in this region? we don't. i think the president is right in the way he is approaching iran . there is much less difference between netanyahu and obama than first suggested a few moments ago. they see things the same way. number one, the president said no to containment and yes to prevention of iran . number two, yes to diplomacy. not diplomacy that is open-ended. diplomacy with sanctions that tell iranians you cannot run out the clock . number three, we, the united states , have to have a credible military option that says to iranians that we're not bluffing. don't mislead us. that military option, ironically ironically, is the likely way to get to a peaceful settlement. people who served in the region know we don't want to get involved in another conflict. it is not a distraction. when iranian leaders against the back drop of jewish history talk about the elimination of the jewish state , we're obligated to take that threat very seriously.
>> it is like a chess game , joy. here you have iran which we don't want in our interests to get a nuclear weapon . americans say why do we care so much. if we can't take them out, we have to struggle. we don't want that to happen. that is why diplomacy is so important. to his point earlier, this not just a photo op . this is three days of the president of the united states going there and as a follow through, the new secretary of state put this on top of his agenda to see what he can do and try to find some type of solution here because we can't let it go to nuclear weapon . we don't want to start another war in the region.
>> we don't want another iraq . we have to be sure. the tenth anniversary of iraq is now. we have to be sure now more than ever that the reason for the war ten years earlier that was weapons of mass destruction did not exist. we need to be sure there is actually --
>> rula, this is not about the united states .
>> let's let david talk.
>> this is the iaea that has said repeatedly they have profound suspicions about the iranian program and they believe it is defense oriented. iran is supporting the carnage in syria. hamas --
>> wait. we'll have more on this. i know you have lots more to say. we are actually -- i want to make a quick point the iaea was firm that iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and the u.s. went forward.
>> one assessment was flawed? the international community , the british, the french, the germans and israelis and persamericans and iaea agreed on the military aspects of the iranian program that have to be confronted.
>> that will have to be the last word for this segment. thank you, david harris . the rest are staying with more.
>>> when we come back, ten years after the war in iraq began, the new report showing how it all adds