Lee Smith is an American journalist who moved from Beirut to Jerusalem during the Lebanon war. He likewise invited me on a walking tour of the Old City on the ill-fated date. Americans may be the only ones in the world taking this seriously. But that’s only true of Americans far from the scene. In Israel, August 22 is Tuesday, not Doomsday. ~Michael Totten
Sullivan’s guest bloggers are certainly providing some more interesting fare than is usually on offer at his blog. As I argued before, the hawkish alarmism about August 22 doesn’t even make sense on the Shi’ites’ own terms. It has never helped the reputation of this alarmist tale that Prof. Lewis and the Journal have their obvious biases against Iran and have been known to exaggerate the extremity of a threat to Israel and the known universe from certain allegedly unstable despots in the past. Americans, with their love of end-of-the-world scenarios and a stunning ignorance of the actual tenets of other peoples’ religions, are unusually susceptible to the suggestions of qualified experts who will fill their heads with all sorts of dark visions of madmen unleashing doom on the world, and the spread of the August 22 apocalypse warning only confirms this. That such a thing could have been published in a reputedly respectable American newspaper, rather than being relegated to The Weekly World News along with all the other prophecies of Armageddon, speaks volumes about the credulity of uninformed Americans and the extent to which anti-Iranian hawks are willing to go to push their belligerent policy.