Norman Podheretz has an op piece in the Wall Street Journal today, in which he “hopes and prays that the US bombs Iran.”
Podheretz was one of the principal architects of Bush’s “ideas” about the Middle East that resulted in the Iraq War. The WSJ piece is an attempt to string together a lot of unrelated history, make Iran seem like Nazi Germany, but somehow even more evil, evoking a religious and racial war to the death…WW IV, as he calls it.
Firstly, 9-11 was not a sudden declaration of war by a religion. It was an attack by a group of Saudis who were fundamentalist Sunni Muslims who wanted our troops out of Arabia…that group of al-Qaeda had, with our assistance, previously ejected the Russians from Afghanistan. They did not follow the Russians home.
There is a similar group with a similar name in Iraq attempting to eject the US troops from that country. They are not the same group that attacked us on 9/11.
Iran is a largely Shiite country, and is historically peaceful. It supported the US efforts against al-Qaeda and the Taliban until Bush, under the influence of Podheretz and the neocons, to declare it part of the Axis of Evil. Its president does not have the power to do a much more than shoot his mouth off (and have his words mistranslated). Iran is ruled by clerics, whose policy is no nuclear weapons. Iran supports the Saudi peace plan for Palestinians. The idea that some day in the future Iran might have a nuclear weapon, that could somehow be placed in a missile and launched in the general direction of Israel is ridiculous. Why would Iran want to blow up thousands of Palestinians or destroy the Temple Mount? And become a target for US nuclear weapons?
Iran certainly would like to see the US out of Iraq. So would everybody in the Middle East except some who imagine that US presence there would help Israel (it won’t). We can buy our oil just like everybody else. If American oil companies want to operate there, they can make competitive bids, just like the Russians and the Chinese. Meanwhile, we can develop alternative energy sources.
But Iran is not al-Qaeda. And we are not living in 1938. And bombing Iran would almost certainly provoke the very sort of religious war that Podheretz is trying to suggest now exists, a war which would, I believe, result in the annihilation of Israel.
Podheretz’ piece, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, is disturbing. But what is more disheartening is that we have a man in the White House who is susceptible to this sort of madness. We have a Vice President who seems to be detached from reality, who is reportedly trying to make an end run around the president, to instigate an attack on Iran. Who knows what Bush will do? He has the power to do whatever his simple thoughts, or “God”, or his “gut”, tells him to. There is no one to stop him but our military brass. A sad commentary on the state of the Republic.