Norman Podhoretz, often regarded as one of the Godfathers of neoconservatism, has a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling for the bombing of Iran. In it he argues that the alternative is to accept that Iran will get a nuclear weapon and that it will be used against Israel despite the certainty of Israel launching a devastating retaliatory nuclear strike that would destroy Iran. He writes:
…that the prospect of being annihilated in a retaliatory nuclear strike, which had successfully deterred the Soviets and the Chinese from unleashing their own nuclear weapons during the Cold War, would be ineffective against an Iran ruled by fanatical Shiite mullahs.
He then goes on to quote a fellow neoconservative, Bernard Lewis, who in 2007 wrote:
…mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement. We know already [from the Iran-Iraq war] that they do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers… They are giving them a quick free pass to heaven and all its delights.
This is a complete furphy. What both Lewis and Podhoretz – and, indeed, all those that argue that Iran is some kind of nihilist state – fail to understand is that Iran is exactly the opposite; it is a survivalist state. The state did not ‘kill their own people in vast numbers’ but, rather, vast numbers of Iranians volunteered to sacrifice their lives in order to defend their country from annihilation by Iraq and ensure its survival. Why then would Iran risk annihilation at the hands of Israel?
This is not the first time Podhoretz has called for the bombing of Iran. In 2007, toward the end of the George W. Bush presidency, Podhoretz hoped to persuade Bush to take on Iran before he left the presidency by writing an article in Commentary magazine entitled “The Case for Bombing Iran”.
In this fear-mongering piece of nonsense Podhoretz repeats the lie that the then Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had threatened to ‘wipe Israel of the map’. (In fact Ahmadinejad was quoting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who, in 1980, had actually said: ‘This occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the arena of time’.) Podhoretz goes on to claim that it is Iran’s intention to dominate, not just the entire Middle East, but, according to Podhoretz:
He has a larger dream of extending the power and influence of Islam throughout Europe, and this too he hopes to accomplish by playing on the fear that resistance to Iran would lead to a nuclear war.
Iran, of course, has moved on and has a new far more conciliatory president who is willing to talk with the West (much to the annoyance of Israel and their neocon supporters) and who insists that their nuclear program is about developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and not for building bombs – a notion supported by the fact that there is not one piece of hard evidence showing otherwise.
While Iran has moved on, Podhoretz, clearly, has not. The world can only hope that Netanyahu, who obviously is on the same page as Podhoretz, has advisors that have the good sense to ignore Podhoretz’s ravings.