Sunday, August 13, 2006

Neocon is not a bad word

Over a year ago I received a copy of an article by Norman Podhoretx, former editor of the journal Commentary and ardent supporter of the Bush Doctrine. A shortened version was published on Opinion Journal (still a lengthy piece). It is as good an articulation of the doctrine as anything else I've read.

I bring it up because the WSJ did a nice piece on Podhoretz, and if you are going to understand why he so ardently supportive of the War on Terror, you need to understand a little bit more about him. It is a worthy piece. Some of my favorite parts:

On the urgency of World War IV:

Does the president understand? Grant that there are no easy answers: Hasn't the administration, on the more intractable questions of Syria and Iran, shown by and large the same weakening of resolve? Mr. Podhoretz winces. The question seems to set his teeth on edge. "There are people who ask George Bush to do everything at once," he declares, "instead of picking his shots and moving at a politically viable pace. It's nice as an intellectual exercise, but what is the point of demanding things that no democratic political leader, not even George Bush, could conceivably do at this time? To my mind it's a kind of right-wing utopianism."

On the difficulties in Iraq:

Mr. Podhoretz attributes the troubles of reconstruction as much to our own irresolution as to what he calls "the recalcitrance and obduracy of the region." "The only reason in my opinion that we're having as much trouble as we're having in Iraq is that we're not getting intelligence. You cannot fight a revanchist insurgency and certainly not one that uses terrorist tactics without good intelligence . . . and you can only get that kind of intelligence by squeezing it out of prisoners. That's all there is to it."
Both domestic opposition and the international community, unhappily, are "defining torture down. The things they're calling 'torture' now have never been and have no business being considered torture." He keeps on: "It is an effort to disarm us that's succeeding to a frightening extent. No, it's worse than that. They're trying to make it impossible to fight terrorism. . . . Every weapon that's been developed to protect us from terrorism, and the Iraqis from internal terrorism, is under assault."

He doesn't mince words or apologize, and he understands the difference between formulating a larger world view and policymaking. Podhoretz voice has been among the most consistent and thoughtful supporters of the war against Islamofascism. An archive search on Opinion Journal yields pages of hits. It doesn't take long to see why.


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