Norman Podhoretz, the “patriarch of neoconservatism,” recently published a book entitled “World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism,” staunchly supporting the Iraq war and pushing for war with Iran. In June, Podhoretz published a controversial piece in Commentary magazine titled “The Case for Bombing Iran.”
The Politico reports today that President Bush has been listening to Podhoretz’s radical agenda, recently enlisting Podhoretz to discuss his views on Iran. In a meeting that “was not on the president’s public schedule,” Bush and Karl Rove “sat listening to Norman Podhoretz for roughly 45 minutes at the White House”:
Rove was silent throughout, though he took notes. The president listened diligently, Podhoretz said as he recounted the conversation months later, but he “didn’t tip his hand.”
“I did say to [the president], that people ask: Why are you spending all this time negotiating sanctions? Time is passing. I said, my friend [Robert] Kagan wrote a column which he said you were giving ‘futility its chance.’ And both he and Karl Rove burst out laughing.
“It struck me,” Podhoretz added, “that if they really believed that there was a chance for these negotiations and sanctions to work, they would not have laughed. They would have got their backs up and said, ‘No, no, it’s not futile, there’s a very good chance.’”
President Bush has loyally supported Podhoretz’s agenda in the past. In 2004, he bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — on Podhoretz, calling him a “fierce intellectual man” with “fine writing and a “great love for our country.”
Today, Podhoretz’s calls for bombing Iran are being echoed in the administration. According to Newsweek, Vice President Cheney considered a plan to allow Israel to conduct missile strikes against Iran “in an effort to draw a military response from Iran, which could in turn spark a U.S. offensive against targets in the Islamic Republic.”
Podhoretz has argued that “if we were to bomb the Iranians as I hope and pray we will…we’ll unleash a wave of anti-Americanism all over the world that will make the anti-Americanism we’ve experienced so far look like a lovefest.” By enlisting Podhoretz’s advice, President Bush is demonstrating that there isn’t any idea too radical for him to consider.