The current issue of Commentary magazine — “widely regarded as the leading outlet for neoconservative writing” — features a controversial cover story by Norman Podhoretz titled “The Case For Bombing Iran.”
Podhoretz’s article appeals to President Bush, “a man who knows evil when he sees it” and who has been “battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other in living memory,” to carry out military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. U.S. diplomats are now pointing to the essay to pressure foreign diplomats to increase pressure on Iran.
In a new interview, Podhoretz was asked to comment on the possible fallout of the military strikes he advocates. “Well, if we were to bomb the Iranians as I hope and pray we will,” Podhoretz says, “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.”
Watch it (6:20):
Podhoretz qualified his statement about anti-Americanism, saying it was only a “worst case scenario.” It’s “entirely possible,” he claimed, that “many countries, particularly in the Middle East” would “at least secretly applaud us.”
But even global anti-Americanism is worth it, he argues, to slow Iran’s nuclear program “for five or 10 years or more.” In fact, American Progress senior fellow Joseph Cirincione has argued that such a strike “would not, as is often said, delay the Iranian program. It would almost certainly speed it up. That is what happened when the Israelis struck at the Iraq program in 1981.”
Q: What kind of international fallout can we expect from such a campaign?
PODHORETZ: Well, 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. On the other hand — that’s a worst case scenario, and worst case scenarios don’t always materialize. It’s entirely possible that many countries, particularly in the Middle East — the Sunni countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, who are very worried about Iranian influence and power — would at least secretly applaud us. And I think it’s possible that other countries in Europe, for example, and elsewhere, would be relieved to see the Iranians entirely deprived of the capability to build nuclear weapons, or at least have that ability retarded for five or 10 years or more.