Monday, August 16, 2004


Norman Podhoretz has an article in the current issue of Commentary which should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of the war on terror. I don't say this because the essay contains any new or particularly original arguments, but because, given the venerated place Podhoretz holds in the conservative pantheon, the points made in the essay are sure to be bouncing around the conservative echo chamber for the next few months and repeated ad nauseum in the right-wing press, so get 'em while they're hot.

Straight off, there are a few items that I have a problem with, such as Podhoretz's attempt to lump the PLO in with the broader fundamentalist Islamist movement (through the use of the imprecise term "Muslim terrorist"), when in fact the Palestinian liberation movement, derived as it was from Arab nationalism, was largely a secular movement and didn't begin to take on an Islamic flavor until the 1980s.

Typical of many conservatives, Podhoretz also treats Palestinian resistance and terror against Israel as if they occurred in a vacuum, refusing to acknowledge that Israel has maintained a brutal military occupation of Palestinian land and a policy of expropriation and ever-expanding settlements since 1967, or that these may contribute in any way to the problem of Islamist terror.

Podhoretz's contention that President Jimmy Carter had internalized and accomodated the idea of the inevitable decline of the United States is simply ridiculous, given that it was Carter who began the anti-Soviet military buildup that so many conservatives, Podhoretz included, now credit with winning the Cold War.

Finally, Podhoretz's complaint about the use of the term "neoconservative," that it is merely a code-word for "Jew," is tortured, tiresome, and rank, particularly coming from Podhoretz, who has in the past referred to himself and his companions as neoconservative.

I've only scanned the article, will make some more comments when I finish it entire.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ok I'll bite. Can you elaborate on Carter's initiating the military build up etc. ? - Griff