The opening of a new Norman Podhoretz piece titled The Case for Bombing Iran:
Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what September 11, 2001 did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war. I call this new war World War IV, because I also believe that what is generally known as the cold war was actually World War III, and that this one bears a closer resemblance to that great conflict than it does to World War II. Like the cold war, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism, yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of Communism; it is global in scope; it is being fought with a variety of weapons, not all of them military; and it is likely to go on for decades.
What follows from this way of looking at the last five years is that the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right. Instead we have to see them as fronts or theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a protracted global struggle. [emphasis Murdoc’s]
I’ve long called this struggle World War 4, and I often refer to the “campaign” in Iraq. This might seem like splitting hairs so some, but many times in conversation I’ve found myself unable to communicate effectively with someone who fails (or refuses) to see that we’re in locked in a World War.
Podhoretz points out some parallels with earlier times that bear thinking about:
By 1938, Germany under Adolf Hitler had for some years been rearming in defiance of its obligations under the Versailles treaty and other international agreements. Yet even though Hitler in Mein Kampf had explicitly spelled out the goals he was now preparing to pursue, scarcely anyone took him seriously. To the imminent victims of the war he was soon to start, Hitler’s book and his inflammatory speeches were nothing more than braggadocio or, to use the more colorful word Hannah Arendt once applied to Adolf Eichmann, rodomontade: the kind of red meat any politician might throw to his constituents at home.
Many things seem totally obvious after the fact that appeared uncertain or even unlikely before. We curse those who appeased Germany in the 1930s. Podhoretz wonders if we’ll be cursed by those in the future if we spend too much time appeasing Iran.
Since hope springs eternal, some now believe that the answer lies in more punishing sanctions. This time, however, their purpose would be not to force Iran into compliance, but to provoke an internal uprising against Ahmadinejad and the regime as a whole. Those who advocate this course tell us that the –mullocracy” is very unpopular, especially with young people, who make up a majority of Iran’s population. They tell us that these young people would like nothing better than to get rid of the oppressive and repressive and corrupt regime under which they now live and to replace it with a democratic system. And they tell us, finally, that if Iran were so transformed, we would have nothing to fear from it even if it were to acquire nuclear weapons.
Once upon a time, under the influence of Bernard Lewis and others I respect, I too subscribed to this school of thought. But after three years and more of waiting for the insurrection they assured us back then was on the verge of erupting, I have lost confidence in their prediction.
I, too, have pretty much lost hope that Iran will rise up. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I think it would have happened in 2003 or 2004 if it was going to happen. Every month that passes lessens the likelihood significantly, I think.
Podhoretz thinks the only way to stop Iran is to go to war with them. I fear he might be right, and I fear that we might wait until it’s too late.
It’s a bit long, but it’s probably worth it to read the whole thing.
UPDATE: GeekLethal notes that there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding the phrase “bomb Iran”, and he’s right. In the comments section, we discuss “war with Iran”, and that, too, seems to be often mischaracterized as Operation Iraqi Freedom all over again. It’s not. At least I sure hope it’s not. Go read.