‘Bomb Iran,’ Podhoretz urges
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‘Bomb Iran,’ Podhoretz urges

Advocates action despite 'catastrophic consequences'

Norman Podhoretz is still banging the drums of war.

Seven years ago, he first warned of the threat of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

Visiting Closter on Sunday for a parlor meeting supporting the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), he repeated the message.

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Norman Podhoretz (left), with MEMRI founder Yigal Carmon, at a parlor meeting in Closter last Sunday.

“I took the position early on that nothing would stop them but military action, not sanctions, not diplomacy, not carrots, not sticks,” he said.

“They’ve just marched closer and closer to a nuclear weapon. If I had to bet my life, I would bet they would get the bomb,” he said.

If that were to happen, Podhoretz predicted that would lead to a nuclear exchange “that would not be confined to the two countries” of Iran and Israel, in which as many as 100 million people could die.

“Someone has to take out the Iranian nuclear installations,” he said. “Israel does not have the capabilities, I gather, to take out all the installations. Only the United States has that capability.”

Advocating such a course of action in 2007 in Commentary, the magazine he edited for 35 years, he said that in the worst case, were the United States to attack Iran, “Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq and by attacking Israel with missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads, but possibly containing biological and/or chemical weapons. There would also be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own.”

Nonetheless, he concluded, “between bombing Iran to prevent it from getting the bomb and letting Iran get the bomb, there is simply no contest.”

In Closter on Sunday, however, he allowed that Yigal Carmon, founder of MEMRI, disagrees about the necessity of a military attack on Iran.

Reached by e-mail, Carmon wrote that while Podhoretz is correct that an Iranian nuclear capability cannot be tolerated, as were the Soviet and Chinese nuclear arsenals, “there are several venues to delay the Iranian nuclear project significantly short of bombing.” He declined to elaborate.

Podhoretz made his reputation first as a magazine editor after taking over Commentary in 1960, and then as a polemicist on behalf of what became known as neoconservatism. His career as a forecaster has been less successful. In 1980, he warned of “the political and economic subordination of the United States to superior Soviet power”; a few years later, he warned that Reagan was mistaken in not taking a strong enough line against Mikhail Gorbachev.

Referring to the current president, Podhoretz said, “I’m a strong opponent of [Barack] Obama, but I would be happy to see him reelected if he” bombed Iran.

“I might even vote for him myself.”

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