Podhoretz makes a number of outrageous charges in his piece, “World War IV.” In the interest of keeping this blog post short, I’ll only deal with his most offensive statement; I may post again as I compose my general sense of outrage into coherent thoughts.
Podhoretz’s charges against Brent Scowcroft and other conservative opponents of the war in Iraq are absolutely preposterous. He scoffs at Scowcroft for being more concerned by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than the Iraq situation. He charges that “paleoconservatives” like Scowcroft secretly want to pressure Israel to make more concessions, somehow associating a desire to resolve the conflict with anti-Semitic theories of Jewish cabals.
Speaking as a traditional conservative realist (a “paleoconservative” if you prefer), I can honestly say that these charges are nothing short of ludicrous. Anyone not blinded by anti-Semitism can see that Israel offered Arafat far more than it would have received in return; the blood spilled in the latest intifada is on Arafat‘s hands. Most conservatives recognize this; that doesn‘t mean that a desire to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, in and of itself, anti-Semitism. In fact, dealing with the conflict would LESSEN Israel’s problems; I can’t see how a desire to solve Israel’s foremost problem is anti-Semitism. Yet, on this ridiculous argument, Podhoretz builds a detailed (and jaw-droopingly absurd) argument that Republican opposition to the war in Iraq is based solely on anti-Semitism. I’m not only appalled by the idiocy of this argument, I’m insulted by its implications. In condemning the imaginary anti-Semitic conspirators of the Republican party (I don‘t consider Patrick Buchanan to be related to the Republican party), Podhoretz comes across as quite the conspiracy theorist himself.