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September 28, 2007

Recommended Reading: ’World War IV’

I picked up Norman Podhoretz's new book, World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism, a couple of days ago. Once I started it, it was hard to put it down for such mundane reasons as going to work or sleeping. In one word, it's brilliant.

If you are like me, you get so confused by all the screaming about the war in Iraq -- especially by critics who actually seem to want America to fail -- that you've lost sight of how and why we got there. Podhoretz brings his considerable knowledge of history and politics to the discussion, and reveals his conviction that 9/11 marked the beginning of World War IV (the Cold War was WW III). In the book, he details why this is going to be a decades-long struggle -- a struggle which America (and the world) cannot afford to lose.   

If for no other reason, the book is worth reading for its clear, succinct summary of various "doctrines" that have guided American foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson's days -- and the reasoning behind each, based on the historical realities of the era. Podhoretz also gives the clearest summary of the Bush Doctrine that I've seen anywhere. Certainly, people are free to think the Bush Doctrine is wrong; but after reading this book, they will at least understand why and how 9/11 changed President Bush's view of the world and forced him to recognize America's duty to directly confront the threat of Islamofascism rather than passively waiting for more attacks.

Along the way, he writes about the failure of our country (under Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2) to understand the early terrorist attacks, the intelligence reports regarding WMDs, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Joe Wilson/Valarie Plame, the blame-America-firsters, the anti-war protesters, the roots of European anti-Americanism, Michael Moore and George Soros, the mistakes we've made in Iraq (but which have been blown out of proportion by a hostile media), and the Arab response to the Bush Doctrine (both positive and negative).

Since we're heading into an election year, where debates about the war in Iraq and the war on terror will likely loom large, I encourage everyone to read this book. It will give you a thoughtful, grounded understanding of the issues -- something we are not going to get if we only listen to the mainstream news media.

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Comments

labrialumn

If that author believes that that war began on 9/11/01, he doesn't understand the war at all.

World War 0, also known as the Fourteen Hundred Year's War began in the late 7th century A.D.

And it isn't "Islamofascism" an oxymoron, for fascism denies the transcendant objective, signified, but just plain faithful Islam.

Andy

I was blown away by the "out of proportion" line. The de-Bathification of Iraq will go down in the annals of military history as one of the most massive blunders ever made by an occupying nation. The ethnic cleansing of Sunnis and the displacment of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (many of them Christian) is an unmitigated disaster. The utter failure of the Provisional Authority to provide the most basic infrastructure, like sewers and electrial service, has that been over-reported? In my opinion, the corporate media has bent over backwards to UNDER-REPORT the travesties of the Iraq occupation.

Honestly, you folks at the Point really undermine your respectability when you laud a neo-Con like Podhoretz. He is doing his best to get Bush to bomb Iran. For the neo-Cons, war is the only answer. But the neo-Cons have been wrong about everything. There fetishizing of Israel has blinded them to reality. Every time we take their advice, we just make the world more flammable.

"For the neo-Cons, war is the only answer. But the neo-Cons have been wrong about everything. There fetishizing of Israel has blinded them to reality. Every time we take their advice, we just make the world more flammable."


If the "neo-cons" thought war was the only answer we would be at war with every country on Earth. It is not mathematically possible to be wrong about everything. Many Israelis don't think they are being fetishized. And whether the world is more or less flammable is indeterminable as one cannot compare certainly with what would have happend. Strategypage.com has said that statisically the world has grown less flammable.

Diane Singer

Andy,

Those of us who are contributors to the Point are not an homogenous group: we're all individuals, and none of us speak for the rest. If you follow the Point, you probably see that we frequently disagree with one another, in fact. So, when I recommend a book, it's merely my recommendation. No one else at the Point is to blame.

I'm definitely more conservative in my politics than some of the others at the Point, but I would hardly call myself a "neo-con." And whether Podhoretz fits your definition of that phrase or not, that doesn't mean you should automatically dismiss everything he says. My endorsement of his book doesn't mean I agree with everything he says, just that -- overall -- I found his perspective worth listening to. (When you think about it, have you ever known anyone with whom you agreed 100%? I can't.)

As for your blanket condemnation of the book World War IV (I presume, without even reading it), all I can say is that I didn't detect a whiff of the objectionable material you rail against. You need to READ the context of his statement about which mistakes have been blown out of proportion (not all of them, to be sure, but some of the ones that have been given the most play in our emotionally hysterical media), nor does he scream that we should be bombing Iran out of existence. You assume a lot that simply isn't there.

However, since the world IS going to have to deal with A-had (he is making certain of it by his pronouncements and policies), I'm curious why you think military action should be taken off the table. It's not a "first option"; but it is certainly "an option" that may become necessary -- in the same way the world had to take military action against Hitler.

jason taylor


You can never "take the military option off the table" for that logically means you can never negotiate except with completly amiable people. That is like playing poker and announcing beforehand that you will fold every time.

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