Commentary Volume 123 • Number 6 (June 2007)



This month’s Commentary contains some interesting and provocative material:

The Case for Bombing Iran

Norman Podhoretz
If the ayatollahs acquire nuclear weapons, it will be too late—and too costly—to act.

How China and Russia Threaten the World

Gordon G. Chang
While professing to oppose nuclear proliferation, the two powers are its prime perpetrators.

If Israel Ceased to Exist

Hillel Halkin
The Jewish state, the Jewish Diaspora, and the Jewish future—a meditation.

My Saudi Sojourn

Joshua Muravchik
Islam’s most traditional society can embrace an American neoconservative; but can it embrace modernity?

The article that has received the most attention is Norman Podhoretz’ “The Case for Bombing Iran.” Predictably, the far left end of the political spectrum is in a fit. Podhoretz also received some flack from the paleo-conservatives.

Here is Podhoretz presenting his case:


I agree that Iran is a threat and we should be ready and willing to use force. But force is the last option and not the best option at the moment. Ahmadinejad and his reactionary allies are losing ground especially among the youth. That’s why the government is cracking down so hard. Close to 50% of Iran’s population is under 15 so ensuring that the next generation maintains an ideological commitment to the Islamic revolution is a major concern of the regime. Iran has also experienced protests by workers, students, and journalists in the past few years. Iranian civil society organizations should be strengthened and supported through official and clandestine methods.


Given the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq there is also the issue of troop strength. We are stretched thin in the sense of not having troops where they are really needed. Some pundits maintain this is simply a matter of an irrational allocation of resources and that we’ve been paying for the defense of wealthy (and peaceful) countries for far too long.


Back in 2003 the DoD announced its intention to reduce troop levels in Europe and transfer those forces to contemporary theaters of operation. The next year President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld stated 70,000 soldiers would be transfered, two-thirds of them from Germany. So why do we still have 70,000 (over 100,000 including staff) there today?

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