Norman Podhoretz asks the question, is the Bush Doctrine dead?
(via art&letters daily
), in the September issue of Commentary
. The article is pointed at conservatives and neoconservatives who have given up faith in the Bush Doctrine.
What is the Bush Doctrine?
1) The US should defeat all the evildoers in the world.
2) The US should spread freedom and democracy to all the nations of the world.
3) If there is a 1% chance that someone opposes the Bush Doctrine, they must be neutralized or killed. (this, in my harshest terms, is what Ron Suskind calls the 1% Doctrine.)
Podhoretz goes to great lengths to prove that the Bush Doctrine is not dead, because the Bush Administration still believes in it and is pursuing the Doctrine with great vigor. I'll grant Podhoretz that claim.
Podhoretz also claims that the Bush Doctrine has been a resounding success and will be recognized as such by one and all at the end of President Bush's term in office. That is unless you are hopelessly ignorant of world affairs--like me.
Let us now ask the question, how is the so called war on terror going? The answer is, with the exception of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, and a handful of others, nobody really knows. I don't know and neither does Podhoretz. Occasionally, we hear news of people getting arrested or killed. When the news becomes more substantial, the real threat of those arrested appears rather murky.
I would say that Podhoretz definitely ranks as one of the most eloquent of the radical right. (I've now come to view the radical right as something more virulent than mainstream conservatism.) That does not excuse his extreme state of denial.
Podhoretz and others like him on the radical right want President Bush to destroy Iran's nuclear capability. Here is my guess as to why the Bush Administration has not done it already. They do not know what Iran has and they do not know where it is at. Who believes the bullshit coming from the mouths of Iranian leadership is actionable intelligence?
The radical right will not face the fact that they are as much in the dark about Iran's capability as everyone else. Nothing of any substance has come from the Bush Administration to indicate they know for sure what Iran has. I doubt if they get too specific about WMD this time around. They most likely have learned from the Iraq episode.
That brings us to an important issue. The Bush Administration knew the evidence about WMD in Iraq was thin at best. Under the 1% Doctrine, thin is good enough evidence to start a major war. The Bush Administration has no plausible deniability about the so called intelligence failure on Iraq WMD. Bush Administration policies are set by a few at the top with the President leading the operational details. They knew what kind of intelligence they had.
Podhoretz has well chastened the apostates formerly in the ranks of the radical right. Shame on them for giving up the faith. However, the rest of his argument rests on false propositions such as things are getting better in Iraq and the Middle East. The terrorists are on their last gasp. Of course, a terrorist is anyone who does not believe in the Bush Doctrine.
The net gets cast pretty wide. For instance, socialists from Middle Eastern countries who struggle to bring freedom and democracy to their home countries are denounced as terrorists by western governments and enemies of the state by their home countries. The Bush Doctrine knows no nuance in these matters. You are either an evildoer or fellow traveler, or you are one of the good guys within the radical right.
The major requirement for joining the radical right is to shut up and believe everything President Bush says.
I congratulate Mr. Podhoretz on his excellent membership qualifications.