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Re: A Question for Norman Podhoretz


The author of World War IV replies to my question of yesterday, incidentally reminding us, on this day when a committee in Sweden has suggested otherwise, that serious people will concern themselves first of all with the real war, and the very hard work of winning it.

It isn’t that we don’t have a strategy. As I try to explain in my book, the Bush Doctrine is to World War IV what the Truman Doctrine was to World War III. Nor–as I also try to explain (pp. 206-7)–did the Truman Doctrine achieve a truly national consensus until Eisenhower tacitly accepted it when he became president in 1953. Up to that point, it had been attacked both from the Left (as too aggressive), from the Right (as not aggressive enough), and from the Center (as having sounded, in Walter Lippmann’s words, “the tocsin of an ideological crusade”). The difference is that the State Department under Dean Acheson supported the Truman Doctrine, whereas the State Department under Colin Powell, and even under Condi Rice (having reverted to her roots as a “realist” since moving from the White House to Foggy Bottom) has done everything in its power to subvert the Bush Doctrine; and so has the CIA. We aren’t, then, “fumbling for a strategy.” We are, rather, involved in a war of ideas that is being fought both within the government and throughout the nation as a whole between those of us who believe in the Bush Doctrine and those who desperately wish to return to the pre-9/11 attitudes and policies that the Bush Doctrine repudiated. Unless and until the Democrats do unto the Bush Doctrine what the Republicans under Eisenhower did unto the Truman Doctrine, the war of ideas at home will rage furiously on.    


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