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April 07, 2008



Shortly after Oslo, I heard Yechiel Leiter speak. He made an excellent point and that in the United States a treaty requires a 2/3 majority to pass. The rationale being that treaties are potentially divisive enterprises so they require a lot more overt support than the average government action.

In the aftermath of the Rabin assassination I heard Janet Aviad say on the famous Nightline, "bullets go from right to left." Of course she would never acknowledge the terrible toll that the government following her policies took on Israel. But she also could never acknowledge that the resentment to the peace process emerged from the fact that the government decided to take the action and not give two hoots to anyone who disagreed. Either you were with the government or beyond the pale. It's a heck of a way to get consent of the governed.

As you point out, the government was no more sensitive to building concensus at disengagement. (The Hatuel murders the day of the Likud vote would have caused governments in most other countries to, at least, pause.)

And now to switch back to Podhoretz. If there's a major flaw in his article, it's his admission that if he knew what the Olmert government would do (or not do) he never would have supported disengagement. But then he expresses his confidence that regardless of who succeeds Pres. Bush, he feels that Bush's commitment will be kept.

I've heard that Ariel Sharon said, "The graveyards are full of indispensable men," though it appears that the statement originated with DeGaulle. I think that Podhoretz is making the same mistake with Pres. Bush's assurances as he did with disengagement in trusting "indispensible" politicians.

J. Lichty

soccerdad - great points, and the further irony of Podhoretz' exhoration of Bush by stating that he never could have guessed that Olmert would let his country be attacked, is that the Bush administation, through its vassal, Condi Rice, has made clear, that under no circumstances is Israel to defend itself.

So to say that Bush kept his word because Olmert is ineffectual without mentioning Bush's role in making sure Olmert does nothing is a strange exculpation to say the least.


Podhoretz defends Bush on Israel

Despite the Bush teams's now explicit renunciation of their supposed former policy of demanding actual abandonment of terrorism by the Palestinians before the U.S. would help them achieve a state, despite Bush's pushing the Israelis into an ever more untenable position, Norman Podhoretz is still standing with his man Bush and Bush's twin brain and insisting that Bush has not reneged.
I haven't read the article, but I searched it for the word "Rice." Podhoretz makes no reference to Secretary of State Rice's stunning statement to reporters last fall that the administration had dropped its demand that the Palestinians give up terrorism, because as long as that demand was in place, the peace process could not move forward.

Podhoretz's failure to mention the single most important fact showing that the administration has indeed reneged on its prior commitments reminds me of a previous Podhoretz article. In 1996, in a piece called "Neoconservatism: a Eulogy," he wrote that there was no longer any difference between neoconservatism and conservatism on any issue, and that the two had therefore merged into one, undifferentiated, conservative movement. In that article, he did not so much as mention immigration, the largest issue separating neocons from other conservatives.

Once upon a time, Norman Podhoretz was famous for his intellectual honesty.

Lawrence Auster

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