Huffpost Politics

Neocon Podhoretz: Giuliani The "Best Bet" For Doing "What Is Necessary" On Iran

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Earlier this month, Giuliani named Podhoretz a senior adviser on his foreign-policy team. ("Yep. It's official," the Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan wrote. "The bombing begins in five minutes.") The addition of Podhoretz to the team was a dramatic political gesture by Giuliani, coming at a moment when the neoconservative agenda has been broadly discredited, and blamed for a misbegotten war. Podhoretz is so untempered a neocon that he makes Paul Wolfowitz, Bush's former Deputy Defense Secretary, and a key architect of the Iraq invasion, seem almost a moderate realist. Podhoretz knows that he carries a certain political radioactivity. While he believes that Giuliani would follow his advice to bomb Iran before it gets nuclear weapons--Giuliani, like other candidates, has said that Iran must be kept out of the nuclear club--Podhoretz hasn't asked him directly, because he doesn't want to damage Giuliani's candidacy with the inevitable controversy that an affirmative answer might arouse. Podhoretz, who is spending the summer in East Hampton, and communicates with the campaign by e-mail, has made his view clear to the candidate. When, recently, John McCain said that the only thing worse than bombing Iran is allowing Iran to get the bomb, Podhoretz told Giuliani, "I wish you had been the first to say that."

In any case, Podhoretz said to me, he believes that George W. Bush will settle the matter himself, by bombing Iran before he leaves office. "I'm probably the only person on the face of the earth who thinks that Bush will order air strikes," Podhoretz says. "But we'll find out. If Bush doesn't kick the can down the road, then the issue becomes moot, obviously. But if he fails to do what I think he will do, Rudy seems to me to be the best bet for doing what is necessary."

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