Roger L. Simon

Not Just John's Father

Commentary’s Davi Bernstein emailed to alert me (and therefore you) to Norman Podhoretz’s new essay “The War Against World War IV,” which will appear in that magazine’s February print edition, but has just been posted online. Norman, as many will recall, already wrote what I think is the defining essay on the War on Terror, which he considers World War IV: “World War IV: Why It Started, What It Means and Why We Have To Win“.

I have work to do and was going to save Norman’s new essay for later, but I read the first few paragraphs and just kept going. Podhoretz’s prose has a way of doing that to me and to many others. He has always written — and obviously still does in his seventies — with a clarity and directness that I envy and admire. This essay is a superb tour d’horizon of the War on Terror, World War IV, call it what you will, as it stands at this moment. I’m sure future historians will be turning to it. There’s page after page of fascinating detail and summary, but the crux of the matter is here:

Furthermore, facing a conflict that may well go on for three or four decades, Americans of this generation are called upon to be more patient than “the greatest generation” needed to be in World War II, which for us lasted only four years; and facing an enemy even more elusive than the Communists, the American people of today are required to summon at least as much perseverance as the American people of those days did-for all their bitching and moaning-over the 47 long years of World War III. Indeed, in this area the generation of World War IV has an even more difficult row to hoe than its predecessors in World War II and World War III.

I think I’ll need another cup of coffee after that.

UPDATE: More “long haul” thinking along the same lines from The Belmont Club. Note that Wretchard now has an accompanying “Belmont Lounge” — worth a shufty. [Maybe you should have one of those too.–ed. Right. I could call it the Fedora Club–for what’s under the hat.]