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Bolton–“Bomb Iran”

January 13, 2019

At the end of my first year of college, I was fortunate to become a political conservative. I had worked part time for the Allegheny County (Pittsburgh PA) Republican Party during the 1960 academic year and in summer 1961, a local Congressman (then the ranking member of the House Post Office Committee), arranged for my employment at the General Services Administration in Washington, DC.

I took that opportunity to attend evening meetings at Human Events as an “Intern.” Stan Evans taught American government to a small group that included myself, a campaign aide to Sen. John Tower and two future editors of Reader’s Digest, William Shulz and Kenneth Tomlinson. When Human Events conducted its first Conservative Political Action Conference at the Mayflower Hotel, I worked for Henry Regnery in the Regnery Publishing booth. That led to my attending the 1961 ISI summer school at C.W. Post College with Russell Kirk where I met Frank Chodorov, Lemuel Boulware, E. Victor Milione and other conservative leaders. Also, I became aware of similarly inclined young conservatives at other Universities including Bob Tyrrell at the University of Indiana where he had founded The Alternative, the early version of what became The American Spectator.

When I began my academic career, I quite naturally sought out The Alternative to publish a review of Thomas Molnar’s God and the Knowledge of Reality. That appeared in the June issue of 1975. Over the years, I subscribed to the American Spectator and became friends with one of the magazine’s Board, Peter Hannaford. But, I didn’t submit another essay for publication for forty years. I just wasn’t writing “journalistic” essays. In March and April of 2015, however, I submitted two essays. Both were published. One essay asked if we should attack Iran.

During those forty years, Bob Tyrrell’s magazine has had its highs and lows. the biggest “high” occurred when President Ronald Reagan accepted Bob’s invitation to have dinner at his house. Print publishing is in decline, however, and The American Spectator has ceased publishing a print edition and the political orientation of the Spectator has taken on a distinct Neoconservative cast.

On Iran, Neoconservatives believe in defending the state of Israel from its enemies, by force of arms if necessary. That is evident in today’s report in the Wall Street Journal that National Security Advisor, John Bolton, has asked the Department of Defense to develop military actions that may be taken against Iran.

I believe that our commitment to the state of Israel is permanent and in the national interest of the United States. And I agree with President Trump that the Obama Administration’s “deal” with Iran was foolish. But, I’m a realist and I question whether we can successfully attack Iran and I spelled out those reasons for American Spectator readers. Also, I have followed the career of John Bolton and consider him to be too quick to recommend military action and felt that he should not be appointed National Security Advisor in the Trump Administration.

To get to my point, my 2015 essay caused some controversy in the editorial suite of The American Spectator where Neoconservatism has replaced the political conservatism of the Spectator’s earlier years. And I’ve watched with some consternation as Neoconservatives became influential at a number of important conservative organizations including Bill Baroody’s American Enterprise Institute, Ed Feulner’s Heritage Foundation and the Philadelphia Society.

Now that they have real power, we’ll have an opportunity to find out what these worthies will do with power.



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