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Tilting at Windmills

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November 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE NEOCON REHABILITATION PROJECT....David Rose's Vanity Fair interview with the neocon elite is getting plenty of well-deserved attention this weekend. For one thing, it's fun to play the "which quote is the most damning?" game. Is it Michael Ledeen (the most powerful people in the White House are "women who are in love with the president")? Kenneth Adelman ("They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era")? David Frum (George Bush "just did not absorb the ideas")?

But that can wait. A few months ago I noted in passing that it was only a matter of time before the neocon hawks began claiming, like old-time Trotskyists, that there was nothing wrong with their ideas, only with the fools who had bungled their execution. Richard Perle states this the most directly:

Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this: They were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad. I'm getting damn tired of being described as an architect of the war. I was in favor of bringing down Saddam. Nobody said, 'Go design the campaign to do that.' I had no responsibility for that.

It's worth saying very plainly what's going on here: the neocons are using these interviews to make the case that neoconservatism is in no way to blame for the disaster in Iraq. If they had been in charge things would have been different.

This baby needs to be strangled in its crib. The 1997 "Statement of Principles" of the Project for a New American Century, the neocon Bible, was signed by, among others, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, Scooter Libby, and Elliot Abrams. All of these men were deeply involved in the formulation, planning, and execution of the Iraq war. The neocon creed was part and parcel of every move they made.

What's more, despite their conveniently-timed hand wringing about incompetent execution, there's little evidence that the apologists would have done anything very different in fact, little evidence that they cared very much about anything beyond "bringing down Saddam." Rather, neocons have always been focused on conventional military power, and plenty of it, primarily aimed at potential enemies like China. (Despite the revisionist history spit out now and again by their supporters, terrorism simply wasn't a major neocon focus prior to 9/11.) But conventional military power wasn't the problem in Iraq. The problem was in the occupation, an area that neocons have never cared a fig about. Peacekeeping forces? Nation building? Multilateral legitimacy? Language and cultural training? Counterinsurgency? Economic engagement?

It's easy to cherry-pick the neocon archives to find bits and pieces where they talked up some of this stuff. But their overall focus has always been on the use of overwhelming force and intimidation, with a sideline in democracy promotion rooted more in fantasy than in a hard look at what it takes to actually make democracy take root in a region with none of the economic or institutional infrastructure to support it. Anybody with ground-level experience in nation building could have explained the problems, but they didn't want to listen. A sufficient show of force was supposed to be enough to make democracy flower.

The neocons have always been idealists, and their ideals saw full flower in the Iraq war. A show of force in one country, plenty of threats against its neighbors, a disdain for multilateral action, and an occupation designed to be a showpiece of conservative ideology rather than a serious attempt at reconstructing a society. That's what the neocons wanted, and that's what they got. The rest is details.

The failure of Iraq is inherent in the naive idealism and fixated ideology of neoconservatism, and shame on us if we let them get away with suggesting otherwise. This is one rehabilitation project that needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.

Kevin Drum 1:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (125)

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Comments

Frist?

Posted by: Joe Bob Briggs on November 4, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Here here. Neoconservatism is dead for the next generation, as was stated.

Posted by: Boorring on November 4, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

"This baby needs to be strangled in its crib. "

Liberals love killing babies.

Posted by: egbert on November 4, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals love killing babies.

Too funny egbert. That's why liberals support abortions!

Posted by: Al on November 4, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

This baby needs to be strangled in its crib.

Too true, so why don't you propose writing an article in the same magazine where their apologia appears? I suspect WM's reach is not as great as that of VF and won't be till you guys start putting George Clooney on your covers (preferably with a blonde in a backless gown).

Posted by: Linkmeister on November 4, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Remind me again who was most famously for the war before he was against it? And this was then a bad thing -- an obstacle to being trusted with high office, a character flaw so damning as to make a candidate unfit to receive one's vote?

It was only two years ago, surely someone remembers.

IOKIYAAR.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 4, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Which one is Trotsky? Where is his Mexico? Who is his Mercador?

Posted by: gregor on November 4, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Well and truly said. The neo-cons are right on one count--the Bush administration is profoundly incompetent and dysfunctional from top to bottom, but I am convinced that it is only because the Bush administration is profoundly incompetent that the neo-con ideas were given any attention. I don't think a truly competent administration would have bought into the neo-con ideas in the first place. People who were truly competent would have been able to see that the neo-con daydreams don't stand the test of reality.

As Bush 41 knew turning Iraq into some sort of Western democracy had no chance from the beginning. Resourse driven empires are a thing of the past. It is simply impossible to install democracy in a Muslim nation with no history of free or independent thought. Islam has yet to have its reformation and there is still a deep belief that designated "holy men" have some special power to guide the lives of average muslims. Until average muslims decide to shove the "holy men" aside there will be no democracy in the middle east.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 4, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Brilliant. Democrats and the media sabotage bringing liberty to Iraq, then blame neocons. Wow. That's just.. wow.

Posted by: American Hawk on November 4, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Hawk, tell the neocons they're screwing things up by blaming the Bushies. It's the Dems and the media... Hell, it's ALWAYS the Dems and the media, right?

Posted by: oyster on November 4, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I think that the original supporters of this war need to look at their own moral competence as acutely as they are examining Bush's management competence. Adelman says "The policy can be absolutely right, and noble, beneficial, but if you can't execute it, it's useless, just useless." That statement may be legitimate if you're talking about raising funds for the local girl scouts troop. If, however, you're talking about seeking to reconfigure the lives of others without their express - not conjectured - consent you've instantly gone beyond useless to intrusive: you have entered a realm that perhaps can be navigated with the most cautious moral humility in recognition of the uncertainty of costs and benefits. But if you have taken it upon yourself to change the lives of others by way of unilateral warfare then you have entered a realm of such profound assured costs for such uncertain benefits that it is unlikely to be morally navigable at all, and an adequate degree of humility would call out for seeking other ways. This seemed clear to many before the war, and by now it should seem clear to everyone else.

Posted by: Brian Reddy on November 4, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. Does American Hawk actually believe the crap he spews here, or is he a parody troll like all the fake als? And is he cheney/charlie/joe schmoe under yet another handle?

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on November 4, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I think the neocons deserve another chance. Let's see how they do at democratizing Iran. And if they screw that up, let 'em take a shot at China. It's only fair since they are so sincere and only have America's best interests at heart.

Posted by: grytpype on November 4, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"The neocons have always been idealists, and their ideals saw full flower in the Iraq war."

Shorter Kevin:

The turd blossomed.

Posted by: neoconman on November 4, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Fair enough, as far as the neo-cons go. But liberal hawks were virulently denounced as "neo-cons" when they advocated bringing down Saddam plus all the infrastructure defense, nation-building, economic engagement and development, Marshall-plan-style commitment, etc. (this is what was done in Germany and Japan, and it was bloody obviously the minimum requirement for any hope of success, though the neo-cons and their Cheney-ite implementers inexplicably ignored this fact.) The ultra-idealist pacifist anti-interventionists insist, because they must (not because of any actual analysis of evidence), that any such intervention was always doomed from the start. They said the same about Kosova and were utterly (and shamefully) wrong in that case, abetting the loss of many innocent lives.

It's too bad it's next to impossible to have an honest discussion, on the left, of when intervention is appropriate. This intervention may have been an unwise gamble even if all the obvious things had been done. And maybe not. Those who insist this outcome was knowable beforehand are pure ideologues (leaving aside that we could and should have known, perhaps even did know as soon as we heard Powell's vapor-speech at the UN, that there were no WMD).

Meanwhile, the world continues to do nothing about Darfur, and the left continues to hone its hypocrisy by ignoring, say, millions murdered by depravation in the Congo, in favor of sexier hotspots.

But hey, let's go back to Kissingerism with gusto. That will lead to much more progressive outcomes, right? Life out of balance.

Posted by: q on November 4, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm confused. Does American Hawk actually believe the crap he spews here, or is he a parody troll like all the fake als? And is he cheney/charlie/joe schmoe under yet another handle?

Yes to all.

Posted by: Aremenian hawk on November 4, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

RB: I don't think a truly competent administration would have bought into the neo-con ideas in the first place.

Spot on. In the Clinton years (remember those?) the neocons were called "the crazies" and they didn't get to start any wars.

But then we got a half-retarded narcissist for a president, and look at what happened.

Posted by: grytpype on November 4, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Like a fucking power vacuum wouldn't have developed if they had deposed Saddam instead of Bush, Cheney et al?

What utter hubis-laden clap-trap.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 4, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Every now and then America needs to pick up some shitty little country and throw it against the wall just to show that it can"....Michael Ladeen........Good times. Good times.

Posted by: R.L. on November 4, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

I guess he didn't get paid enough...


http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003350110

Posted by: mrJJ on November 4, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

First Iran/Syria, then The Big One..France!....."Our children will sing songs about us"....Richard Perle

Posted by: R.L. on November 4, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

"We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands".....All the neocons

Posted by: R.L. on November 4, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

The neoconservatives are desperate to preserve their Wormtongue power and their lucrative careers in the face of the dissolute failure of their vision in Iraq. So they have been carefully setting up, over the last few months, three lines of defense to sidestep the blame that is rightfully theirs.

The first is to blame the Iraqis. The second is to blame those appeasing Democrats and their allies in the "liberal media". The third is to blame the Bush administration for being too incompetent to properly enact the Project for the New American Century.

On Thursday, Peters ralphed up the most hacktacular version of the first yet seen. American Hawk above shows the second has legs on the uber-right and now we have this bunch with the third.

Amazingly, many conservatives are willing to swallow this. Andrew Sullivan for instance, who is happy that his friend "Cakewalk" Adelman has turned on Bush, Cheney and Rummie. I quote: Thanks, Ken. You're a patriot. You've told the truth about men whom you know and care about. Because America comes first. And this country and its honor must be rescued from this incompetent cabal.

Puke-making.

Regards, Cernig @ Newshog

Posted by: Cernig on November 4, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, dont be nave. The invasion and occupation of Iraq had nothing to do with bringing down Saddam, but has been about the oil since Day One. Make that before Day One. The neocons actually had two plans to appropriate Iraqs oil before September 11th, according to investigative reporter Greg Palast. Plan B, involving a wacked out scheme to privatize virtually all Iraqi industry, and sell off bridges, roads, etc. was the Grover Norquistesque wet dream that won out. That plan really went well, didnt it? That was the one where Paul Wolfowitz, that economic genius, predicted that the invasion of Iraq would pay for itself. More evidence that trickle-down economics and unregulated privatization schemes of conservatives are doomed to be abject failures.

Palasts thesis is borne out by the little-noticed national emergency Bush declared regarding Iraqs oil resources with Executive Order 13303. I dont remember a lot of reporting on that Order, do you? I wonder why??

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 4, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I, too, wrote about this insanity over at my place today:

"Daddy, buy me a pony!"
. . .

"Daddy, this pony smells bad, and tried to bite me. And it pooped on the floor! Make it stop, Daddy!"

Posted by: SteveAudio on November 4, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

The problem was in the occupation, an area that neocons have never cared a fig about.


The problem was in actual governance --an area conservatives have never cared a fig about.

But they could hardly be unaware of this. In Baghdad they had hoped to turn their incompetence to advantage and make it a showcase of privatization. At least that's what the neocons thought. Their petrol industry backers, I'm sure, were never so deluded --they simply wanted chaos.

Posted by: cld on November 4, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

For the 1998 PNAC regime change letter to Clinton from Perle and the neocons at the Project for the New American Century, see:

"The Iraq WMD and Intelligence Document Center."

Posted by: AngryOne on November 4, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

America is in love with the use of overwhelming force. We think we have a right to act out our authority with the largest military force in world with entitled rage because of some past good war-like deeds performed a half-century ago.

Men like Richard Perle are evident proponents of the use of our overwhelming force without consideration of the consequences to real people. To men like Perle, Wolfowitz and Kissinger real people are useless eaters, preventing the willful use of the power history ambivalently provided to our nation. I would like to see the operatives who have led to the invasion and occupation of Iraq investigated and pursued with the precedents established by the Nuremberg Trials and imprisoned if found guilty of crimes against humanity. They are all neo- Rudolf Hess's and deserve the same fate.

Posted by: Hostile on November 4, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats and the media sabotage bringing liberty to Iraq, then blame neocons."

Um, just HOW have Democrats sabotaged bringing liberty to Iraq? The Republican't majorities won't even let Democrats bring amendments to the floor. They don't tell them where the committees are meeting. They have not let them participate in anything regarding this war.

So Democrats have HOW sabotaged liberty in Iraq?

By not turning up in enough numbers to vote the Chimp out in '04. That's the only way I can think of.

Posted by: Cal Gal on November 4, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Frum is already pushing back over at HuffPo, where he maintains he meant the problem was not Bush, but Condi. (Whom he doesn't mention by name; he says "National Security Council" instead.)

So is he saying that Bush "just did not absorb the ideas" because Condi failed to drill them into him? Hard to tell. And BTW: who was it that hired Condi, and kept her on, and then promoted her to Secretary of State?

So many questions, so few straight answers.

Final note: though Adelman criticised him by implication, the Vanity Fair teaser contained no direct badmouthing of Cheney. I won't be surprised if the same is true of the full article.

Posted by: penalcolony on November 4, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Our favorite Iraqi exile chimes in about Wolfowitz and himself:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003350110

Posted by: Carl on November 4, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

"The neocons have always been idealists"

The neocons have always been IDEALISTS? Since when?!

What sort of idealism is it to say, like Michael Ledeen once said, " Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business." ?

Far from being idealists, the neocons have always been about power. About the United States getting, keeping, and periodically USING brute force to maintain their so-called 'benevolent global hegemony'.

Throw some small crappy little country against the wall - not because we have to, not because they've done something particularly offensive, but "just to show the world we mean business".

THAT'S what the neocons are all about, what they've always been about.

Posted by: JoyceH on November 4, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Those who insist this outcome was knowable beforehand are pure ideologues

No. Of course you could argue about 'knowable'; I didn't know the war would be a murderous bloody fiasco, but I would have bet everything I owned on it. The odds approached certainty, let's put it that way.

It was always easy to go in, almost impossible to get out cleanly. It was an immoral war, legal only by the thinnest tissue of U.N. cover. It was a post-colonial idiot trap, and Bush I was smart enough to see it, and stay out. Bush II isn't smart enough speak coherently.

So, no. I'm not an ideologue, and I knew.

Posted by: Finny on November 4, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

the neocon hawks began claiming that there was nothing wrong with their ideas, only with the fools who had bungled their execution [...] This baby needs to be strangled in its crib

But isn't this what, effectively, every Democratic politician, every media pundit, every leftie blogger, every liberal hawk (those serious-minded folks) who was stupid enough to support this war has been saying?

By focusing on the execution and prosecution of the war, the incompetence dodge, doesn't that let the ideas themselves (and the pundits' earlier support) off the hook?

We learn the wrong lessons by focusing on the "execution", and we legitimize the idea of preventative war over the most trivial of threats. This place, WM, is one of the most prolific purveyors of the "incompetence dodge"....though I believe Mr. Drum arrived at his beliefs honestly, and not through careerist motives like most other "liberal" bloggers.

Posted by: luci on November 4, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Over at The Corner they are whining about how the VF reporter promised the story would not break until after the election.

As for Rubin's speculation there about how we will lose the trust of our allies if we leave Iraq, maybe we should ask them what they think about it.

Posted by: Some Dude on November 4, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I see the defeatocrats have taken over all four branches of the military...

Posted by: ROFLMLiberalAO on November 4, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Which part of this picture does not belong?

K-Drum: "The 1997 "Statement of Principles" of the Project for a New American Century, the neocon Bible, was signed by, among others, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Zalmay Khalilzad, Scooter Libby, and Elliot Abrams."

Answer: Wolfowitz. He's a neocon. None of the others are.

I mean, Cheney? Zal Khalilzad? Neocons? When did that happen? WTF, mate?

Posted by: peanut on November 4, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Back when the Democrats ran things. Good times, good times.

Posted by: rnc on November 4, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

The failure of Iraq is inherent in the naive idealism and fixated ideology of neoconservatism

Damn it, Kevin! Why are you such a compromiser? Read Frum's comments again. They are not upset about their idealist bubble getting popped. They are upset because the puppets did not follow the puppeteers. They will just start looking for the next set of puppets.

It's not just Bush who does not accept responsibility for mistakes. It's the whole cabal. If there is ever an admission, it is procedural--being betrayed--not substantive--wrong on issues.

Wake up, Kev! Nothing changed.

Posted by: buck turgidson on November 4, 2006 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Oh those blissful Publican years...

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 4, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Back when the Democrats ran things. Good times, good times.
Posted by: rnc

I suppose that to small-minded cowards like most repubs, the following statement would be the equal of a blank check for unilateral pre-emptive war.

the broad 1998 resolution: Congress "urges the president to take all necessary and appropriate actions to respond to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."

... but then, to someone with 2 firing neurons, there is a whole spectrum of "appropriate actions" which we could employ prior to killing 400,000 Iraqis and 3000 Americans.

Posted by: Nads on November 4, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The three cons: Conservative, Neo-Conservative and Confidence,

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2627805

Four days before the election, as Republican candidates battle to save their seats in Congress amid a backlash over the war in Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney told ABC News the administration is going "full speed ahead" with its policy.

"We've got the basic strategy right," Cheney told George Stephanopoulos in an interview to be broadcast Sunday on "This Week."


Whom is kidding whom?

Posted by: cld on November 4, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's the stupidity stupid!

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on November 4, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

"It's too bad it's next to impossible to have an honest discussion, on the left, of when intervention is appropriate. This intervention may have been an unwise gamble even if all the obvious things had been done. And maybe not. Those who insist this outcome was knowable beforehand are pure ideologues (leaving aside that we could and should have known, perhaps even did know as soon as we heard Powell's vapor-speech at the UN, that there were no WMD)."

Basically the opposite of what you say here is the truth. The only place one can have an honest discussion on use of force is on the left. The left has various levels of support for various wars based on the particular conditions of the war. It is on the right where almost everyone is violently for every war started by a republican and violently against every war started by a democrat in the past 30 years.

Of course this outcome was knowable. Most of us who opposed the war were afraid of something exactly like this. A long, bloody, expensive occupation where Iraq becomes considerably worse for who knows how long and a new generation of jihadi's are recruited and trained.

Personally I thought success was possible as in that there was some chance that disaster would not result (especially had several years of groundwork been done, most critially slapping israel around till that occupation was over), but not likely enough to take the risk with the war bush was planning to execute. It is the right who were so idologically certain that failure was impossible. The war would be cheap, fast, and gloriously successful. That those who had not supported it would come crawling on thier knees to beg forgiveness. Wolfowitz laughed in congressional testimony when it was suggested that the occupation might take more troops than the overthrow. Right wingers I know rolled thier eyes at me when I told them it would look a lot more like the palastinian territories than the liberation of france in ww2 and would cost hundereds of billions of dollars.

Now they are down to claiming that no one could have predicted this. Well, tough. People did predict this. You were wrong. You were wrong and hundereds of thousands of people are dying because of it.

Try to learn from your mistake. Maybe next time you can do better.

Posted by: jefff on November 4, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"So Perle and friends blame the failures in Iraq on the Bush administration, and Chalabi apparently blames Wolfowitz and the Americans. Funny, nobody seems interested in blaming themselves, even a little bit." - Laura Rozen

http://www.warandpiece.com/

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on November 4, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Buck

Neo-cons don't admit their failure because they can't. They all have made careers out of being neo-cons. Think of the book deal money lost. The revisionist histories they will never peddle if they admit they were wrong.

Actually, the neo-cons are just as dumb now as they were then. Arrogant in their ignorance to the point of invincibility, they are the penultimate products of formative years wasted in ivy tower think tanks. The world would have been much better off if they had all taken long European vacations after graduating from college, or if they had all simply gotten laid as young men, or better yet, both.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 4, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

One of the telling recommendations in the original PNAC document was for the USA to develop biological weapons based upon genotype. So basically they want us to have weapons which will kill all the blacks or Chinese or Indians, and just the targeted race, and no one else.

These are genocidal maniacs.

Posted by: gregor on November 4, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hold down the fort Ron - I'm off to stump for Claire.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 4, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Um, just HOW have Democrats sabotaged bringing liberty to Iraq? The Republican't majorities won't even let Democrats bring amendments to the floor. They don't tell them where the committees are meeting.

I'm with Cal Gal on this, Chicken Hawk. Give us the names, dates, places, events. And your usual "Liberals always sabotage everything good" won't cut it.

Posted by: tomeck on November 4, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

1. Doncha know that Iraq is all Clinton's fault? He signed the Iraq regime change legislation. Not surprised the quoted neocons were too stupid to pin it on Clinton.

2. The "rehab project" will never be "stopped dead in its tracks." Idealogues are never budged by data or outcomes. The neocons will be just like the die-hard Commies who argue to this day that true Communism has never really been tried. Unlike the Commies, however, the neocons will rise from the dead, because the U.S. will remain powerful and there will never be any shortage of people who think raw power can accomplish anything. All the Vietnam defeat told them was that you have to do it even harder and stronger the next time around.

3. The games have just begun. This is going to be a massive scapegoatocity. More fun than watching mud wrestling.

Posted by: eCAHNomics on November 4, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Idealists, bullshit. Real idealists believe democracy can be spread peacefully!

These guys (the neocons) are thugs pretending to be democrats. They want an Empire, and no lie is too big to get one.

Posted by: David in NY on November 4, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Um, just HOW have Democrats sabotaged bringing liberty to Iraq?

Most of the Democratic Senators, including your brave hero Kerry, supported the Iraq resolution in the Senate. If they had performed due dilligence and forced the adminstration to plan for the post-war period before giving their approval, history would have been different.

I think they purposely failed to perform their duties to think long and hard and very critically when they voted willy nilly for the war. In my book that is the most evil form of sabotage.

Posted by: American Hawk on November 4, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Strangle the prince of darkness in his crib!

NO way dude.

I really want to know what else Perle has to say on the subject? I wonder if Meet the Press is going to have Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman on tomorrow?

AND IT WOULD REALLY be NICE to have some RICE on at the VERY same time. I really want to know what Ms. Deadly Dysfunctional has say for herself.

Posted by: Cheryl on November 4, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

great fake AH

Posted by: Disputo on November 4, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"This baby needs to be strangled in its crib". Damm! Ouch! I bet when you were a little boy they kicked you out of kindergartner because you didn't play around.

Posted by: bob jones on November 4, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

This baby needs to be strangled in its crib

I'd prefer to drown it in the bathtub.

Posted by: Disputo on November 4, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

"The neocons have always been idealists"

Nah, more like utopians. Like the fascists, the communists and the libertarians.

Posted by: Joel on November 4, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Here here. Ideology is always the problem. My formulation is that ideology is unAmerican.

Classical Liberalism is not an ideology but rather the embrace of system of decision making based upon compromise between competing interests. It's an operational outline, not a system of belief. Liberalism of the boogyman variety as defined by the right isn't an ideology either but rather a string of positions on a laundry list of issues. There is a common theme in small 'l' liberalism but it is vague and hard to define. I say it is seeking the most possible freedome for the greatest amount of people. Th

Posted by: rapier on November 4, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers, I agree with you on the foolishness of BushCo and the neocons' attempt to "remake the Middle East" as a resource-driven empire, but not on this:

"Islam has yet to have its reformation and there is still a deep belief that designated "holy men" have some special power to guide the lives of average muslims. Until average muslims decide to shove the "holy men" aside there will be no democracy in the middle east."

Actually, Islam has indeed had something in the way of several different Reformations (or Schisms) starting with the Sunni-Shiite split and extending to variations such as the Sufis and the moderate forms of Islam predominant in e.g. Malaysia. And Turkey, after all, is a decently functioning Muslim democracy, although I fear that it too may fall to a strongman in large part due to the Iraq War mess-- the fracturing of Iraq would almost certainly draw in Turkey and potentially lead to the downfall of the Turkish republic, since the war over Kurdistan and protection of the Turkomen people would be all-out and very, very nasty. In any case, Turkey's democracy was organic and homegrown.

Posted by: Varam on November 4, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I hope the first order of business for the House Dems leadership is to investigate the PNAC and see why Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman are freaking-out so badly.

Posted by: Cheryl on November 4, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

If GOP losses are big Tuesday, get ready for more of this....In fact, whatever the outcome, it is not like the election is going to make Iraq and its chaos go away...We are headed to 3,000 dead soldiers by the end of the year. And we have no good options left...Consider this the beginning of the intra-neo-con crack up battle....it isn't going to be pretty...

Posted by: Hank Essay on November 4, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk,
Nice dodge. I thought Smirk was the Decider? Do you think he would have listened to Congress? From Darth Vader's comments today, that is and was highly unlikely. Take some responsibility for once!!

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on November 4, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

But this war had such promise ...

Posted by: Matt Buehler on November 4, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hank,
Why won't it be pretty? Maybe we'll get to see Bill Kristol flip out on Richard Perle live on TV, or Michael Leeden try to stab Rummy with a butter knife. We can only wish such a thing comes true

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on November 4, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

All neocons should emigrate to zionist Israel. Good riddance to the traitors.

Posted by: Tom on November 4, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

so this would make them flopflippers????

Posted by: Katherine Graham Cracker on November 4, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Brian Reddy: "I think that the original supporters of this war need to look at their own moral competence as acutely as they are examining Bush's management competence"

Agree 100%. I have become more and more impressed by Gandhi's writings since Bushco took control. Perhaps the Neo-cons would benefit from reflecting on Gandhi's list of Seven deadly sins:

--wealth without work
--pleasure without conscience
--knowledge without character
--business without morality
--science without humanity
--worship without sacrifice
--politics without principle.

I don't see "attacking other countries without just cause or a follow-up plan" on Gandhi's list, but perhaps it is subsumed under "politics without principle," "business without morality," "knowledge without character" OR even "pleasure without conscience" (given Bush's history of antisocial behavior.)

Or consider this powerful statement of moral purpose by Jacob Bronowski in 1973. Could the neo-cons ever, ever speak with such moral clarity.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 4, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

A blast from the past....

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003350110

Posted by: mrJJ on November 4, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

It was common knowledge from day 1 in the Bush administration that foreign policy was controlled by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Condi has always been weak. That's why she was chosen as National Security Advisor in the first place. Powell's "disloyalty" was simply his justified criticism for being repeatedly sandbagged by Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Cheney and Rumsfeld -- the Edger Bergens of American foreign policy.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on November 4, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

To call ist idealism, naive or otherwise is to give these people more legitimacy and respect than they deserve. It's idealism only in the sense that fascism is idealism.

Posted by: gregor on November 4, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Went over the corner, thanks for link.

RE: VANITY FAIR [Michael Rubin]

Okay, a couple of notes about the Vanity Fair piece in which Im quoted. Some people interviewed for the piece are annoyed because they granted interviews on the condition that the article not appear before the election. Vanity Fair is spinning a series of long interviews detailing the introspection and debate that occurs among responsible policymakers every day into a pre-election hit job

Jeebus, saying that Rice was Deadly, Dysfunctional was just some daily introspect and debate and was simply the job of those responsible policymakers not to focus on war strategy but instead to blame Rice for pushing Bush into invading Iraq.

How does anyone read the NRO with a straight face?

It shows the "myth" behind complains about the news being too liberal was the real "hit job." The truth about the Bush administration is something partisan pundits can't handle so they just make outlandish shit up.

Posted by: Cheryl on November 4, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

gee why does Richard and the gang hate America

Posted by: Katherine Graham Cracker on November 4, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

One would thinks that Elliot Abrams would have disqualified himself from any further involvement with our foreign policy after he made a mess of US Central American affairs during the Reagan years. Why do these dim bulbs keeping getting second chances?

Posted by: Global Yokel on November 4, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

One would thinks that Elliot Abrams would have disqualified himself from any further involvement with our foreign policy after he made a mess of US Central American affairs during the Reagan years. Why do these dim bulbs keeping getting second chances?

Failure is what constitutes success for these people.

Posted by: Disputo on November 4, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Reporters can't get interviews unless they kiss the subject's ass. So Vanity Fair failed to ask Perle the tough questions.

I remember Perle going on Meet the Press prior to the Iraq invasion and telling us that Hussein was a threat. I remember Tim Russert noting that three Democratic Members of the Congressional Intelligence Committees has said that they had seen no signs that Hussein was an imminent threat. And I remember Perle responding that those three people had not "seen all of the intelligence". Odd --since Intelligence Oversight Committee members have access to everything. Note that Vanity Fair didn't ask Perle where were the WMDs of which Perle Spoke.

The comments here fail to recognize the true price of Richard Perle's deceit: 2700+ mothers who have buried their sons. Thousands more who have sons who will be crippled for life. Plus all the human misery and poverty that could have been helped by the hundreds of $billions that were pissed awayed in Iraq.

If one of those parents picked up a deer rifle and blew Richard Perle's brains out, I would not convict that parent if I was on the jury. Oh--I forgot. American citizens no longer have a right to trial by jury, do they?

Posted by: Don Williams on November 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

q wrote

It's too bad it's next to impossible to have an honest discussion, on the left, of when intervention is appropriate.
Intervention should not be initiated in futile situations. Iraq's tribal history makes democracy emcompassing it's current borders impossible. It's just not in their hearts to function in this way.

Also, discussion with today's conservative (yesterday's ultraconservatives) is futile. The discussion is filled with guile. Things like the clear skies initiative and 'no-torture' interrogations techniques are the rule.

Posted by: Anthony on November 4, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

"I had no responsibility for that."

The nomination of Bush was the signal that the practice or concept of responsibility was meaningless to the Republican party. Spoiled, rotten, self-centered baby.
Too bad for the rest of us.

Posted by: J Edgar on November 4, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes: What's more, despite their conveniently-timed hand wringing about incompetent execution, there's little evidence that the apologists would have done anything very different in fact, little evidence that they cared very much about anything beyond "bringing down Saddam."

Kevin, if what you write is true, I believe you bolster the validity of the neocons' excuses. After all, bringing down Saddam wasn't itself problematic. It was accomplished competently, and was a goal that was in keeping with US advantages (military power). Moreover, there was at least an arguable case, both from a geopolitical/legal standpoint (numerous violations of the '90-'91 UN resolutions, failure to fully cooperate with the inspections regime, the regime's previous, well-documented attempt to acquire WMD, its penchant for making war on its neighbors, etc.) and a moral one (Saddam's habit of committing mass murder), for using force to eject Saddam from power.

The problem has been in the quixotic, bungled, and probably doomed effort at nation building. Colin Powell is looking wiser and wiser by the minute. The US should have resisted the temptation to make Iraq safe for democracy via an extended and large scale occupation, and instead confined its role mainly to financial assistance. We should have handed over the keys to the Iraqis and begun withdrawing promptly -- within, say, 90 days of Saddam's downfall. I believe that you, Kevin, have expressed the opinion that the presence of US forces exacerbates the situation in Iraq. And I believe you're likely correct.

Still, it's a shame a credible case can be made that Iraq is worse off for Saddam Hussein's removal from office. It needn't have turned out this way. Maybe if the administration had been more strongly guided by neoconservative principles, it wouldn't have.

Posted by: Jasper on November 4, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

" Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

And what happens if, instead, that crappy little gives us a swift kick in the nuts, rendering us nearly incapable of fighting anymore?

The greatest and long term damage that the neocons have done is that their little exercise in "shock and awe" use of power, and the psychology thereof, has been exactly turned on its head. After Iraq, which of our enemies has fear in its heart that we might ever succeed in overpowering it?

Neocons saw the use of force as a great moral and psychological lesson to the world in the irresistible power of the United States. They have, instead, so bungled things that they have demonstrated, in the middle of the road at noontime, the exact opposite.

Posted by: frankly0 on November 4, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

also like the Trots -- "permanent revision"

Posted by: David on November 4, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody needed to point out the neocons' lack of clothes. Thanks for doint the job.

Posted by: Narfl on November 4, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper: Maybe if the administration had been more strongly guided by neoconservative principles, it wouldn't have.

I disagree strongly. The same line is used by those who continue to defend Communism: failure was due to flaws in execution and individuals, not the concept.

Concept is nothing without execution; they cannot be divorced. Concepts are easy, execution is hard. These rationalizations from the neocon's are nothing more than excuses for failing at what counts. And they have failed in exactly the same way they accuse woolly-headed liberals of failing.

The neocon's have so far done nothing more than any other of histories' failed utopians. Perle, Wolfowitz, et. al. belong in the same dustbin with the rest of them. Truly, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Posted by: has407 on November 4, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Democrat screwups just get some money spent poorly INSIDE the USA. Dispersed without good feedback among Americans who probably needed it. Waste with heart and actually a trickle down of appropriate immediacy.
Republican screwups channel money that never comes back. Republican trickle down is trickle on. Name me a factory with new American jobs of decent middle-class, made with those damn tax cuts. Republican screwups are huge messes, since it is usually a terrible idea applied poorly. There is no ZERO-SUM where one side wins when the other loses with Republican ideas, they pull off lose/lose as a matter of course.
The damage of failure is much, MUCH higher with Republicans. Look at the deficit, the immigrant solutions, the medicare, Iraq, nuclear proliferation, on and on.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews on November 4, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

No mea culpa would be a more fitting by line than Neo culpa. Just a shrug from most of these Iraqi war advocates. 'Politics is the art of the possible' as Kennedy once said..It is pity they didn't recognize this simple truism before now.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on November 4, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

has407: "Concept is nothing without execution; they cannot be divorced. Concepts are easy, execution is hard."

I just want to second has407's excellent point. The execution of the concept IS the concept.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 4, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

I will join good company and third the motion.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 4, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

has407 has it right.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 4, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

I spent three hours working for Claire this afternoon, Ron. If South Plaza to Brookside is a good indicator, we are looking good, and Amendment 2 is polling well too. Finally, it's a good day to be a Democrat in KC.

GOTV!!!

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 4, 2006 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, they don't mention Cheney much. Interesting that Cheney was very much involved in persuading Bush pere not to push forward into Iraq and overthrow Saddam. What happened to him during the interregnum?

Posted by: clb72 on November 4, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase Trudeau: but this war had such promise.

Posted by: MSB on November 4, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

I will say The War did not,nor is not going as planned.How could anyone seriously say YOU could see into the future?You could plan to the finite the outcome?How do you plan to herd Cats?How do you plan to set up a Democracy when most or at least %65 of the people have lived under a Tyrant their whole Life? How do you deal with Tribes that hate each other?Religious leaders who DO NOT CARE FOR ANY,ANY HUMAN LIFE?It seems a Liberal cause to Free the Helpless, stop Insanity,especially when it will help your own People.EVERYBODY including Clinton,Kerry(the joker)the U.N. Everybody! said Sadam had WMDs.It was the Democratic Controlled Senate that said Sadam 'must be contained or removed from power".It was Clintons stated policy to Remove him.If you say otherwise you are being intentional in being Dishonest.Tell me WHAT IF WHAT IF Kerry was The President what would be Different? He wouldnt defend the Country? SURE HE WOULD OR HE WOULD OF BEEN REMOVED FROM OFFICE. Would he of let the U.N. done it for us?NO NO NO NOT! When? after resolution No. 112,321 was passed?I think the dirty little secret thats really bothering Liberals is..what if Bush,The Dumbest man in America,pulls this off? How stupid are we going to look?EGG ON FACE FOREVER???

Posted by: Glyn Lockhart on November 4, 2006 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

The picture of Cheney that goes along with that article is chilling. It looks like Mr Magoo crossed with Laurence Olivier's Nazi Szell from the movie "Marathon Man".

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 4, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

great post. one of your very best.

Posted by: secularhuman on November 4, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Compare and contrast the naive idealism of the 1960s antiwar crowd with that of the contemporary neocons.

That's easy: the 1960s antiwar types were kids, who said "Don't trust anyone over 30" because they were much younger than that. One would hope for a little bit of naive idealism from kids, but one would expect the naivete to wear off over the years.

The neocons of the PNAC/Bush era were most certainly not kids. But they were equally naive. What's their excuse?

Posted by: RT on November 4, 2006 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: 手机图片 on November 4, 2006 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the neocons thought the Bush crowd would be reality-based in "the execution" of the war. The question then would be why.

Posted by: Jay Rosen on November 4, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

clb72 sez....."Yeah, they don't mention Cheney much."

they don't mention AIPAC or Israel at all......strange, considering Perle was once accused of spying for Israel

Posted by: walter66 on November 4, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

"Richard Perle states this the most directly:..."

One wonders if he was writing from his villa in the south of France.

NeoCon Revisionism...powered by the food of Provence.

Posted by: Horton Heath on November 4, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq had nothing to do with threatening this country - "Alice."

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

The neo-con Republicans are elitist snobs who are intellectually bankrupt, but have a knack for making themselves rich through their corrupt corporate/political schemes.

And one of the leading neo-con Republicans, Grover Norquist, is the most intellectually bankrupt of them all.

He continues to whisper in the ears of other corrupt Republicans like Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (on a yacht in the Bahamas several years ago) about drowning our democracy in a bathtub, or as Norquist intends, driving our democracy into long-term bankruptcy, while the neo-con Republicans make a short-term killing. Evil. Evil. Evil.

Thus, the war in Iraq is part of this insidious neo-con Republican scheme.

Sap our nation's treasury and our nation's military by launching an open-ended preemptive military conquest of another country so that popular domestic social programs can be gutted while ramming through massive tax-cuts for the uber wealthy in America.

At the same time, redirect federal spending (both for the Iraq war and domestically) to corporate crony pals, who, to show their gratitude will dump huge amounts of the formerly-taxpayer money into Republican political campaigns...to keep this never-ending cycle of greed and corruption running.

The Nazis and Communists could have learned a few things from Norquist, Rove, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and all the other insane neo-con Republicans.

All of them...self-destructive, nation-destroying, ego-mad individuals.

God help us.

Posted by: The Oracle on November 5, 2006 at 1:57 AM | PERMALINK

I can't wait for Michael Ledeen to start blaming the CPA. 'My idea was foolproof but the CPA just had to hire a bunch of college nitwits including my incompetent whore of daughter Simone to go fuck it up.' Good times at the Ledeen compound over Thanksgiving.

Posted by: family tree on November 5, 2006 at 4:28 AM | PERMALINK

Here, here, Oracle.

In the mid 1980s, Professor of History, Paul Kennedy published a book titled: "The rise and fall of great powers."

The premise of Kennedy's book was that the cost of coercive force, or even the accumulation of potential coercive force is what undermined and brought down the great powers over the last 500 years.

Every reasonable student of geopolitics read that book. That would have to include even the Neocons. Yet, some home they insist on a geopolitical theory that's equivalent to an engineer spouting that water runs up hill.

These guys are nothing but fumble thumbs who would do the world a great favor by limiting their masterbatory activities to the sexual nature and leave geopolitics and the rest of us, out of it.

Posted by: Bubbles on November 5, 2006 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

ah: In my book that is the most evil form of sabotage.


gop: majority rules...but nothing is our fault..

Posted by: mr. irony on November 5, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Someone should go and pick up transcripts of interviews like, for instance, Perle on Charlie Rose, and notice the bouquets he throws at BUSH and COMPANY...none of that old (Gee, they aren't doing it like we wanted then)...need to see a good cartoon showing all these RATS jumping ship!

Posted by: Dancer on November 5, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

As the only neocon troll on this site, I have to agree with 70% of your criticisms, but part of me still wants to say that nation-building [like Christianity] is an idea that hasn't really been tested. I would argue that a better President would have made changes from the day Turkey refused to allow us to bring the hammer down [the Fourth Infantry Division] on the Sunni Triangle from Kurdistan.

A better commander would not have gloated with his Mission Accomplished banner. A better President would have pointed out that that the Iraqis were responsible for their own destiny from there on out, and that we made no promises other than to give them a fair chance to make a better country.

Even with all the stupidity and Katrina-level incompetence exhibited, I think we overlook how dangerous the world would have been had Saddam been allowed to fulfill his destiny as he saw it. I never liked the Axis of Evil rhetoric because I still think Saddam was at a different level of meglomania and delusion than the Mullahs in their villas or Kim with his porn collection. I still believe war with Saddam was inevitable, and while in hindsight we might wish a different President could have manipulated him into "firing on Fort Sumter" another 911 with poison gas or dirty nukes would never have been forgiven.

Posted by: minion of rove on November 5, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting how the neocon's interest is supposed to have been "overwhelming force and intimidation, with a sideline in democracy promotion " - you can see how that played out here in the US. Since the rise of the neocons during the last 2 presidencies, "democracy promotion" here at home is indeed a sideline to intimidation, truthiness, and vacuous policies.

Posted by: Warren on November 5, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Richard Perle show just how useless he is with his involvement with Conrad Black:

More profitable was the sale of four newspapers for $37.6m to Bradford, a new company 50% owned by Black and Radler. To help finance the deal, they arranged for Hollinger International to grant Bradford a 10-year interest-free and unsecured loan of $6m. Hollinger also signed a guarantee covering Bradfords existing $22m bank loan.

Effectively, Black and Radler were buying four newspapers from themselves with money they lent to themselves from Hollinger.

To avoid the directors scrutiny, they arranged that Hollingers executive committee on which they sat should approve the deal. Both signed a unanimous written consent, which was then presented to the third member of the committee, Richard Perle, the former assistant defence secretary. Without reading, understanding or discussing their content with Black and Radler, Perle signed.
The market value of the four newspapers was later assessed to be at least $4m more than Bradford had paid. A useful idiot was the subsequent description of Perles role by a critical investigator.

My highlighting.

Posted by: blowback on November 5, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Oracle speaks the truth. I would only add that these evil men, who pretend to be "Christian", are the furthest thing from it.

A very warm corner of Hell awaits all of them.

Posted by: A Humble Servant on November 5, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

One of the telling recommendations in the original PNAC document was for the USA to develop biological weapons based upon genotype. So basically they want us to have weapons which will kill all the blacks or Chinese or Indians, and just the targeted race, and no one else.

Gosh, those PNAC'ers know as much about genetics as they do about Iraq!
"Race" is not a genotype. There is no common genetic factor which identifies people into the social construct we call "race".

Posted by: Mooserm on November 5, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Point one. Michael Ledeen, Kenneth Adelman, and David Frum are only of interest in light of the fact that they have participated in Republican Administrations. They are of no interest when the object is to engage in serious policy discussion or analysis. Look at how horribly wrong they have, over the course of their careers, always turned out to be about topics that were supposed to be their areas of expertise. No serious President would hire them.

The same can be said of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Abrams. Their assertions in regard to the Soviet Union turned out to be ridiculous, not just wrong. So, what would you expect with regard to Iraq? More of the same.

Point two. The naive idealism and fixated ideology Kevin speaks of is putting it kindly and making their problems too complicated. These guys are absolutely ethnocentric and hostile to people who disagree with them. They are paranoid. They trust gut instincts and their own perceived innate ability to judge people, thus it is a waste of time to reason with them.

If you think this is overstating their faults, take a look at the fruits of their most recent labors: Iraq.

Want to wait for them to change? Learn from mistakes and make corrections and adjustments? I dont even respect Republicans who are counting on that.

Had enough?


Posted by: little ole jim from red country on November 5, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

red country Jim

Your absolutely right - I'm ethnocentric and hostile to poor misunderstood dictators like Saddam. Like when he says he wants to turn Tel Aviv into another Auschwitz, I just totally am judgmental about that...

Posted by: minion of rove on November 5, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Your starting to sound like Chomsky.

Posted by: Tyler on November 5, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

If only there were a deserted island, where war criminals could be exiled for life. Shrub, Cheney, the neocons and Saddam could learn to work together clearing brush. Rumdumb could have chocalate airdropped for their pillows.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 5, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Kev, the real baby that needs to be strangled in the crib is your notion that ONLY the neocons wanted war in Iraq and it's all their fault. Fact is lots of Democrats and liberals were more than eager to "take out" Saddam Hussein. The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a PNAC front group, had Democratic members. It was under Clinton that Chalabi sucked up all that taxpayer money. The New York Times provided all the necessary propaganda. And although it's obviously a monstrosity the war happened at all, since it did it's a GOOD thing the U.S. is getting a tanning thanks to its stupidity and arrogance.

Posted by: rakhia on November 5, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

Let's look at one key aspect of neoconism--support for right-wing Zionism and a tendency to regard Isaeli and American interests as interchangeable. In this regard, what is going to be different under the Democrats? Think Hilary's going to refuse to invade Iran?

It seems pretty obvious to me that this turning on Bush is orchestrated. When the rats leave a sinking ship, it's to hop onboard another.

Posted by: David on November 5, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Agreed, David. It is actally ironice: Israel and the US are too close for either's benefit.

Posted by: Bob M on November 5, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm. Liberals and Democrats (who are not in power) sabotoged the great Iraqi experiment. Damn we are powerful, huh? Get off of it. There is no one to blame but the war mongering AEI, PNAC and this incompetent administration. Period.

These future war criminals (at least as judged by history) will not be able to squirm there way from judgement.

Any idiot could rationalize a reason why Saddam was a bad person and needed to be removed. Come on! It takes intelligence to understand the resulting consequences... and if you explore their propaganda you will see childish meandering crap about "welcome us with open arms." These "think tanks" made circular references to each other's papers and called themselves learned men. Bunk.

How in God's name can this now be the Democrats fault? Strategic goals are the responsibility of the civilian military overseers! Duh! The tactical goals and means should have been given to the generals that dedicated their lives to studying and preparing... but instead, Rumseld imposed himself into the nuts and bolts... mistaking his idiotic "paradigm" of fighting future wars and missing the elephant in the room... the policing and securing of a country after destroying its entire means of doing it itself... (see dismantling army and deBaathification to the very lowest, civil servant level).

I dispise the Republican party more than I ever have. They are whining, sniveling little creeps who blame EVERYONE but themsevles. It is now impossible for them to stand like a man and accept their mistakes... instead they whine and pout and attack those that point out the truth. God help us!

Posted by: Darren7160 on November 6, 2006 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

You mentioned that neocons are for overwhelming force. Surely, you don't believe that America used all force possible? The neocons believe that we should go in and kill all the "terrorists". Since we can't tell the terrorists from the regular people, and besides they are all just terrorists waiting to happen, America should have gone in and wiped out Iraq (it's not too late). This would send a message not to mess with US. Not that they did mess with us, but they would have eventually... We can't let people push us around, even if we started it.

I personally think these ideas are crazy, as does most of the world. But you still hear a lot of people who think we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back. Since the Iraqis have not cleaned out their own "terrorists", or "insurgents", or whatever you want to call them (really who cares), clearly they are against us, so if we have to kill them all, so be it.

Posted by: allison on November 6, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting to see no mention of the fact that "neocons" are Democrats who became convinced that their party was weak on defense and switched.

It is shameful that some seem to be trying to evade responsibility although I don't trust VF to provide quotes in context. The people who decide how they will vote according to VF have already joined the anti-Bush camp years ago. The fact remains that there has never been a reasonable alternative provided by your side in the debate.

First, the sanctions were killing Iraqi babies. Then Saddam was "contained." Then Ted Kennedy concluded it was all planned in Texas with the Saudis. You have never come up with a plan and you still don't have one. It may be enough to take the House since many Republicans are disgusted with the spending and earmark abuses of power.

On the other hand, recent polls show the public may be having second thoughts about turning the Congress over to the likes of Kerry and his Freudian slip "jokes." We'll see. Maybe you should order that champagne on consignment. So you can return it if necessary.

Posted by: Mike K on November 6, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

As I suspected, the neocons quoted have posted responses pointing out the twisted context. I am still mystified about why they would trust VF in the first place.

Posted by: Mike K on November 6, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Where were you with this analysis of NeoCon thinking in the months after 9/11, when it might have made a difference?

Sorry but it's hard not to be bitter.

Posted by: erica on November 6, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Sorry but it's hard not to be bitter."

Indeed. Why was the left never able to mount an effective anti-war movement--even when the population was begging for it? It's because they were complicit. They may not have initiated the program, but every member of Congress knew what they were voting for back in October 2002.

The left has been paralyzed in the realm of foreign relations because one large topic is still taboo, and that's Israel. You can't examine the lies that got us into this war unless you're prepared to look at the truth.

I'm all for kicking the current bums out, but I'm not expecting anything to change.

Posted by: Alana D on November 6, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

mike k: As I suspected, the neocons quoted have posted responses pointing out the twisted context.


tell me all about context...

Posted by: john kerry on November 7, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

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