The long overdue end to the Neocon nightmare

An inspired and inspiring polemic ("End of the Neo-Cons") has been loosed on the lunacy gripping Washington for so long and whose epic blunders just resulted in the Republicans losing control of the House of Representatives for the first time in over a decade in the Toronto Star by David Olive.

If there’s any rhetorical mistep in this eloquent and exhaustive broadside at Neocon folly it is Olive’s somewhat toothless opining about the possibility that the "neo-cons will have earned their place in one of the inner circles of hell."  While the Neocon kingpin Richard Perle isn’t known as the "Prince of Darkness" for nothing, these idiot savant Jacobins are ultimately only doing what they believe down to the marrow of their bones and fulfilling their nature.  You can’t blame scorpions and vipers going around stinging people.

The "leaders" who have of late secured for themselves berths in Dante’s Inferno are the many so-called liberals, intellectuals and journalists who took leave of their sanity and integrity after 9/11, discarding previously sacrosanct American principles and eagerly enlisting in this nakedly idiotic movement.  They gave it the patina of intellectual credibility and pragmatism that it now so conspicuously lacks.  They enabled this whole fiasco and should’ve known better.

No doubt someone will eventually get paroled from Satan’s mouth to make room for political apostate and ideological mutant Christopher Hitchens.  My guess is that Cassius, whose sins were actually pretty humdrum as ancient palace intrigues went, is out.  Hitchens, however, could give both Brutus and Judas a run for their money.  Given the fallen leftist’s well known fondness for drink, he’ll probably be a welcome addition as the old fiend shivers in the middle of that frozen lake. – "End of the Neo-Cons" by David Olive

Whether or not the Republicans lose control of one or both houses of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, the neo-conservative vision that has guided American foreign policy since 2001 has run its course. The neo-cons’ grand design lies in ruins, having accomplished nothing other than to shrink America’s stature in the world.

  • Irving

    Bush, Rumsfeld and Chaney all deserve a hand for putting the Democrats in power. Their ignorance and arrogance proves the old adage:
    One can be completely sincere and totally wrong at the same time.
    Ya Haqq!

  • TM Lutas

    A short list of accomplishments the neo-cons have achieved can be made and, in fairness, one should recognize them.
    1. Saddam Hussein has been convicted of mass murder by Iraqis and will be punished by them.
    2. Uday and Qusay Hussein are no longer raping and torturing Iraqis.
    3. Syria is no longer occupying Lebanon in violation of UN demands for a free Lebanon.
    4. Libya has given up its secret nuclear weapons program.
    5. The PRC is growing up on N. Korea and has started the process of removing the malignancy of the Kim clan.
    6. A sitting US president apologized for realpolitik interference in arab affairs, identifying dictatorial stability in the short/medium term as against the US’ long-term interests.
    There are probably several that I have missed but looking over the list I *did* come up with, I can’t see any one of them that a pious muslim should not applaud. Whether the gains were worth the cost is another question. To assert, as the article does, that there were no gains is just not right. Be against the neo-cons if you wish (and I think that they’ve done some spectacularly stupid things) but is it too much to ask for a realistic assessment and not the news article’s two minute hate?
    Who can take seriously an article that labels the Wall Street Journal as an extremist paper?

  • Svend

    Thanks, TM.
    Can’t say I agree.
    Sure, Saddam’s conviction and insha’Allah eventual execution for his manifest crimes are welcome developments, but ones that we hardly needed to plunge the region and international affairs into chaos and strife in order to achieve. There are a lot of ways we could’ve reached this point, few which would’ve been so harmful to the cause of peace and justice, here as well as over there.
    The butchers Uday and Qusay are gone, but meanwhile Iraqis are slaughtering each other in increasing numbers.
    Syria’s departure from Lebananon is pretty trivial in the scheme of things if you ask me and then there are all the far more pressing “UN demands” which Israel, India, China, Russia, and even the USA continue to ignore with impunity. We only hail the victory of international law when the right ox is getting gored.
    I really doubt you can credit the Neocons or this administration for Libya’s about-face,especially given how their policies and rhetoric towards Muslims and the Arabs if anything made this detente far *less* likely. Crazy as a loon he may be, but if anybody deserves credit for this it’s Qaddaffi, who’s had to swallow his pride and jump through all sorts of hoops. (Not that his motivations are particulary noble, of course.)
    I don’t know much about this administration’s East Asian policy. Given how distracted it’s been by this so-called War on Terror, I would suspect that these developments are less the result of smart policy than good luck and internal developments in China and North Korea.
    Yes, he apologized, sort of, for past realpolitik but then appointed Nicollo Machaivelli his Secretary of Defense and proceded to exploit this professed idealism to justify jingoism, disrespect for law, and political values that approach Fascism and McCarthyism. I think W and his crew of hairychested macho men have left America and the world in general far less safe and committed to basic principles of democracy than they found it. Moreover, he’s since then essentially repudiated democracy and national sovreignty in cases where he didn’t agree with the procedurally legitimate outcome of the political process (e.g., trampling the Palestinians’ democratically elected government and all but declaring war on the Palestinian people to get them to “choose” the right leaders).
    I’d love to meet you halfway, but I agree with the article. I don’t think there’s much this administration has not screwed up. For every small step forward, they’ve lept (and dragged all of us) a league backwards.
    As for the Journal’s moderation, I think on a number of issues is it quite extreme and heavily ideological. We just don’t notice it anymore, as these shrill attitudes have become depressingly commonplace within American politics.

  • TM Lutas

    Svend – I have encountered a significant amount of “magical thinking” among my own faith’s religious regarding the removal of Saddam “some other way” I can understand if you don’t want to dive into the nitty gritty of what could have been done but I was a pretty close observer of events and my perception is that they (the current US administration) tried it all prior to invasion. What did they miss? Or are you as guilty of magical thinking as a high official in my own diocese who was sure that a SOF team could have done it with a simple bullet after they had “somehow” figured out where he was going to be long enough to get a team to his location.
    The purpose of Iraq was similar to the purpose of Operation Torch in WW II. It was the easiest avenue of entry, the simplest campaign to achieve the goal which was and remains the rise of functional, decent muslim societies that have torn loose from the interlocking pathologies that have gripped muslim nations for so many centuries, especially but not only among the arabs.
    Khadaffi’s remarks to PM Berlusconi seem to me to make the events in Iraq and thus the neocons quite germaine to his decision to abandon nukes. The PSI seizure which started the ball rolling also can be rightly claimed as a neocon good idea (
    I suggest that you have the order wrong on the repudiation of supporting arab dictatorship as an ideal. Rumsfeld had been confirmed prior to 9/11. The speeches I was referring to were made post 9/11. I don’t deny the validity of your opinions, just that it should fit the actual timeline of events.
    As for the world being more or less committed to democracy, I would suggest that those threatening to chop off hands whose fingers bore signs of electoral ink might properly bear a significant portion of the blame for that.
    I reject the idea that what we’re going through is jingoism, McCarthyism, Fascism, or some form of dictatorship. Turn on Michael Savage some time to get a real blast of jingoism for comparison. When somebody in an official federal position sounds like him and retains his office there would be a problem but that simply isn’t happening. As for fascism, I would suggest that you go light on the Olberman. The only McCarthyism that I’ve seen lately is the gay Left outing Republican closeted gays. Somehow I don’t think that’s quite what you had in mind.
    Had you recognized the accomplishments but that they paled in comparison with the liabilities I would not fight too hard. Like I said previously, the neocons have done some incredibly stupid things. But giving them their legitimate due is an exercise in stepping back from the 2 minute hates that so many are organizing and looking at the record unclouded by emotion.
    This is a useful ability to have.

  • Svend

    Thanks for taking the time to comment again.
    First, I must note that a critical point that is inadequately discussed is our utter lack of a moral high ground going into the 2nd Gulf War given the decade of genocidal sanctions that we’d imposed on Iraq. That immoral and ultimately futile policy resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths—mostly among women and children—not to mention truly horrific conditions in Iraq’s hospitals (which were once the pride of the Arab world). We’re talking about children being born without faces thanks to depleted uranium while we were in practice embargoing basic medical supplies and equipment in order to squeeze an already battered and starving people into revolt against a well armed regime. For over a decade, our government committed—and forced the UN to go along with—war crimes during times of peace. This is the stuff of a Nuremburg trial.
    Second, the Devil is often in the details. My problem is that the way this war was launched and prosecuted made a mockery of law and civilization itself. You don’t rid the world of evil by undermining the most important bulwarks against it, namely democracy and rule of law.
    I see your point about the timeline. I wasn’t trying to lay out a historical sequence. I was just discussing the paradoxes poetically.
    The kinds of murderous thugs you mentioned are beyond the pale, but sadly not unheard of in unstable, violent societies (and not just in Muslim ones, as the recent history of Cambodia, Peru, and Sierra Leon and Rwanda show). There’s little danger of respect for international law and the universality of human rights being undermined by the policies proposed by crazed killers. There is, in my opinion, such a risk in the case of this administration and its fellow travelers in gunboat diplomacy.
    Well, Fascism is defined as allowing only one party to exist in society and McCarthyism refers to purges and witch hunts based on a narrow and arbitrary ideological litmus test. And the essence of dictatorship is indifference to rule of law, due process, checks and balances and accountability to the people. By these standards, I’d argue that we are well on our way down a slippery slope that leads to these horrors. All sorts of once sacrosanct American principles of justice have been relativized by this administration so that we can no longer take them for granted.
    Last week’s Economist had an article on Bush entitled “The Incredible Shrinking Presidency”. I think that sums it up well.
    I understand how one might object to my uncharitable reading of this administration’s legacy, but it seems to me that the more information we get about its inner workings (including the information it had available at key junctures) and the longer its policies play out over time in the real world, the more incompetent, inconsistent and irresponsible the administration seems.
    I’m not trying to imply anybody else to be naive or ignorant of the facts. Reasonable, informed people can obviously disagree.
    I just think these guys have managed to screw up just about everything that really counts.