a falling out among neocons, reports Jim
Lobe of Interpress News Service, and you can bet it isn't
going to be pretty. Considering their zeal to purge and smear
dissidents on the Right for the slightest deviation – an insufficient
devotion to the cult of Lincoln,
taking the "wrong" position
on McCarthy (Joe,
mentioning Martin Luther King's
Commie connections (or his career as a serial plagiarist)
– this fight is going to be worth the cost of a ringside seat.
Oh, how the blood will flow!
a longtime observer of the neocon scene, is certainly in the
best position to give us a blow-by-blow account. He has covered
their methods, their plans, their obsessions, their
triumphs, their troubles –
and, now, their split into contending factions.
object of their contention is George W. Bush's conduct of
the war on terror, which seems to have ground to a near halt.
In Iraq, the Americans are on the defensive, floundering in
a sea of hostility, while on the home front the neocons are
increasingly singled out as the architects of a strategy that
managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, turning
a military success into a political and diplomatic failure.
the neocons' view, however, it's all the President's fault.
Not only did he fail to continue the war, but he sent Colin
Powell hat-in-hand to the UN, despoiling the pristine arrogance
of our post-9/11 foreign policy. Worse yet, the neocons'
postwar grand design has been scaled down
clear now that Rumsfeld is not interested in 'remaking Iraq',"
says Charles Kupchan, an analyst with the Council on Foreign
Relations. "He wants to get the hell out of there."
the neocons are livid. Glory, glory hallelujah!
Jr., of the Center for Security Policy, complains that
the administration has gone soft on Syria, ignored the Iranian
"threat," and given the Saudis a pass. The "road map" is sheer
lunacy, to Gaffney, who is never in favor of peace if war
is a possibility and who never takes the American side
in any dispute with Israel. He doesn't have the courage to
come right out and point the accusing finger at the President,
accounts say the most influential of these, White House adviser
Karl Rove, has warned that there must be 'no more wars' for
the remainder of Bush's term. Grover Norquist, allowed by
Rove to portray himself as a close ally, has opined publicly
that '[Wars] are expensive and a drain politically. They are
not political winners.' According to Norquist, head of Americans
for Tax Reform, it follows that if Bush persists in engaging
in them, he could doom himself to being a one-term president."
more wars?! Oh, but the neocons have just begun. They envision
a whole series of wars raging throughout the Middle East.
It's what Michael Ledeen calls "creative
destruction." The neocon vision – "transforming"
the region so as to make it safe for Israel – requires it.
After all, you don't "remake" something without first destroying
it. The neocons had their hearts set on the continuation of
their war of "liberation," and the disappointment in Ledeen's
voice is palpable as he commiserates with his
buddy Pat Robertson:
"Well, I've read a couple of your recent columns. You're
pointing to Iran as a terror master, but you're saying Iran,
Saudi Arabia and Syria. But apparently our State Department
doesn't want to really move against them."
"No, our State Department just really wants
to make deals with all of those countries. Our State Department
thinks that, 'Now we've done Iraq. There's a presidential
election coming up. Our troops are tired. Our resources are
strained. Let's stop here for the time being, try to bring
some order into Iraq. And then after the presidential election,
if President Bush is re-elected, then we'll worry about what
comes next.' That's their current thinking."
"If we pursue that, all the momentum we had after the Operation
Iraqi Freedom is going to be lost."
doesn't matter to fanatics like Robertson and Ledeen that
our troops are tired, that our resources are strained, that
"liberated" Iraq is in chaos. Reality can be safely ignored,
you see, because victory is a matter of pure will. Besides
that, Robertson believes that American resources must be put
at Israel's disposal because God
wills it, a delusion that suits Ledeen and his fellow
neocons just fine.
attacks Rove in another
op ed, this time in the Washington Times, charging
that the President's influential political advisor is part
of a network involving "foreign-funded" "Islamist" groups,
darkly insinuating that the Bush reelection campaign is colluding
with pro-terrorist "radical" Muslims. What is the evidence
for this? The President and Rove have met with representatives
of a broad cross-section of Arab-American and Muslim groups
in an effort to get their support. Can you imagine that
– a politician angling for votes and campaign contributions?
Who ever heard of such a thing? Leave it to our American Likudniks to put
a sinister cast on such a prosaic event.
some news to brighten up your day. Gloom and doom hang over
the War Party like a dark cloud:
"The President made a stirring speech after 9-11, that
anybody who harbors a terrorist shall be considered a terrorist.
And yet, it's been kid gloves with Saudi Arabia, kid gloves
with Syria, kid gloves with Iran. When are we going to get
"Yeah. I don't know. I mean, it seems to me, too, that
he's lost his bearings on this."
other words, the President has regained his bearings,
albeit perhaps only temporarily. On account of the coming
struggle to retain the White House, Bush 43 has put on hold,
if not entirely called off, what the neocons
the Old Right journalist and polemicist Garet Garrett put
government in the republican meaning, that is, Constitutional,
representative, limited government, on the one hand, and
Empire on the other hand, there is mortal enmity. Either one
must forbid the other or one will destroy the other. That
we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the
George W. Bush has no intention of breaking that tradition.
Grover Norquist is right: war sure isn't a political
winner. That's why Woodrow Wilson campaigned on a platform
of "he kept us out of war,"
while Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared "I
have said this before, but I shall say it again and again
and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into foreign
wars" – even as he was plotting
and conniving to drag us into World War II by hook, by
through the back door.
of the President's intentions, the last thing Karl Rove wants
is an inquisition into plans for expanding a war that is already
proving to be a political
one that could drag not only the President but his party
down to defeat in '04.
however, is only one source of the new caution. The other
is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is looking for an
exit strategy – not only to extricate us from Iraq, but to
extricate himself out of the role of scapegoat. As Lobe puts
chief Donald Rumsfeld, on the other hand, is dead-set against
deploying yet more troops to join the 180,000 now in Iraq
and Kuwait. And while he, like the neo-cons, opposes conceding
any substantial political role for the UN or anyone else,
his preferred option is to transfer power directly to the
Iraqis as quickly as possible, even at the risk that reconstituted
security forces would be insufficiently cleansed of elements
of the former regime's Ba'ath Party."
war in '04? You betcha. Beyond that, however, all bets are
both major parties are merely the "right" and "left" wings
of a single party, the War Party, it makes no difference which
one wins the White House. Unless a candidate emerges from
the pack who is clearly and specifically for getting us out
of Iraq, and out of the business of empire-building altogether,
the outcome of the election is utterly irrelevant. In any
case, our interventionist foreign policy is sure to stay in
election season is a vast distraction that, traditionally,
the peace movement has had to endure, like a passing storm.
Resources and energy are temporarily diverted into the nearly
always vain hope that one of the two major political parties
can be made into the vehicle on which the anti-interventionist
movement can hitch a ride. Principles are eclipsed by partisan
loyalties, and I'm not just talking about the willingness
of all too many "antiwar" types to overlook Howard
Dean's shifty stance on what to do about Iraq, but also
Bob Novak's sudden flacking for a war that he vehemently (and
rightly) opposed. .
only one sure defense against the depredations of the War
Party, and that is the organized vigilance of the American
people. Ah, but vigilance presupposes knowledge, and that's
what Antiwar.com is all about. Election seasons come and go,
like the weather, but the movement to reclaim the foreign
policy of this country soldiers on.
good friend Lew
Rockwell recently remarked that we should never tire of
saying "I told you so" to the warmongers, and I agree completely
with his pro-gloating stance. We said the war would be a breeze
compared to the occupation, and that the real war wouldn't start
until we declared "victory" – and we were right. We said there
were no weapons of mass destruction, no links to Al Qaeda,
no real rationale for war other than serving Israel's interest
– and we were right about all that, too. I long ago predicted that the neocons would turn on Bush if he faltered
in pursuit of their dreams of empire, and I take great delight
in publicly gloating over this recent turn of events.
IN THE MARGIN
out my review of Jim Bovard's new book, Terrorism
and Tyranny: Trampling Freedom, Justice, and Peace to Rid
the World of Evil (Palgrave-Macmillan), in the September
22 issue of The American
Conservative. (I don't know if they're going to put
it online, so get your copy on the news stands now). Bovard's
book is the perfect antidote for Ashcroft's
"Patriot Act II" Tour, in which the Attorney General is
trying to sell the most serious assault on the Bill of Rights
since the Alien
and Sedition Acts as a defense of the very system
he undermines. Buy it, read it, and give it to your friends.
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