S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Neocons revisited

Yesterday this site's S/SW post was about the future of Iraq, which is tied very closely to how much neocon influence remains in the current administration. If the United States military is not eventually withdrawn from Iraq, then the symbolic image of neocons as imperialists will have been correctly chosen for this post.
To recap what has previously been posted here:

  1. In late November I discussed Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been trying to build bridges between the various factions. "He has been called a soft neocon, by some who know him well." quoted from S/SW of 11/30/05.
  2. In an earlier post, "neocon" as a foreign policy philosophy was explored, along with some of its key proponents. There I linked to a "Neocon Quiz", authored by The Christian Science Monitor, from which someone could find out if they have neocon tendencies.
  3. In my post entitled, "Iraq in Ten Years," I named a few of the key originators of the neocon "influencers" within the current administration:
Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Michael Ledeen, William Kristol, Frank Gaffeny, Jr., Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Robert Kagan.

Since that post I have done a bit of additional research on what the current level of neocon influence in this administration might be:

Steve Clemons, guest-posting at TPM Cafe, introduced us to another neocon, Jeffrey Gedmin, now working with John Bolton as Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Bolton and Gedman's accomplishments since taking on the U.N., in my opinion, have minimal at best, and destructive at worst.

"JackAckroyd," a TPM Cafe blogger summarizes the problem: "Franklin Foer says that the administration will never cop to being dishonest about the war. The neocon worldview includes the routine assessment of intelligence in an extreme worst case scenario frame. " Kevin Drum recently posted this little gem that also casts doubt on neocons' ability to accurately assess the Iraq situation.

In summary, it is clear that neocons are still in charge, despite the diminished capacity of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Paul Wolfowitz's move to the World Bank. Key people have changed portfolios and the the neocon philosophy still dominates. I want to be optimistic but I am not. To quote "Barnswab", another TPM Cafe blogger,

For me what was decisive was that I knew from the beginning that the particular people making U.S. policy and directing the war and the occupation could not be trusted to conduct operations in a way that respected innocent human life or took account of human realities -- not because of the nature of capitalism or imperialism or "America" but because over the last 40 years the American political system has been substantially taken over by a militaristic rightist ideological movement married to religious fundamentalism and popular chauvinism (see, e.g. Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong; Chris Hedge's "On War", New York Review of Books, 12/16/04).*** At this moment there is very little left in the way of effective checks and balances against this.

Despite my lack of overall optimism, there are a few hopeful signs emerging. Public opinion polls indicate that a majority of Americans are fed up with how things are going. Democrats are beginning to find their voices, though they have been slow to do so. And a few Republicans are distancing themselves from the most egregious of the administration's neocon policies.

  1. Called "Stop Sleeping," this site contains a good deal of information on neocon people, organizations and philosophical positions.
  2. Found in a "neocon" search, this site is called NeoCon Watch, title linked above.


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