[The price of neoconservatism]
This country is still, so to speak, Bushed. We may need a generation
or so to recover from the last administration. If you need to refresh
your memory of it, you can’t do much better than to read a new
book, The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative
Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel, by Stephen J. Sniegoski
A mild word of warning: though the book is on the whole very well
written, it has been abominably edited, and its index is nearly worthless.
But this isn’t the author’s fault.
George W. Bush may not have been the worst American president, but
he was surely the goofiest. At least his successor can speak in complete
sentences. Not that this is any assurance that we will be governed
better over the next four years. Nowadays, as I always say, the government
is the wolf at the door — taking our wealth and paying for it with
counterfeit cash. And Barack Obama thinks the problem is that the government
isn’t taxing us enough — or, in other words, extorting enough
from us. (To a liberal, there is no such thing as “enough.”)
The Bush era had a dialect all its own. We got accustomed to such
phrases as “regime change,” “rogue state,” “Islamofascism,” “weapons
of mass destruction,” “axis of evil,” “pre-emptive
war,” and “cakewalk,” to mention only a few. There
were also memorable adages: “The risks of inaction are greater
than the risks of action” (an argument for invading Iraq), and “The
smoking gun may take the form of a mushroom cloud” (ditto).
Sniegoski reminds us of all the pundits who urged us to charge into
Iraq with guns blazing: Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Cal Thomas,
Victor Davis Hanson, David Frum, Richard Perle, Max Boot, David Brooks,
Frank Gaffney, and dozens of other op-ed sages. None of these gents’ careers
appear to have suffered in the least as a result of their wildly optimistic
prescriptions and predictions. Political commentators must have a powerful
union that ensures their job security, no matter how grievously they
err. Astrologers must envy them. George W. Bush, whom one wag has called “America’s
dumbest war criminal,” finally lost his job, but he was the exception.
Most of these wonderful wizards, you may note, are self-identified “neoconservatives.” As
Boot has observed, support for the state of Israel is a “key
tenet” of their peculiar creed, which, as Sniegoski notes, has
very little to do with old-fashioned conservatism — and is in fact
nearly its opposite. They are constantly inflamed with war fever against
the enemies of the Jewish state, even if no American interest is at
stake. That is why American politicians, including Obama, swear their
devotion to Israel and keep the United States constantly at war in
and around the Middle East.
Among the many hawkish periodicals calling for war were Commentary,
The Weekly Standard, National Review, The Washington Times, The Wall
Street Journal, and The New Republic. To which we may add Fox News.
Traditionally conservative publications seemed to be taking their marching
orders from the neocons, without pausing to ask critical questions
of principle. One result of this passivity was to discredit the conservative
movement as a whole, making conservatism a synonym for mindless militarism
in the minds of many voters.
The neocons, as they are nicknamed, have reached new heights of absurdity.
Perle and Frum together wrote a book apocalyptically titled An
End to Evil, in which they forecast a “holocaust” of the U.S.
population unless we went to war, pronto, against the Axis of Evil.
Other neocons said we were already in “World War IV” and
warned that the suicidal madmen ruling Iran were about to acquire nuclear
weapons and take over the whole bloody world, unless we stopped them
at once. Our next war will presumably be dubbed World War V.
And how do the neocons handle criticism? By the tried-and-true method
of accusing their critics of anti-Semitism. But an ugly accusation
isn’t an argument.
The country has just come through a seven-year spell of temporary
insanity, with the lunatics running the asylum. (At least let’s
hope it’s only temporary.) The aforementioned Frank Gaffney surmised,
in early 2001 (more than seven months before the 9/11 horrors), that
Saddam Hussein “may have acquired atomic and perhaps even thermonuclear
With these guys, it’s hard to say where the lies ended and
the delusions began. Now our new president, who campaigned as an antiwar
candidate, seems to want to withdraw from Iraq and repeat the experience
Sniegoski has been carefully keeping score of the neocons’ mischief
for many years, and he has given us a meticulous recounting of how
they made the most of the opportunity they got so suddenly on September
See this column at News
The Reactionary Utopian columns are copyright © 2009
by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfbooks.com, P.O.
Box 1383, Vienna, VA 22183. All rights reserved.
Editor may use this column if copyright information is included.
Joe Sobran is an author and a syndicated columnist. See complete bio
and latest writings.
Watch Sobran on YouTube.
To subscribe, renew, or support further columns by Joe Sobran, please send
a tax-deductible donation to the:
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation
P.O. Box 1383
or sponsor online.