Friday, September 30, 2011

NeoCon Kristol Unsettled by G.O.P. Contenders

William Kristol, editor of the neoconservative organ, The Weekly Standard, recently bemoaned the performance of conservative candidates during the last Republican presidential debate. He claims to be saying out loud what he implies is a widespread but as of yet unarticulated feeling among conservatives, that the 2012 field of Republican contenders is lackluster at best and wholly unsuited to defeating Obama at the very worst. Quoting Kristol: "But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him. And Mitt Romney remains, when all is said and done, a technocratic management consultant whose one term as governor produced Romneycare. He could rise to the occasion as president. Or not...none of the candidates really seemed up to the moment, either politically or substantively. In the midst of a crisis, we’re getting politics as usual—and a somewhat subpar version of politics as usual at that." Kristol went on to lament the fact that neither Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie would "step up" and enter the fray a development that he feels may assure the reelection of Barack Obama. Moreover Kristol said that seventy percent of the Republican activists attending the September 22nd event in Orlando cast a vote of no confidence in the two front runners.

To what extent is Kristol correct on the current state of affairs within the G.O.P. and to what extent is this merely the griping of a man so thoroughly tied to the fading neoconservative wing of the Republican Party that he can take no other position. Is Kristol's lamentation representative of others within the conservative ranks who just can't abide candidates that won't advocate an aggressive American foreign policy including military intervention? As you know it was the Neoconservatives who took the reality of American exceptionalism and married it to the idea that this country should use its military might to effect regime change around the world. It was the NeoCons within the first Bush administration who prodded the president to war with Iraq, a misadventure that is now widely regarded as one of this country's most profound foreign policy mistakes. Are William Kristol and his fellow neoconservatives simply men out step with the times or are they really onto something with regard to the quality of the Republican presidential contenders for 2012 or could they be both at the same time?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The neocons’ post-9/11 Jewish journey (and mine)

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has come and gone. But in the commemoration of those attacks, under the radar of the inevitable jingoism and cynical emotional appeals, a more disturbing phenomenon lurks still: the neoconservatives, new to public attention, if not to power, in the wake of the attacks, have used the anniversary to push anew their most cherished and pernicious myths about the last decade they did so much to define.

This is not a matter of mere historical import, for the mythmaking is largely focused on current events, namely, the so-called “Arab Spring”. Thus Joshua Muravchik, author of one of the most scurrilous attacks on what he called the “myth” of neoconservatism in 2003, takes on the matter of “Neoconservatives and the Arab Spring” in the special 10th anniversary issue of Commentary. Muravchik asserts that “the split between Israeli analysts and neoconservatives on democratization in the Middle East was ignored by the new wave of conspiracy-minded hate-mongers,” as he evidently views all critics of neoconservatism, yet many bloggers at the time of the Egyptian uprising took note of the divide and sought to earnestly account for it, not least this author. At the time, I saw the confusion among the neocons as representing “The Neocon Hitler-Stalin Pact Moment”, and this is borne out by the tone and substance of Muravchik’s reflections six months later: Egypt and other countries are likely to fall into the hands of “Islamists”, but there is cause for hope – in other words, everything would have been alright if we were in charge.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rick Santorum & His Neocon Ilk Are Culpable For 9/11, Not America

Rick Santorum tries to say Dr. Paul "blames America" for 9/11. This is nothing but desperate, pathetic demagoguery. Personally, I hold neocon trash like Rick Santorum culpable for 9/11, as he & his ilk are those who supported policies of interventionism, preemptive war, & decided America was the "policeman" of the world. These arrogant, ethnocentric, uneducated saboteurs of the Constitution are those who are truly to blame for the blowback which exposed itself on 9/11. And I would say this straight to his face.

Rick Santorum's neocon warmongering problem

Rick Santorum has a little problem. It's his neocon warmongering problem. He thought he would try to score political points by taking a cheap shot at Congressman Ron Paul. In his feeble attempt to score points he mischaracterized Ron Paul's position on 9/11. Ron Paul does not blame the United States, or the whole of the country, for 9/11. Ron Paul says that the foreign policy of politicians like Rick Santorum has consequences.

However, I will concede that so long as the official government story on 9/11 remains intact, Ron Paul can appear to be somewhat less than patriotic for not supporting the war. But suppose one questions the government's official conspiracy theory. Does that mean the person blames the entire country? No. If 19 guys, commandeered by guys from caves in Afghanistan, could have pulled off 9/11, then I don't know why 19 other guys couldn't have done the same thing to then blame it on somebody else. Ron Paul's delivery is also not the best.

The Neocon Con

Although neoconservatives have indeed challenged certain aspects of the welfare state, they have no quarrel with it in principle.

. . . . [then] why do the neoconservatives criticize the welfare state at all? Aside from the technical deficiencies of particular programs, what concerns them is the way that some welfare programs encourage unvirtuous behavior. Welfare that rewards giving birth out of wedlock, e.g., arouses their protests.

This sort of criticism reveals a key fact about the neoconservatives. They have a very definite sense of the proper conduct that the state, or as they are likely to term it, the regime, ought to promote. Not for them is the libertarian view that each person, so long as he does not initiate force against others, is free to lead his life as he wishes. To the contrary, the leaders of the state have as one of their prime duties the development of the citizens’ characters. Accordingly, freedom of speech most decidedly does not extend to pornography. Further, the government must inculcate patriotic sentiment among the people.

Neoconservatism Taken Down

To most of us, neoconservatism is inevitably associated with the Iraq War. A group of neoconservatives, including Robert Kagan and David Frum, played with consummate folly a major role in urging the Bush administration toward initiating that conflict. The movement, on that ground alone, has little to recommend it; but can one nevertheless make a case on its behalf?

After all, neoconservatism was not always associated with reckless foreign-policy initiatives. To the contrary, in its early days in the 1960s, Irving Kristol, Nathan Glazer, and Daniel Moynihan offered in the neoconservative journal The Public Interest cogent criticisms of many aspects of the welfare state. If Kristol could only muster Two Cheers for Capitalism, is this not better than most fashionable intellectuals can do? Perhaps the good elements in neoconservatism can be detached from the recent foreign-policy madness. C. Bradley Thompson emphatically disagrees. He argues that neoconservatism stands in fundamental opposition to individual rights and a free economy.

Friday, September 16, 2011


There are so many neocons writing daily blogs in their online comic magazine Commentary these days that it’s inevitable that one neocon sooner or later was going to write something that would demonstrate the hypocrisy of their rhetoric when contrasted with something written by another neocon writer. Here’s a classic.

On Sunday, 11 September, Michael Rubin writes:

Many states will vote for unilateral Palestinian statehood at the United Nations on September 20. Let us hope they consider their votes carefully, because they will create a precedent that can impact more than a dozen other countries.

After all, if the Muslim bloc can use its population and oil leverage to extort votes of smaller countries on this issue…

‘Extort votes’??!!

Neo-cons warn against losing Iraq peace

A familiar group of mainly neo-conservative hawks, many of whom championed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, released an open letter to President Barack Obama Thursday urging him to retain a substantial military force in that Middle East country beyond this year.

Released by the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the successor organization of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) that championed the 2003 US invasion, the letter warns against reported plans by the administration to reduce Washington's troop presence to 4,000 after December 31, the date by which, according to a 2008 US-Iraqi agreement, all US forces are to be withdrawn.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Neocon Hates Ron Paul

In today's word from DC, David Catron of the American Spectator tries to call Ron Paul, of all people, a hypocrite. Why? Because the one true free trader in American politics is pro-free trade. It's true that all the conservative and "libertarian" think tanks, in the pay of the big drug companies, oppose free trade in prescription drugs ("re-importation"), but not Ron. Here, David, is free trade in a nutshell. You drive to Mexico or Canada, go shopping, fill your car with goods--including any medications you want--and drive back, waving to the border guards as you pass.

Are Canadian prices too low? They can't be, or the drug companies wouldn't sell there. We can know that they are vastly too high in the US, thanks to massive frederal subsidies, from the FDA to Medicare to Obamacare, for big pharma.

As to the earmark issue, another neocon fave--since it allows these pro-spending types to pretend to be against spending--it is a matter of allocation, not spending. Should the executive branch decide all pork questions, or should Congress? The latter, as in the days of the republic, argues Ron. Of course, when it comes down to it, he votes against all pork. (Thanks to Travis Holte)

What’s Become of the Neoconservative Movement?

Douglas Feith was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for President George W. Bush until August 2005. He says he’s “one of the very few people who was actually an official in the administration who will admit to having been a neoconservative.”

The reason someone like Feith “admits” to being a neocon instead of proclaiming it can be boiled down to one word: Iraq. It wasn’t always that way. Immediately after 9/11, President Bush was looking for a new approach to fight what he saw as a new type of war.

“What the president saw was the necessity to do everything reasonable to prevent the next attack,” Feith said. “And I think that was really the radical departure from past practice regarding terrorism.”

Neoconservatism provided a framework for that radical departure. Preventing the next attack meant not just going after terrorists, but transforming those parts of the world that produce them – “draining the swamp,” as then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld put it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Neocon Group: Obama ‘Not Pro-Israel’; Netanyahu Demurs

The right-wing pro-Israel lobby group the Emergency Committee for Israel launched an ad campaign attacking President Barack Obama for his record on Israel. The ads, featured on billboards, public transport and with a web ad on the New York Times website, go after Obama’s pro-Israel bona fides, accusing him of, as the campaign’s tagline goes, being “Not Pro-Israel.” In a television spot, ECI — led by Bill Kristol, Gary Bauer and Rachel Abrams (with Noah Pollak as a mere figurehead) — shows a few clips of hardline pro-Israel hawks from both parties decrying Obama’s Israel policies, whereupon the narrator says:

Democrats. Republicans. It seems everyone agrees President Obama is not pro-Israel.

As it turns out, not everyone agrees that Obama is anti-Israel. Perhaps Netanyahu had in mind the international diplomatic cover the U.S. gives — and has pledged to continue giving — to Israel. Or perhaps it is Obama’s work within U.S. policy and international diplomacy to slow Iran’s nuclear program — a top priority for Netanyahu’s government. Maybe it was Obama’s close cooperation with Israel to reportedly develop and deploy the Stuxnet computer virus against Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, a broader part of the program that prompted Netanyahu himself to comment this May at the AIPAC summit that “our security cooperation is unprecedented.”

Israel, the Neocons and the Arab Spring

There is no doubt that many of the neocons were and are strong supporters of Israel. But there were actually always philosophical differences between important neocon thinkers like Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol, and the Netanyahu government. Above all, they differed on the desireability of democracy in the Arab world.

The neocons were all for democratic revolutions across the Arab world – believing this to the be long-term route to political stability and prosperity. The Israelis were much more sceptical, fearing that democratic governments would take a much more populist (or maybe just popular) line on Israel – and endangering key regional relationships with Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Neocon Pundit Says U.S. Hasn’t Given Israel What It Wants: ‘Action On Iran’

Neoconservative Hudson Institute pundit Lee Smith seems very upset with the Obama administration. Reacting to retired Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ comments, reported by Jeffrey Goldberg, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an ungrateful ally, Smith wrote in the Weekly Standard that the Obama administration is to blame for Israel’s growing isolation. Smith, reading deep into the Pentagon’s motives, explains:

Gates is upset because, while the White House has provided the Israelis with “access to top-quality weapons, assistance developing missile-defense systems, high-level intelligence sharing,” the administration hasn’t gotten what it really wants in exchange—movement on the peace process, according to Goldberg. Of course, the Israelis haven’t gotten what they really want either—action on Iran—and the Pentagon’s munificence is partly intended to deter the Israelis from taking matters into their own hands.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Islamist Neocons?

The Quilliamites are, in short, the Islamist equivalent of neoconservatives – those migrants into the conservative movement from the left who later went on to become the loudest and most bloodthirsty advocates of an all-out war against the Soviet Union.

That the Quilliamite strategy has its uses as an instrument of Western foreign policy is underscored by the “success” of the Libyan operation, which funneled money, arms, and most importantly militarily experienced Islamist cadre into Libya to commandeer the rebel movement. The assassination of the former rebel commander-in-chief, and, in effect, an Islamist coup d’etat inside the rebel camp, was the logical outcome of this policy.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Tea Party is the New Neocon

So I guess that makes it neo-neocon.

The Washington Times reports on a poll released by Rasmussen on the relative popularity and unpopularity of various political labels.

• 38 percent of likely U.S. voters “consider it a positive” when a political candidate is described as “conservative,” 27 percent say it’s a negative.

• 37 percent say “moderate” is a positive label, 13 percent say it’s a negative.

• 32 percent say “tea party” is a positive label.

• 56 percent of Republican voters agree.

• 38 percent of voters overall say the tea party label is a negative.

• 70 percent of Democrats agree.

• 31 percent of voters overall say “progressive” is a positive label, 26 percent say its negative.

• 21 percent say “liberal” is a positive label, 38 percent say it’s a negative.

Sharia Hysteria: Neo-con Hatemongers Peddle Disinformation

There’s nothing “grassroots” about the growing national campaign—some would call it “hysteria”—focusing on the supposed threat of Islamic sharia taking hold in America.

Sharia refers to a code of conduct or laws that have been derived from the Muslim holy book, the Koran, and from the teachings and example of Mohammed. Although some initially condemned AMERICAN FREE PRESS for suggesting that pro-Israeli ideologues have been the primary force behind the constant chatter about “the Muslims” and sharia, no less than The New York Times revealed in a detailed and lengthy story beginning on its front page on July 31 that, in fact, a small, well-financed clique of Israeli lobby intriguers are the source of the agitation. The Times’ revelations

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Neocon Blogger Cherry Picks Pew Report Data To Dismiss Islamophobia

Neoconservative blogger Ed Lasky takes issue with the Center For American Progress’s new report — “Fear, Inc.” — documenting the Islamophobia industry in America. He cites a Reuters write-up of a Pew poll surveying American Muslims that says, among other things, “that most Muslims felt ordinary Americans were friendly or neutral toward them.” This prompts Lasky to ask:

If Muslim Americans felt discrimination were rampant, would they express contentment and happiness with living in America? Would they be confident about the future of America and their own personal futures? Would they feel that most Americans are friendly or neutral towards them. [sic.]

Where is the Islamophobia that supposedly is proliferating across America? The charge is merely meant to line the pockets of activist groups and chill any criticism of Muslim actions, however insensitive (the 9/11 Mosque) or questionable (the adoption of aspects of Sharia law) they may be perceived to be by some Americans.