It is comical — in the second-time-as-farce way, not the ha-ha way — that the anniversary of 9/11 has coincided with a sudden revival of neoconservative thought. The neocons never really went away or even questioned their analysis. (The conflation of uncertainty with weakness is itself a defining tenant of neoconservatism.) The terrifying emergence of ISIS and genuine questions about the Obama administration’s lurching response has created a space for the Republican Party, after flirting with noninterventionism, to re-embrace its Bush-era ultrahawkery.
Signs of the neocon revival include the party shedding whatever lingering inhibitions it had about associating itself openly with Dick Cheney, who delivered a deliriously militant speech at the American Enterprise Institute, addressed the House Republican conference (and received a “rapturous reception”), and was celebrated in a Wall Street Journaleditorial (headline: “Dick Cheney Is Still Right”). They also include the spreading use of conservative responses to ISIS that eerily echo its impulsive response to the attacks of 13 years ago.