Readers in numbers beyond my ability to reply individually have challenged me whether President Bush’s inaugural speech is a statement of his intentions or merely a celebration of himself and American democracy. Surely Bush doesn’t believe America has the power to remake the world in its own image other than by being an example for others to follow?
The answer is that it doesn’t matter whether Bush believes, or even understands, what he said. The neoconservatives believe it, and they control the Bush administration.
On the heels of Bush’s speech, neocon Robert Kagan used his column in the Washington Post to set Bush’s inaugural speech in stone as US foreign policy. Kagan wrote: "The goal of American foreign policy is now to spread democracy, for its own sake, for reasons that transcend specific threats. In short, Bush has unmoored his foreign policy from the war on terrorism."
This is precisely the goal of the neocons. It is why the neocons orchestrated "intelligence" and propaganda in order to bring about the invasion of Iraq, a country whose secular ruler suppressed terrorism. The neocons’ writings clearly state their goal and long predate the September 11 attacks on the US. Their agenda is independent of "the war on terror." Many of those who signed the neocon strategy documents hold presidential appointments in the Bush administration and are the administration’s most powerful members.
If Bush were in control or had a brain, he would have shut Cheney up and fired all the neocons who produced the Iraqi disaster. Instead, despite the Iraqi mess, the Bush administration is publicly threatening to attack Iran, a country that has committed no terrorist or aggressive act toward the US. The Pentagon has been ordered to prepare plans. Apparently, the US has already inserted Special Forces into Iran to gather intelligence.
The neoconservatives are Jacobins. The neocons are the greatest threat America has ever faced, and they have the reins of power. Americans need to wake up to this fact and stop indulging their macho "kick their Muslim butts" fantasies and their "end times" Rapture fantasies.
The Bush administration is not establishing any democracies. It is starting a war that will last a generation. That is the neocon plan. They have put their intentions in writing just as Hitler did. It is no protection that their plan is detached from reality. Robespierre was detached from reality, and that did not stop him. So were Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. People with power in their hands who are detached from reality are the most dangerous people of all. The delusional quality of their rantings disarms people from taking them seriously: "Oh, they couldn’t mean that." But they do.
Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.