My Fair Neocon

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~ As sung by the stoic readership of Commentary Magazine

After reading a Krauthammer column only a few weeks ago, I thought this readership had suffered enough. Charles Krauthammer — once a Pulitzer prize-worthy columnist who today sings soprano with the war-loving armchair generals and other chickenhawks at Commentary, the American Enterprise Institute and most of the United States Congress — punished his fans with a not-very pretty polemic against General Brent Scowcroft.

Scowcroft’s crime, beyond being a genuine general instead of an armchair pretender, was to suggest that the president and Congress should put America first, and pursue a foreign policy of reason and rationality. No enemy of the establishment or of the Bush family, Scowcroft gently indicated that a realistic and honorable approach might be contrary to the neoconservative vision of an American empire pursuing foreign policies based on fiction and fantasy.

Krauthammer sputters, spits and spews, coming up with the nasty accusation that Scowcroft is a heartless conservative. Chris Moore evaluates Krauthammer in a most humanitarian way, something I cannot promise in my take on the latest piece from Stormin’ Norm Podhoretz.

You have to hand it to the neoconservative crowd. When the going gets tough, the lies get going.

Poddy writes in December’s issue of Commentary Magazine on a subject he knows well. Lies, damn lies, and more damn lies about Iraq. Poddy’s article has been helpfully released this month online, in part to ensure that George W. Bush won’t go wobbly on his own talking points. Podhoretz is verbose, sometimes rambling and often incoherent. But after a diligent and academic review, I believe I understand his message.

His message is this: The real liars are not the President, the Vice President, or Scooter Libby (innocent until proven guilty), but another set of culprits altogether.

According to Podhoretz, the only people lying about Iraq are the anti-war lefties, the foreign countries that opposed the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, their intelligence agencies, the people in Iraq, the people in the Middle East, the people in Europe, the governments of Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, China, other Asian countries, people in South and Central America, their governments, their intelligence agencies, key members of the U.S. government, the U.S. intelligence agencies, as well as dissenting CIA professionals, dissenting State Department professionals, dissenting Bush administration professionals, dissenting Defense Department professionals, Cindy Sheehan, peace activists, military family support groups, environmental groups, humanitarian groups in the U.S., humanitarian groups not in the U.S., the majority of Americans who have in the past and now question the president on the war in Iraq, the media who reports the polling information on the majority of Americans who have in the past and now question the President on the war in Iraq, the polling organizations who collect the data on the majority of Americans who have in the past and now question the President on the war in Iraq, the soldiers and Marines in Iraq, and well, you get the picture.

I mean the pictures, plural. They lie too, according to the eminent and one assumes, highly knowledgeable and politically connected Podhoretz.

The whole crazy world is lying. One wonders how anyone associated with the neoconservative miasma could even recognize a lie, given that they for so long have existed submerged and slurping in a political-phantasmagorical soup of fresh-picked cherries floating scum-like on the primordial sludge produced by Chalabi and Feith and Shulsky and Cheney’s national security posse.

To his credit, poor Professor Higgins eventually succeeded in his quest to teach proper grammar to at least one street urchin. Podhoretz seems to vaguely sense the futility of his own mission to teach the world the difference between the truth and a lie, if the whining and unsure tone of his latest uttering is to be believed. The neoconservative response to truth — facts of the past (much of which is well-documented in a new encyclopaedic set) and facts of the present as documented by American soldiers and Marines in testimony, in pictures and in blogs and elsewhere — is to shiver and shake, flutter and fabricate.

Even former war supporters have placed truth above lies, as reporter George Packer’s new analytical documentary, Assassins at the Gate, explains.

But plodding Poddy and his shrinking company of neoconservative warriors stay up all night. They labor to overcome reality with rehashed and empty fluff, wrapped in ad hominem ad nauseum. They struggle to remember which earlier lies were more widely believed and accepted; which Judith Miller report, fathered by the sweet whispers of Libby and Chalabi and mothered by our high-strung and morally vacant Congress, was more effective.

Safe harbor for neoconservatives in Washington and elsewhere is going to be hard to find. They plotted and with the help of the Congress, executed an ill-conceived war, dreaming of chocolate candy tossed by beaming children and beautiful women. They dreamed of spontaneous and pro-American democracy in an oil rich country occupying the sweet spot of the Middle East. They dreamed such lovely dreams.

It was a struggle, but I finished reading "Who is Lying About Iraq." I’ve tried to be helpful to those who have shared or will someday share with me that literary trial, that revelation of senility and illogic, that sad painful howl of a dog that can no longer hunt. From one writer to another, I can only say, "Take the blue pill, Poddy, and go back to sleep."

Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among other things, writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.

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