Here Come the Progressives! Watch out!

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Well, well, well — it looks like our war-birds over at the American Enterprise Institute are getting kicked out of their very well-feathered nest, as Jacob Heilbrunn, author of a fascinating book on the neoconservatives, reports:

"The neocon world has been rocked by recent events at AEI. Numerous neocons told me that a vicious purge is being carried out at AEI, spearheaded by vice-president for foreign and defense policy studies, Danielle Pletka. There can be no doubting that change is afoot at AEI. Recently, Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht have departed AEI. Joshua Muravchik is on the way out as well. Other scholars face possible eviction."

It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving bunch. Although Heilbrunn avers that Muravchik is one of the more "reasonable" neocons, in my book he’s one of the worst. Here, after all, is someone who openly argues that we must start bombing Iran immediately if not sooner, and defends the tragic history of our invasion of Iraq — the lies, the pointless deaths, the horrific blowback. In an article published in Commentary, he accused anyone who so much as whispered the word "neocon" of spreading "conspiracy theories," and, of course, anti-Semitism. Ledeen is an outright loon, whose "faster, please" jeremiads — published even as the grandiose schemes of the neocons come crashing down on our heads — have only underscored how utterly clueless he’s always been. As for Gerecht, he’s typical of these legends in their own minds, with his ex-spook persona of world-weary intelligence "expert" and air of smug certainty while mouthing the worst whoppers as undisputed fact. He was even invited by the Cato Institute to palaver on one of their little-read Web sites, giving his pro-war, let’s-invade-everyone spiel for the delectation of libertarians — as if this jerk didn’t have endless platforms from which to spread his line of guff!

It looks like Muravchik & Co. will retreat to the safety of the Hudson Institute, where Scooter Libby has gone to lick his wounds and write his memoirs. The Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies, whose made-in-Israel stamp was detected in an investigative report published in The American Conservative, has already taken in Gerecht, and others will certainly jump into this particular lifeboat. Whatever their fate as individuals, however, the neocons’ brand of armed fanaticism will wind up in the same historical dustbin occupied by their intellectual progenitors and rivals, the Marxist-Leninists.

So, can we say, with absolute certitude — and unabashed joy — that the neocons are over, and the War Party is through?

Not by a long shot.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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