Neocons on the Outs?
Though [they] have seen [their] head[s] (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here's no great matter;
[They] have seen the moment of [their] greatness flicker,
And [they] have seen the eternal Footman hold [their] coat, and snicker,
And in short, [they are] afraid.
~ The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, the Neocon version
With apologies to T.S. Eliot
The neo-cons have been outed! They are not conservatives, with faith in the American Constitution — they are old-European radical ideologues who believe in a neo-American empire maintained by our military, with a little help from Halliburton and Bechtel. They are the spawn of FDR, their shallow conception of history melded with unbounded personal egotism and unshakable faith in government as God, the President and his friends role-playing the Godhead. They are Wilsonian in their fervor and righteousness, and in their ability to aggressively deceive whole nations at will for a greater cause — which of course brings us back to Strauss.
Thank goodness they have been outed. Of course, outings are not always pleasant for the outees. And their responses have been entirely predictable. Some of them, the Frums and the Goldbergs, have denied that they are neocons, and more vociferously denied even that neocons exist at all. I promote empire, I believe in a lower soldier class to do the domestic and global will of the philosopher-kings, I regard constitutional limitation of government power as passé, and I treat the Bill of Rights contemptuously because I am, like you, a conservative.
Obviously, that argument is both strained and ludicrous, not to mention false, and it doesn't work. Young neocons, when you are older you may learn that when deep in a ditch, the first thing to do is stop digging.
Other neocons have reacted by pressing on with their political agendas, as if nothing has been exposed. Wolfowitz and Perle, Woolsey and Kristol and Krauthammer, the cadres of un-elected political appointees and their media acolytes, move forward with the Iraq agenda, the Iran agenda, the Syria agenda, the Jordan agenda, ad nauseum. Undeterred by obstacles like the law, the truth, Colin Powell, lack of WMD or any other rationale for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, catastrophe in Afghanistan, undeterred by the growing stream of American soldiers' lives and futures sacrificed for their overseas agenda, undeterred by the rising chorus of American demands to know what is going on across the Potomac. Undeterred, life for these outed neocons goes on as before.
These neocons, upon outing, blandly gaze up for a moment, oblivious, and return again to their group and their mission. Unlike the younger and less confident neocons, who perhaps had only dabbled in neoconservativism out of curiosity, in order to be accepted, to have a social life or as an interesting diversion, these middle aged neocons wear the gray flannel suits of their order. Past questioning, they march undeterred in their universe, empowered by the Group, empowered by "What They Know," leaving behind them a wreck of a picnic — chaos for the rest of the world that to the ant, appears as a perfectly designed buffet.
We have seen them in action — chicken hawks who conveniently missed out on military service, who safely skipped the wars of their generations, and yet now embrace, with all the passionless passion of J. Alfred Prufrock, a flamboyant radical war-loving mystique. Dressed up intellectuals of overwhelming, almost frightening, mediocrity, we have the Village People of Washington politics.
A third group of neocons respond in yet another way to outings. When accused of lying about who they are and what they want, when accused of lying to their closest friends and behaving badly, when simply accused of being unrepentant and disgraceful liars — this group responds belligerently and rudely, striking out. These neocons don't appreciate other people outing them, they can out themselves without any help, thank you very much. This group raises its collective fist as if to say "Neocon and Proud!" If you don't like it, not only are you "uninformed" and "unhelpful," you are probably part of the problem. This group demands not only acceptance, but conformity and promotion of their political lifestyle. And if they have to step on thousands and thousands, even millions of innocent people to achieve their aims, so be it.
Unlike other minorities who live peaceably and are rightfully and legally protected, American neocons are a minority who offer only disruption and danger, to the nation and to our Constitutional foundations. No less than in the case of burglars and rapists, Americans deserve to be protected from this minority.
We will eventually get our constitution back. But if the neocons remain in their current un-elected and appointed offices, creating policy unconstrained by Congress and harmful to Americans and others, we will regain our Constitution only at the price of a bloody and expensive collapse of a wrong-headed American empire and a total default on the promises of the Bill of Rights.
George W. Bush asked his people to consider resigning now, a year before the onset of the election season, instead of exiting closer to elections and causing impolite gossip as this very important presidential race plays out. The neocons have been outed, but the process is not yet complete. Dubya and Karl need to lose the whole aging and pedestrian neocon cadre now, or else we can bid them all a happy farewell in less than twenty months.
Come to think of it, that's what I call a win-win situation! Peaches for everyone!
May 29, 2003
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a recently retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley.
Copyright © 2003 LewRockwell.com