Neocons Blame America First

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After all, making mistakes in war is as American as apple pie, explains Robert Kagan.

We should recall that, a mere five years ago, anyone criticizing neocons risked being called an “anti-Semite.” Even addressing the question, “are the U.S. and Israel attempting to dominate the Middle East,” is anti-Semitic, the Boston Globe’s columnist Jacoby admonished me.

Well, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Kagan, recognizing the war is no longer popular (i.e., the people found out the truth), not only embraces the neocon sobriquet, but celebrates it and insists that it’s been central to the American tradition since George Washington.

What is neoconservatism, then? Kagan calls it “moralism, idealism, exceptionalism, militarism, and global ambition—as well as imprudent excesses in the exercise of all of these.”

In fact, “neocon” can’t be a dirty word any more, for the simple reason that — we’re ALL neocons now!

“So were all these people neoconservatives—Cheney and Rumsfeld, Kerry and Clinton, Harkin and Hagel? In a way, yes. They all belonged, in one way or another, to the same expansive tradition in American foreign policy that these days curiously goes by that name.”

The bottom line? for Kagan, like Gaffney, Feith, Bremer, and countless others, the message is simple: They will always blame somebody else. Kagan merely takes it a step further: he blames everybody else.

11:04 am on April 8, 2008