Another Slice of Cake, Anyone?

The neocon warmongerer's club is tough, hawkish and smart. Members are long-lived survivors, and they don't take any crap, whether from dissenters within the party, citizens who just don't know any better than to keep their traps shut, the media who better get in line or else, and small countries who have something we need at the moment.

They have their own military, as long as no one refuses, calls the New York Times, becomes a conscientious objector or resigns their commissions. They have their own White House, as long as Congress and the people stay frightened of their self-righteous rages and lively verbal assaults.

But with all this outer toughness, I feel it is only fair to expose the softer side of the neocon jungle. I mean, who can fault their benevolent good wishes for all mankind, to be free, to be democratic, be converted to evangelical Christianity, and get good minimum-wage paying jobs working for extraordinarily well-connected American corporations?

We should all be as lucky as the Iraqis! Come on, Rumsfeld is right – freedom is untidy!

And so far, the neocons do seem to be enjoying the mess they have made. More cake, anyone? Yes, of course we didn't bring enough troops to Iraq to secure the innocent Iraqi civilians we came here to liberate. Oh, liberation, such a lovely word, just rolls off the tongue …and dear, what did you put in these meringues? They simply melt in your mouth!

You know, isn't it awful about those people, what they did to their own museums and libraries and archives… but how could we have prevented something like that? I mean, it wasn't like we'd been planning this war for the last several years, and pre-emptive doesn't mean we are all-knowing gods! Mmmm, these meatballs are delish! Dick, did you bring these? You better lock up your cook, because Honey, I'm going to steal him away!

Pre-emptive war for oil control, budget increases and Israeli security wasn't all it was, you know. Dear old Donald had a point to make about a few things. I mean he always had a thing about senior military officers just trying to slow him down – remember back under Jerry Ford? Rummy didn't have a prayer, what with him being so young and ambitious, but now, he stuck it to the Army didn't he? He did it light and lean, fast and mean. Seriously, what are a few old artifacts and books and hospitals, the Iraqis should have preserved that stuff themselves if they wanted it. If they didn't, that was their choice. It's not our fault!

Oh look! Richard's here! And Paul – hey, you boys are looking good! Rested and ready for another round, if you know what I mean, huh? Richard – did you bring one of your soufflés? I'll simply kill you if you didn't! Darling, what's next? Oh, don't worry your pretty head about some silly Palestinian state – that is not going to happen in our lifetimes!

George! You're here! All's right with this party!

These people have led us smiling and winking to an unnecessary war, alienated old friends at home and abroad, destroyed tens of thousands of lives and livelihoods with high tech weapons and the messy aftermath in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and created for the United States of America one of the most expensive and despised governments on the planet – but these people have a caring side too.

They care about staying in power, they care about keeping Israel's militaristic socialism propped up without reforms for a few more years, they care about stock options and ensuring guaranteed high-yield government income. Any investment counselor will advise that the older you are, the less risk you should take with your portfolio, hence cost-plus for Halliburton, Bechtel, and the rest of the team. And you know something – they care overwhelmingly, as some people are apt to do, about what other people think of them! I think Richard Perle's amazing little Defense Policy Board Chair resignation letter proves this point perfectly.

Now, George W. Bush doesn't listen to or care what people think, he doesn't watch much TV or read the papers. Rove and Cheney keep that boy straight. But the rest of them unleash their mouthpieces – Kristol and Krauthammer, Frum and Goldberg, Schlesinger and Schultz, if you can wade through it all – at the first sign of criticism.

The American Conservative – a slim little voice in the wilderness – scared the stuffing out of these straw men. The emergent compellingly logical voice of both the left and the right frightens them back into the parlor for another glass of wine as they consult.

The neo-conservative philosophy is hateful to humanity, anti-American, statist and anti-free trade. Oh, I forgot – now that we control the oil contracts, NOW we want Iraq sanctions lifted, and immediately? Even though the sanction rules we were supposedly enforcing require a final UN inspector's report of good health? No time, no time! There's money to be made! How contemptuous of the free market, and yesterday's reason for the invasion of Iraq!

The politically powerful people who hold this philosophy are actually very vulnerable. They fear exposure of their false god: a neo-Genghis Khan, or Universal Ruler, wearing a cowboy hat, legs wrapped around a MOAB. They fear moral and ethical challenges, they fear losing the party and the next election. Their souls are hollow – having only read about losses of life, or home and hearth, or livelihood, of children and siblings in unnecessary wars. Like the books from the Iraqi National Archives this week, burnt to ash, crumbling to dust at a single touch, so will go the neocons, ultimately into the dustbin.

Last time someone told a seething mob outside the gates to have some more cake, the newly liberated and democratic hordes brought out the guillotine. It solved the cake problem, but that's not always the best solution, and we aren't a mob. The key to getting our country back is to listen to exactly what the neocons are saying, and respond accordingly, without fear, knowing that there is a constant clear difference between quiet, rock-solid truth and noisy mistaken error.

April 19, 2003