Today we face an escalation of the war in Afghanistan with no assurance of the outcome in Iraq. Are we faced with a cycle of intervention as conditions in each country get better or worsen?
How did we get where we are?
Quite often on DemWit, the terms “neoconservatives” or “neocons” appear. Many who find their way to this blog might not fully understand the terms and how they relate to U.S. foreign policy. So, here’s the backstory:
The neocons, in all their brilliance, decided when the Cold War ended that this country could use its military might to sweep through the Middle East, topppling tyrants and establishing democracies. They envisioned a "Pax Americana."
This would have the spillover benefits of securing Israel and our oil supply.
Iraq, Iran and Syria were in their sights. But, merely establishing democracies wouldn’t sell, so they instilled fear with phrases like “weapons of mass destruction” and “a smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
Among neoconservative white papers are titles such as “Crises Can Be Opportunities.” One was a 90-page plan published in 2000 and titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” Quoting from the plan: “The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor.”
Conveniently, there was a 9/11. The crisis brought public support. Now, look where all their grandiose plans have gotten us. Cheney is out in force, defending torture, because he cannot accept the fact that he and his neocon cronies were wrong.
I am convinced if Cheney was right or really has a conviction that he was right, he wouldn’t have to tell so many lies
Many who became known as “neoconservatitves” were left over from the administration of George H. W. Bush, but he and Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to both Bush I and President Gerald Ford, soon realized these persons, including Cheney, had "changed."
(Scowcroft himself was wrong about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction,” but he was so dead-on about the consequences of invading Iraq that I include a link to his August 2002 predictions below. It’s quite a study to go through his op-ed piece and check off how many came true!)
Dubya put Cheney in charge of the vice presidential selection process, and we know how that turned out. A group headed by Karl Rove went down to Texas to give the president-elect a crash course in foreign policy a la neoconservatism. (Oh, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea, Dubya, to put Rummy at the Pentagon.) It all fell into place so neatly.
And incidentally, once the invasion of Iraq began, Cheney’s former company Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (aka KBR), reaped the benefits of no-bid government contracts - big time.
Most of the original neocons have been marginalized with the exception of a few who publish right-wing magazines and, of course, Cheney, who still merits a microphone. Many who were in power and always in front of TV cameras have settled into right-wing think tanks where they can continue to hold intellectual circle jerks.
Al Qaeda’s still out there. Kind of like encountering a rat in the woods and screaming in terror while overlooking the grizzly bear named North Korea standing behind it.
But, our military is a little tied up right now.
Who brought us along the road to where we are? An inattentive public and media who fell short of doing their job.
“Don't Attack Saddam: It Would Undermine Our Antiterror Efforts,” Brent Scowcroft, Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2002: LINK
A few neocons you’ll recognize: LINK
“Neocons 101,” Christian Science Monitor: LINK
“Buying the War,” Bill Moyers, PBS: LINK
“Cheney's speech ignored some inconvenient truths,” Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers, May 21, 2009: LINK