In order to regain its status as the respected leader of the world’s nations, America must eradicate the neoconservative movement from its body politic, and the only ’08 presidential candidates committed to that goal appear to be Democrat Dennis Kucinich and Republican Ron Paul. If you think the neoconservatives packed up shop subsequent to their Mesopotamia mistake, think again. The neocons not only didn’t learn anything from Iraq, they’re betting large that nobody else did either–and that’s a bet they stand a good chance of winning.
As Kucinich said in April, when he first introduced Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, “…this vice president, who was a driving force for taking the United States into a war against Iraq under false pretenses, is once again rattling the sabers of war against Iran with the same intent to drive America into another war, again based on false pretenses.”
And as Paul states in the foreign policy section of his campaign web site:
The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information. The area is more dangerous now than when we entered it. We destroyed a regime hated by our direct enemies, the jihadists, and created thousands of new recruits for them. This war has cost more than 3,000 American lives, thousands of seriously wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars. We must have new leadership in the White House to ensure this never happens again.
The top tier candidates from both parties talk of new approaches to the Iraq problem, but none of them–with the possible exception of Barack Obama–offer anything realistic that’s substantively different from “stay the course.” And though Kucinich and Paul touch on the essential task that lies ahead in setting the course of U.S. foreign policy, the mainstream information gatekeepers continue to treat them like pipsqueaks.
Is it possible that, under the surface, all of America’s national profile politicians have crawled into the neocons’ pockets?
Once and Future King Makers
The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) established itself in June of 1997, when it established four major goals for its vision of American foreign policy:
* we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
- we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
- we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
- we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
With the exception of significantly increasing America’s defense spending, the neocons’ dreams of U.S. global dominance have dashed themselves against the shoals of reality. Today, though we spend more than the rest of the world combined on defense, friends and enemies alike shun us. We have to kiss up to countries like Turkey and Pakistan while the greatest threats to our national security are backwater outfits like Iran and North Korea, all states whose economies and defense budgets are less than five percent of ours and none of whom would amount to a pimple on our posterior if we hadn’t let the neocons persuade us to stick said posterior into the crack its in now. Moreover, our security, prosperity and principles are more in peril than they have been since the beginning of World War II, and as recent events in Pakistan illustrate, our efforts to promote political freedom abroad have been dismal failures.
Make no mistake; as the neocons’ paper trail starkly reveals, an American invasion of Iraq for the purpose of creating a larger military footprint in the Middle East with which to put a chokehold (if you will) on the flow of oil from the region was the neocons’ primary objective. While Saddam Hussein provided the “immediate justification” for sending U.S. forces to capture the strategic center of the Gulf region, he was really just a convenient excuse to launch Plan A, and the 9/11 attacks were the “new Pearl Harbor” catalyst they needed.
If America were still a true republic, the neocons would have been ridden out of town two years ago at the latest; they don’t have enough tar, feathers or rails in Washington D.C. to give those characters the kind of send off they deserve. But they’re still around and reeking havoc. Dick Cheney still lurks in undisclosed locations in between appearances at GOP fundraising and warmongering functions. Cheney side buoys like David Addington continue to infest the White House. Backyard variety chicken hawks such as John Bolton, Fred Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Newt Gingrich hang out in the Scholars and Fellows lounge of the influential neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.
To ensure there’s a next generation of Yankee imperialists, an impressive array of neoconservatives teach at some of our most prestigious universities. Doug Feith, former chief of the infamous Office of Special Plans, lectures at Columbia University. John Yoo, godfather of the plenary (absolute) executive powers theory, is a professor of law at University of California, Berkley. PNAC founder and editor of The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol is on the faculty at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Mackubin Thomas Owens, co-author of the PNAC manifesto Rebuilding America’s Defenses is an Associate Dean of Academics at the U.S. Naval War College. Condoleeza Rice, perhaps the most feckless luminary in the neo-constellation, wants to go back to Stanford and teach political science, despite concerted efforts by the student body and faculty to make it clear she’s as welcome as a case of herpes.
And of course, to ensure a constant stream of Rovewellian brainwash reaches the hoi polloi, there will always be right-wing talk radio and Fox News.
So it’s important that bottom rung Ron Paul was able to raise $4.2 million in a recent one-day internet fund raising campaign. It tells GOP leadership types that they may lose their rank and file if they don’t show the neocons the door.
It’s even more important that Dennis Kucinich is making Herculean efforts to hold Dick Cheney’s feet to the inferno. If we let Cheney skate away without so much as slap on the wrist, we’ll send a clear signal to thousands of young Lord Vader wannabes that they can pull whatever Machiavellian shenanigans they want and get away with them.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword, ePluribus and Military.com Jeff’s novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books, ISBN: 9781601640192) will be available March 1, 2008.