Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Like the end of a horror movie, the neocons keep rising from the dead

On Bush and the continuing danger of the neocons:

  1. The new excuses the Bush Administration is forced into to justify the attack on Iraq may create new dangers for the United States and the world. The attack has turned out to be based entirely on a series of lies, and involved the country in an unjust, illegal, bankrupting, immoral and counterproductive operation which has permanently damaged the reputation of the United States and adversely affected the ability of American companies to do business in many parts of the world. In order to try to get reelected, Bush needs to find a new lie to explain to the American people why he got them into this mess. Unfortunately, this involves expanding even further the doctrine of preemptive war, to include the possibility of American attack on a country that even had the capacity to build weapons of mass destruction in the future (Cheney appears to have started this latest excuse, although it's an old neocon idea, and I made fun of Bolton's expression of it last May; Bush's discussion of it from the transcript of his interview with Russert is here). Needless to say, every country has this capacity, which means that Bush has now appropriated for himself the right to attack any country for any reason that suits his fancy. This is exactly the kind of thing that international law attempted to stop after the example of Hitler in the 1930's (although, to be fair, Hitler never tried to go as far as Bush). Bush is essentially stating that international law no longer applies to the United States. The Bush bootlickers may like this raw assertion of power, but as we have recently seen in the case of the elections in Iraq - where Bush had to beg the U. N. on his hands and knees to save him from the American inability to handle the situation there - the United States still needs international help. There is going to have to be a lot of international help if the United States is to get out of its current dire financial situation.

  2. One of the most frightening things about neocons is that they can interpret any and all facts as being evidence for their theories. In this as in so many other aspects, they are similar to Marxists. You would think that the dual debacles of Afghanistan and Iraq would have cooled their jets a little, but you would be wrong. Although they are laying a little low until the next election is finished, the reality of what their policies has done has not shaken their faith in the least. Using the fact that Bush lied about Iraq to extend the doctrine of preemptive war is exactly what you would expect from them. They are essentially a cult (it has been noted that they are all related to one another, presumably unwilling to mix their blood with the blood of lesser mortals), and the principles they live by are like religious tenets. They have three basic beliefs:

    1. Government should be set up with the sole purpose of wringing as much money as possible from non-rich people so that it may be transferred to rich people (unlike old fashioned conservatives, they want government to be as large as possible so that it may extract the maximum amount of money). Their belief in class is religious, with the Übermenschen rich being entitled to all the wealth because they are the only true human beings, the non-rich being another species of animal entirely.

    2. War is inherently a good thing, as it keeps the non-rich preoccupied while they are being fleeced, enriches the rich on the basis of the war profiteering we see from companies like Halliburton (which doesn't bother them in the least), and creates a manly martial culture which is good in and of itself (in this love of uniforms - only on other people mind you! - and violence they are identical to most fascists).

    3. The only important foreign policy goal for America is the creation of the State of Greater Israel over all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates, and everything else they say and do is a smoke screen to hide this one essential goal (in case the bias isn't clear, Perle, Wolfowitz and Feith have all had their hands caught in the cookie jar).

    All this is so ridiculous it almost sounds like a parody, but it is clearly what they believe. They are not shy about it, and are in fact so proud of their beliefs that they make no effort to hide them.

  3. A major reason for the extension of the doctrine of preemptive war is that the neocons had painted themselves into a corner. In order to save their bacon on the lies told to serve as the rationale for the war, they had to blame the whole problem on faulty intelligence. The problem with this excuse is that it undermines the basis for preemptive war, for how can you justify a preemptive war if you can't be sure there is an imminent threat? Even David Kay said:

    "If you cannot rely on good, accurate intelligence that is credible to the American people and to others abroad, you certainly can't have a policy of preemption."

    By using the concept of capacity to at some point build weapons of mass destruction, the neocons avoid the logical problems created by the faulty intelligence excuse. The cost is that they throw international law and good common sense out the window.

  4. Part of the new propaganda is for Bush to run for reelection as the 'war president'. I can understand this in the case of a defensive war, or a necessary war, but how does he manage it in the case of a completely optional war waged for the three neocon tenets mentioned above? The 'war on terror' was just the backdrop used by the neocons to have a war they were planning from the moment they got into power (a fact which Paul O'Neill has told us), with 9-11 their 'Pearl Harbor'. Bush can call the attack on Iraq a 'war of necessity' (see transcript here) as much as he wants (an obvious Republican talking point), but it clearly wasn't either necessary or desirable.

  5. The neocons have created a set of principles, a set of policies based on these principles, and a mythology of who they are to tie it all together. The mythology is that they are liberals who have been mugged by reality, but with a foreign policy which is imbued with the spirit of morality. People like Wolfowitz actually seem to believe that they are attempting to install modern liberal democracy in the Middle East. In fact, their Manichaean view of the world has it that they are fighting actual evil, and they portray their policies as a form of theology. Scott Ritter calls it the 'Theocracy of Evil', the idea that their policies are justified because they are literally involved in the fight of good versus evil. Saddam was attacked not because of any particular facts, but because he was an evil man, as part of a crusade (as an aside, I thought it was funny that Americans were outraged that the Iraqi freedom fighters shot down an American medical helicopter, clearly marked with crosses, when the Iraqis would see crosses in quite another light). All of this mythology is another lie. There has been much talk of how they followed Leo Strauss or Albert Wohlstetter, and based their thinking on philosophical principles. In fact, their real spiritual father is Henry Kissinger. The point of all the propaganda is to hide the fact that they advocate the stark realpolitik of exerting what they perceive as American dominance in the world in order to achieve the goals of enriching rich people and creating Greater Israel. There is no morality in it whatsoever.

  6. A clever reviewer has considered the new tome by Richard Perle and David Frum, which sets out the extreme neocon vision for America and its victims, together with a book on Norwegian death metal neo-nazi rock musicians, who seem to spend a lot of their time worshiping Satan and killing each other with axes. Predictably, the Norwegians come across in comparison as being the sane ones. I don't know what to make of Perle. He seems to be simultaneously involved in just about every American foreign policy outrage and every American big corporate corruption outrage, and he has made conflict of interest into the new xtreme sport. It is incredible that one man has the stamina to be that evil, and I can't find any rational explanation for him. The only thing I can come up with is that he is actually Satan himself (and, thus, to tie everything together, may be the deity of the Norwegian death metal musicians!). He looks exactly as I'd picture Satan would look, lives where Satan would live (the South of France), and certainly acts like the Devil. His amanuensis, David Frum, is a different and much sadder case. Frum is said to be a nice guy, and not dumb, so why isn't he a liberal? There is a story to this. Frum is the son of a rich Toronto land developer and his wife, the late Barbara Frum, who was a beloved Canadian broadcaster, most famous for her involvement in the long-running Canadian radio program 'As It Happens'. She was also very liberal in her beliefs, and as part of that liberalism did what was fashionable amongst Canadian liberals at the time, adopted a native child. Unfortunately, it appears that this child may have suffered from something akin to fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes severe behavioral problems (the former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien, also adopted a native child, with even worse results). Thus was the idyllic childhood of little David Frum shattered by what he perceived as liberalism. Of course, if he'd thought about it harder, he would have seen that the real problem of fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by social problems imposed on Indians by conservative policies, but such deep analysis is presumably beyond the ken of little boys. Frum had his childhood ruined by what he perceived as liberalism, and this perception has turned him into a twisted neocon, now playing Igor to Perle's Dr. Frankenstein. Obviously, life is way too short for me to read the book, but it appears they have created a monster. To change monster metaphors a little, there is no inconvenient fact that will stop these people, and we'll have to put up with this nonsense until someone drives a silver stake through the heart of neoconservatism (or the Americans wake up and unseat Bush).