Neocon Resurrections

From the "they have always been wrong about everything" files, Lawrence Korb writes that "Team B" should be benched. No kidding.

His piece in the week-end's LA Times very succinctly tells you everything you need to know about the failed track record of the neocons. Truly, they have always been wrong about everything and most often they are spectacularly wrong.

He brings up one specific little bit of history that I've written about before, as have others, but it bears repeating because of what is now happening in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 1981, after the publication of Clare Sterling's book, "The Terror Network," which argued that global terrorists were actually pawns of the Soviets, leading hard-liners asked the CIA to look into the relationship between Soviets and terrorist organizations. The agency concluded that although there was evidence that the Soviets had assisted groups such as the Palestine Liberation Organization with weapons and training, there was no evidence that the Soviets encouraged or approved these groups' terrorist acts. However, hard-liners like Secretary of State Alexander Haig, CIA Chief William Casey and Policy Planning Director Wolfowitz rejected the draft as a naive, exculpatory brief and had the draft retooled to assert that the Soviets were heavily involved in supporting "revolutionary violence worldwide."

This book was the beginning, middle and end of the neocons understanding of terrorism. It fit in perfectly with their black and white worldview of good and evil nation states. From that point on they could not see "terrorism" as anything but a weapon in the hands of totalitarian dictators.

This explains their absurd and stubborn belief that 9/11 simply had to have been perpetrated by Saddam and their ongoing certainty that "rogue" states remain a greater threat than islamic radicalism joining forces with a weakened failed state. As always, they simply refuse to give up their bedrock belief system in light of the evidence right before their eyes.

It's true that they have been discredited recently, but I would not start writing the epitaph just yet. Their worldview is bipartisanly seductive, placing the US at the center of righteous democratic progress against the tyrant. And, for all its starry-eyed idealism it requires no interference in unpleasant and unheroic matters like Sudan. Likewise, Iraq and Afghanistan can be seen in their minds as successes --- the terrible rogue state was vanquished and the totalitarian dictator was punished. Failed states aren't a threat.

Except, of course, they are. And they are a very messy and dangerous problem. We really should not be in the business of creating even more of them, but it's looking more and more as if that's exactly what we've done. And in the age of islamic radicalism that was a stupid, stupid thing to do.

Neoconservatism is like a vampire cult. It is very difficult to kill. Being discredited means nothing to them. It's happened time and time again and yet they keep coming back. They must have a stake drawn through the heart of their failed world view and I don't know what it will take to make that happen. Indeed, they are re-forming as we speak into the Committee For The Present Danger Redux.

James Woolsey, a former CIA director, is chairman of the group, which he says in its third incarnation aims to combat what he calls "a totalitarian movement masquerading as a religion."


The past struggle against communism differed in some ways from the current war against Islamist terrorism. But America's freedom and security, which each has aimed to undermine, are exactly the same.

Don't throw away your garlic just yet. They are still out there.