In Case Any of You Conservatives Have Forgotten Why We Invaded Iraq...

Discussion in 'Politics' started by KenH, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    "Neo-conservatism has been around for decades and, strangely, has connections to past generations as far back as Machiavelli. Modern-day neo-conservatism was introduced to us in the 1960s. It entails both a detailed strategy as well as a philosophy of government. The ideas of Teddy Roosevelt, and certainly Woodrow Wilson, were quite similar to many of the views of present-day neocons. Neocon spokesman Max Boot brags that what he advocates is “hard Wilsonianism.” In many ways, there’s nothing “neo” about their views, and certainly nothing conservative. Yet they have been able to co-op the conservative movement by advertising themselves as a new or modern form of conservatism.

    More recently, the modern-day neocons have come from the far left, a group historically identified as former Trotskyists. Liberal Christopher Hitchins, has recently officially joined the neocons, and it has been reported that he has already been to the White House as an ad hoc consultant. Many neocons now in positions of influence in Washington can trace their status back to Professor Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago. One of Strauss’ books was Thoughts on Machiavelli. This book was not a condemnation of Machiavelli’s philosophy. Paul Wolfowitz actually got his PhD under Strauss. Others closely associated with these views are Richard Perle, Eliot Abrams, Robert Kagan and William Kristol. All are key players in designing our new strategy of preemptive war. Others include: Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute; former CIA Director James Woolsey; Bill Bennett of Book of Virtues fame; Frank Gaffney; Dick Cheney; and Donald Rumsfeld. There are just too many to mention who are philosophically or politically connected to the neocon philosophy in some varying degree.

    The godfather of modern-day neo-conservatism is considered to be Irving Kristol, father of Bill Kristol, who set the stage in 1983 with his publication Reflections of a Neoconservative. In this book, Kristol also defends the traditional liberal position on welfare.

    More important than the names of people affiliated with neo-conservatism are the views they adhere to. Here is a brief summary of the general understanding of what neocons believe:
    1.They agree with Trotsky on permanent revolution, violent as well as intellectual.
    2.They are for redrawing the map of the Middle East and are willing to use force to do so.
    3.They believe in preemptive war to achieve desired ends.
    4.They accept the notion that the ends justify the means—that hard-ball politics is a moral necessity.
    5.They express no opposition to the welfare state.
    6.They are not bashful about an American empire; instead they strongly endorse it.
    7.They believe lying is necessary for the state to survive.
    8.They believe a powerful federal government is a benefit.
    9.They believe pertinent facts about how a society should be run should be held by the elite and
    withheld from those who do not have the courage to deal with it.
    10.They believe neutrality in foreign affairs is ill-advised.
    11.They hold Leo Strauss in high esteem.
    12.They believe imperialism, if progressive in nature, is appropriate.
    13.Using American might to force American ideals on others is acceptable. Force should
    not be limited to the defense of our country.
    14.9-11 resulted from the lack of foreign entanglements, not from too many.
    15.They dislike and despise libertarians (therefore, the same applies to all strict constitutionalists.)
    16.They endorse attacks on civil liberties, such as those found in the Patriot Act, as being necessary.
    17.They unconditionally support Israel and have a close alliance with the Likud Party.

    Various organizations and publications over the last 30 years have played a significant role in the rise to power of the neoconservatives. It took plenty of money and commitment to produce the intellectual arguments needed to convince the many participants in the movement of its respectability.

    It is no secret—especially after the rash of research and articles written about the neocons since our invasion of Iraq—how they gained influence and what organizations were used to promote their cause. Although for decades, they agitated for their beliefs through publications like The National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Public Interest, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and the New York Post, their views only gained momentum in the 1990s following the first Persian Gulf War—which still has not ended even with removal of Saddam Hussein. They became convinced that a much more militant approach to resolving all the conflicts in the Middle East was an absolute necessity, and they were determined to implement that policy.

    In addition to publications, multiple think tanks and projects were created to promote their agenda. A product of the Bradley Foundation, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) led the neocon charge, but the real push for war came from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) another organization helped by the Bradley Foundation. This occurred in 1998 and was chaired by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Early on, they urged war against Iraq, but were disappointed with the Clinton administration, which never followed through with its periodic bombings. Obviously, these bombings were motivated more by Clinton’s personal and political problems than a belief in the neocon agenda.

    The election of 2000 changed all that. The Defense Policy Board, chaired by Richard Perle played no small role in coordinating the various projects and think tanks, all determined to take us into war against Iraq. It wasn’t too long before the dream of empire was brought closer to reality by the election of 2000 with Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld playing key roles in this accomplishment. The plan to promote an “American greatness” imperialistic foreign policy was now a distinct possibility. Iraq offered a great opportunity to prove their long-held theories. This opportunity was a consequence of the 9-11 disaster.

    The money and views of Rupert Murdoch also played a key role in promoting the neocon views, as well as rallying support by the general population, through his News Corporation, which owns Fox News Network, the New York Post and Weekly Standard. This powerful and influential media empire did more to galvanize public support for the Iraqi invasion than one might imagine. This facilitated the Rumsfeld/Cheney policy as their plans to attack Iraq came to fruition. It would have been difficult for the neocons to usurp foreign policy from the restraints of Colin Powell’s State Department without the successful agitation of the Rupert Murdoch empire. Max Boot was satisfied, as he explained: “Neoconservatives believe in using American might to promote American ideals abroad.” This attitude is a far cry from the advice of the Founders, who advocated no entangling alliances and neutrality as the proper goal of American foreign policy.

    Let there be no doubt, those in the neocon camp had been anxious to go to war against Iraq for a decade. They justified the use of force to accomplish their goals, even if it required preemptive war. If anyone doubts this assertion, they need only to read of their strategy in “A Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” Although they felt morally justified in changing the government in Iraq, they knew that public support was important, and justification had to be given to pursue the war. Of course, a threat to us had to exist before the people and the Congress would go along with war. The majority of Americans became convinced of this threat, which, in actuality, never really existed. Now we have the ongoing debate over the location of weapons of mass destruction. Where was the danger? Was all this killing and spending necessary? How long will this nation-building and dying go on? When will we become more concerned about the needs of our own citizens than the problems we sought in Iraq and Afghanistan? Who knows where we’ll go next—Iran, Syria or North Korea?"

    - Congressman Ron Paul(R-TX)

    Rest of speech at:

    www.house.gov/paul/congrec/congrec2003/cr071003.htm.
     
  2. Daisy

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    Perhaps that would be better addressed to the neo-cons as there are many fine conservatives among us who shouldn't be tarred with that brush.
     
  3. Dale-c

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    I think Kens point is that so many well meaning conservatives have adopted the party line so to speak, even if they don't realize what they have done.
     
  4. The Galatian

    The Galatian
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    Who would have expected the party of Bob Taft, to endorse a neo-Trotskyite platform?

    There aren't many real conservatives left.
     
  5. fromtheright

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    How soon they forget. Ken, you posted an article about neoconservatism a year or two ago in which I went point by point against such assertions as Paul has listed here, and have posted other responses to such broad-brush criticisms of neoconservatism. Of course, the easy thing to do is to copy and past a piece of an article and a link rather than thinking about what you posted. I don't know if I would be able to find it in the archives (I tried and couldn't) but even if I responded to these, you will ignore them and then apparently wait another year and post such a list again.

    Fairly typical of the strand of such attacks is Paul's statement that

    So, in other words, rather than detailing exactly which neo-cons believe which of the listed sins Paul lists, he'll just go with the broad brush. It is sloppy and therefore dishonest. No, I'm not going to go in and do Paul's work for him, or yours. Besides, I've already done it. I suggest you take a more objective look or, gasp, take a look at answers to these assertions, which are available on the Internet. That takes a little more time than simply copying and pasting an article as the substance of your arguments, though, so I won't hold my breath.

    And, Galatian, do you mind sharing exactly what is neo-Trotskyite about the "neo-con platform"? Or are you just sticking with Ken/Ron Paul's "permanent revolution" point without looking more closely at exactly what Trotsky meant by it vs. what neo-cons supposedly believe about it and which neo-cons hold to such beliefs?

    Paul's list of "what neocons believe" is further dishonest because he doesn't identify which neocons believe them. Do all neocons believe all of those things? Do they believe most of them? Is one a neocon because one believes only a few of those things? Are there other beliefs that neocons share with "genuine" conservatives? Are there some items on his list which are believed by "genuine" conservatives? Does belief in any one (or more? how many?) make one a neocon? What about the details of individual items? If they hold Strauss in high esteem, why? What beliefs do they all share with Strauss? Are there some things taught by Strauss that some of them don't believe? Then are they still neoconservative? I hold George McGovern in high esteem because he served his country in WWII but I disagree with probably every political view he has espoused.
     
  6. carpro

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    :sleeping_2:
     
  7. Daisy

    Daisy
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    Well gosh, ftr, you've whittled that tarbrush down to a few wispy hairs - a weapon hardly worth wielding.
     
  8. poncho

    poncho
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    Michael Ledeen

    So what is this historic mission?

    Pax Americana, what's that?


    The following content refers to George W. Bush's National Security Strategy, which has nothing to do with Peace and does not contain either "pax" or "peace" in its formal documents, referred to in the following content as "the plan".
    Journalist Jay Bookman observed that the plan "marks a significant departure from previous approaches, a change that the plan attributes largely to the attacks of September 11, 2001." [1] (http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html)
    In response to the threat of terrorism, Bush's plan calls for a "newly aggressive military and foreign policy, embracing pre-emptive attack against perceived enemies." Bookman says that it speaks in blunt terms of what the plan calls American internationalism, of ignoring international opinion if that suits U.S. interests. "The best defense is a good offense," the document asserts.
    The plan "dismisses deterrence as a Cold War relic" and, rather, speaks about convincing or compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities. "In essence, it lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe, unfettered by international treaty or concern. And to make that plan a reality, it envisions a stark expansion of [U.S.] global military presence."
    To accomplish this goal, the "United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia," the document warns, "as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S. troops."
    The plan repeatedly refers to terrorism, Bookman adds, which is misleading since the "approach of the new National Security Strategy was clearly not inspired by" the events of September 11. The same language is found in a report -- Rebuilding America's Defenses - Strategies, Forces and Resources For a New Century (http://www.newamericancentury.org/publicationsreports.htm) -- issued in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). The report was co-chaired by Donald Kagan and Gary Schmitt, with Thomas Donnelly the principal author. Bookman refers to the PNAC as "a group of conservative interventionists outraged by the thought that the United States might be forfeiting its chance at a global empire."
    The plan goes on to say that, "At no time in history has the international security order been as conducive to American interests and ideals ... The challenge of this coming century," it continues, "is to preserve and enhance this American peace."
    To do this, the plan calls for the United States to "increase defense spending from 3 percent of gross domestic product to as much as 3.8 percent." For 2003, the Bush administration requested a defense budget of $379 billion, which equates almost exactly to 3.8 percent of the GDP.
    The plan advocates the transformation of the U.S. military to "meet its expanded obligations, including the cancellation of such outmoded defense programs as the Crusader artillery system ... It urges the development of small nuclear warheads 'required in
    targeting the very deep, underground hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries.'"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note: On page 14 of "rebuilding America's Defenses" it is admitted that Saddam Hussein was just "the immediate justification for a wider role in middle eastern affairs".

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    justify

    One entry found for justify.
    Main Entry: jus·ti·fy [​IMG]
    Pronunciation: 'j&s-t&-"fI
    Function: verb
    Inflected Form(s): -fied; -fy·ing
    Etymology: Middle English justifien, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French justifier, from Late Latin justificare, from Latin justus
    transitive senses
    1 a : to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable b (1) : to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2) : to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property
    2 a archaic : to administer justice to b archaic : [SIZE=-1]ABSOLVE[/SIZE] c : to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation
    3 a : to space (as lines of text) so that the lines come out even at the margin b : to make even by justifying <justified margins>
    intransitive senses
    1 a : to show a sufficient lawful reason for an act done b : to qualify as bail or surety
    2 : to justify lines of text
    synonym see [SIZE=-1]MAINTAIN[/SIZE]
    - jus·ti·fi·er [​IMG] /-"fI(-&)r/ noun


    SOURCE
     
    #8 poncho, Jun 14, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2006
  9. The Galatian

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    You can call Ron Paul a lot of things, but "dishonest" isn't one of them. He has the neo-cons pegged.

    They love big government, they think force is justified to spread their ideology, and they revere Kristol who has admitted being a Trotskyite. They are the primary defenders of the notion that individual liberties need to be reduced to fight the "enemy".

    How does that differ from the pre-Stalinist Soviet Union?

    Not much. The GOP has been hijacked by the ghost of Walter Duranty.
     
  10. KenH

    KenH
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    I think it is safe to say that the people who signed this letter - www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm - are neocons. The exceptions since this letter was written would be that Donald Rumsfeld has not gone along with the neocon wish to significantly increase the size of the military and Francis Fukuyama has now disassociated himself from the militant strands of neoconservatism.

    Neocons are right that the character of governments do matter. They are wrong to think that a democratic form of government can be imposed from the outside, especially when a country is not industrialized, such as Iraq. Germany and Japan were industrialized countries; therefore, they are not examples to be applied to Iraq. South Korea developed a vibrant economy and then democratized.

    Democracy is not the default condition of mankind. I highly recommend Francis Fukuyama's latest book, America at the Crossroads, especially chapter 2 on "The Neoconservative Legacy".

     
    #10 KenH, Jun 14, 2006
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2006
  11. KenH

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    "New American Century" Project Ends With a Whimper

    Looks like the Project for the New American Century is going kaput. To which I say, "Good riddance.":

    "New American Century" Project Ends with a Whimper
    Analysis by Jim Lobe ​

    WASHINGTON, Jun 12 (IPS) - Is the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which did so much to promote the invasion of Iraq and an Israel-centred "global war on terror", closing down?

    In the absence of an official announcement and the failure since late last year of a live person to answer its telephone number, a Washington Post obituary would seem to be definitive. And, sure enough, the Post quoted one unidentified source presumably linked to PNAC that the group was "heading toward closing" with the feeling of "goal accomplished".

    In fact, the nine-year-old group, whose 27 founders included Vice President Dick Cheney and Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, among at least half a dozen of the most powerful hawks in the George W. Bush administration's first term, has been inactive since January 2005, when it issued the last of its "statements", an appeal to significantly increase the size of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps to cope with the growing demands of the kind of "Pax Americana" it had done so much to promote.

    - Source

     
  12. KenH

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    True enough. But a lot of conservatives have fallen into lockstep with the neocons concerning the Iraq conflict. And, unlike me, they have not disassociated themselves from the policy prescriptions of the neocons.
     
  13. Dale-c

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    Very true!
     
  14. fromtheright

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    Galatian,

    Let me try this again:

     
  15. LadyEagle

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    Excellent post, Ken!
     
  16. Terry_Herrington

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    Don't answer him Galation, since he won't answer when he is asked a question.:tongue3:
     
  17. fromtheright

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    Did someone ask me a question?

    I asked first. :tongue3:

    Was this the question:

    I think it's former Trotskyite. People are allowed to turn their back on their past ideologies aren't they? Whittaker Chambers was a Communist who recanted. Paul persecuted Christians. Is that the extent of that label, that someone used to be a Trotskyite? Pathetic.

    And you want to equate pre-Stalinist days of the Dzerzhinksy's Cheka to the "proposition" you throw around the necks of a band of unidentified neocon's (oh yeah, there's one, Ledeen :rolleyes:)? It is amazing that y'all so willfully identify yourselves with Ron Paul/Ken's broad brush. The next thing you know, one of them will be standing holding up a folded piece of paper saying "I have a list here of those wascawwy subversive neocons".

    OK, any answer to my question, or from Ken to the numerous ones I posed in my first post?

    And no, I'm not a neocon, but I do believe that in the foreign policy debate, and in some other areas, they have much to contribute.
     
  18. fromtheright

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    Including several who were also VERY influential in the Reagan Administration.
     
  19. fromtheright

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    That is not an exclusive neocon position. And one would have to be ignorant of foreign policy issues/debate to contend it is.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    The bigger the better.:thumbs:
     

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