Tales from the Neoconservative Crypt: Lying to Themselves.


I recently posted an article on what I call out as the schizophrenia that lives in the mainstream conservative movement: the plea for a small government domestically, but thumping for a huge and monstrous government internationally. My case in point was the Iraq War, which is still widely beloved and vigorously defended by Bushian Neoconservatives who also call for a smaller federal government, draping themselves in “Don’t Tread on Me” Gadsden Flags. If these “conservatives” don’t think Big Government is good at home, then why is it any different for Big Government abroad? Their logic is basically that American politicians are idiots who should butt out of our lives UNLESS they’re working in foreign policy, at which time they become wise vanguards of liberty and democracy. This is ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense.

As I have mentioned before, I like to peruse the Neoconservative blog Instapundit, managed by Law Professor Glenn Reynolds. It gives me great inspiration. Neoconservatives rankle me far more than Progressive Liberals, because they should know better. Progressive Liberals are at least honest about wanting a huge government machine controlled by technocrats. Neocons, on the other hand, pretend to be small government advocates while in reality crying out for big government, most especially where foreign policy is concerned.

My most recent adventure was in commenting on this post:


These sorts of headlines elicit an instant head-shake. Glenn Reynolds always posts stuff like this. Really? Victory? Post-Saddam Iraq suffered from a government rife with corruption, terror bombings and kidnappings that never used to happen under Saddam, and is now facing what is basically a total annihilation of society, all enabled by the US invasion. Not to mention that 3,000 American soldiers died to bring about this glorious new dawn for Iraq. Exactly which part of this is a victory?

The video this post links to is, predictably, a bunch of Neoconservative guff about how Iraq was valiantly won over by Bush Jr and was on it’s way to becoming a wonderful democracy until Obama and the Democrats threw it all to hell. Oh, the humanity! The narrator goes on to make a comparison to the Vietnam War as a conflict valiantly won by Republicans, but trashed and thrown away by subsequent Democrat-controlled administrations who “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”

What baloney. Many of the comments on this post were truly head-shaking. Most of them looked a lot like the one below:


Correction: the world should rue the day President Harry Truman created the National Security establishment and set-off a chain of events leading to a near-perpetual state of war in America all the way until the present time.

This wistful “It was a good war until the Democrats came along” stuff is total baloney from start to finish. Do these Neocons just think that Democrats seize the power to largely end these wars in a coup? No! In both Vietnam and Iraq, the Democrat-controlled governments that mostly ended the wars were elected. Voters voted for them partially because they thought they would end the war. In both cases, the voters were right. The voters elected these guys while they ran on a platform to end the Vietnam War and Iraq War. Therefore, blame the voters in this case, not the politicians. Of course, Obama has already broken his promises by putting boots back on the ground in Iraq, but that’s another story.

Thankfully, not all the comments were so hopeless:


Exactly right. This guy hits the nail on the head. The rabid furor to protect the legacy of Bush Jr and the invasion of Iraq seems to me little more than an attempt to blame Obama for Bush’s greatest failure. Obama is incompetent and foolish, make no mistake, but Iraq wasn’t his fault. What this commenter says about “convincing ourselves that invading Iraq was a good idea” accurately sums up, I think, the Neocon attitude to the legacy of the Iraq War: they are lying to themselves. I think that deep down, many pro-Iraq War Neocons might feel bad about what’s happened to Iraq and the fact that they supported it, but they are so incapable of facing the truth that they convince themselves it had to be Obama who was at fault somehow. It’s not unlike the atomic bombing of Japan in WWII: I think that most Americans know it was wrong deep down, but they have such a hard time overturning years of pro-atomic bomb indoctrination that they convince themselves it was somehow necessary and justified on a higher level. It just ain’t true, but they make themselves think that it is.

Let me drill this idea into your skull: A small government at home should be complemented by a small government abroad. This means leaving other nations alone to fight their own wars and take care of their own business. Worried about national security? Then beef up border security and be more strict about who’s allowed to cross the border. But “invade other nations and smash their societies into bits” should not be a first line of defense.



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