In addition to foreign policy moralism and a belief in the necessity and efficacy of the use of American military power, another salient feature of contemporary neoconservatism would seem to be a tendency to make certain statements and then ridicule others as insane when they quote you as making those statements.
(From a clinical standpoint, this tendency is abetted by a lazy press corps and perpetuated with a seeming indifference to the existence of certain widely accessible electronic databases.)
One more example to add to the list. Last week The Weekly Standard ridiculed Wes Clark as a tin-foil-clad conspiracy freak for claiming that articles in the neoconservative press supported the idea of forcible regime change not only in Iraq but in multiple Arab countries and that there was even a plan (perhaps he meant this?) to this effect circulated among political appointees at the Pentagon ...
Does Gen. Wesley Clark Subscribe to The Weekly Standard? Commentary, maybe? Because he seems to know a lot about, as he puts it, the "neoconservative press." Yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition," for example, Clark said--not for the first time--that the Bush administration's war plans extend far beyond Iraq.
"I do know this," Clark told Wolf Blitzer. "In the gossip circles in Washington, among the neoconservative press, and in some of the statements that Secretary Rumsfeld and Secretary Wolfowitz have made, there is an inclination to extend this into Syria and maybe Lebanon." What's more, Clark added, "the administration's never disavowed this intent." ...
Clark has made his charge a central plank of his presidential campaign. Clark writes in his book, "Winning Modern Wars," that in November 2001, during a visit to the Pentagon, he spoke with "a man with three stars who used to work for me," who told him a "five-year plan" existed for military action against not only Afghanistan and Iraq, but also "Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan." Clark has embellished this story on the campaign trail, going so far as to say, "There's a list of countries."
Clark's proof? None. He never saw the list. But, the general recently told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "You only have to listen to the gossip around Washington and to hear what the neoconservatives are saying, and you will get the flavor of this."Matthew Continetti
"Wesley Clark's Conspiracy Theory:
The General Tells Wolf Blitzer about the Neoconservative Master Plan"
The Weekly Standard
December 1st, 2003
As it happens, among other publications, Clark may indeed have been referring to Commentary ...
The best-case scenario is that Bush will eventually come to grips with the reality that Afghanistan and Iran are far from the only countries in the Middle East where "reform" is not enough to bring about the actions he has called upon all of them to take. In other words, as in Afghanistan and Iran, changes of regime are the sine qua non throughout the region.
The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as "friends" of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Ararat or one of his henchmen.
There is no denying that the alternative to these regimes could easily turn out to be worse, even (or especially) if it comes into power through democratic elections. After all, by every measure we possess, very large numbers of people in the Muslim world sympathize with Osama bin Laden and would vote for radical Islamic candidates of his stripe if they were given the chance.
To dismiss this possibility would be the height of naivete. Nevertheless, there is a policy that can head it off, provided that the United States has the will to fight World War IV--the war against militant Islam--to a successful conclusion, and provided, too, that we then have the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties. This is what we did directly and unapologetically in Germany and Japan after winning World War II; it is what we have indirectly striven with some success to help achieve in the former Communist countries since winning World War III; and it is George W. Bush's ultimate aim in World War IV.Norman Podhoretz
"In Praise of the Bush Doctrine"
Or quotes from others ...
"We need to be more assertive," argues Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, "and stop letting all these two-bit dictators and rogue regimes push us around and stop being a patsy for our so-called allies, especially in Saudi Arabia." Hopefully, in Boot's view, laying down the law will be enough. But he envisions a worst-case scenario that would involve the United States "occupying the Saudi's oil fields and administering them as a trust for the people of the region."
Joshua Micah Marshall
"Practice to Deceive"
The Washington Monthly
Neocons versus Nexis, the next great struggle ...