On the eve of the mid-term elections, an impressive gaggle of Neocons have finally jumped ship.
This is big news, but there are two issues that will almost certainly get lost in the media frenzy.
First, this is not a Neocon (aka Right Zionist) apology. The Vanity Fair article is entitled, “Neo Culpa,” but that is highly misleading. Richard Perle and others interviewed for the article are conceding defeat in the factional battle with Right Arabists. They are not accepting responsibility for defeat or chaos in Iraq.
Here is Perle:
“The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn’t get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don’t think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty.”
That is a slap at Right Arabists, plain and simple.
Michael Rubin is even more explicit about the critique of the Right Arabist position:
The president’s actions, Mr Rubin said, had been “not much different from what his father did on February 15 1991, when he called the Iraqi people to rise up and then had second thoughts and didn’t do anything once they did.”
The second issue is that the Neocons have long been frustrated with the execution of the war and have long known that they faced serious opposition within the administration.
Previously, however, most held their tongues.
As Barbara Lerner wrote in May 2006,
In 2006, as the bloodshed in Iraq persisted and the regional situation deteriorated, I stopped criticizing our policies in Iraq for the same reason many other conservatives have lately been reluctant to do so: for fear of adding weight to a Leftist alternative that is even worse. Of course we can’t just cut and run in Iraq.
So, what has changed? Are they now prepared to cut and run?
Not a chance.
The timing of this story–rather than its content–provides the real news here. The Neocon critique of the Bush administration is, in essence, a very late prediction about the mid-term elections. The Neocons understand that the Bush administration is going down and they are already positioning themselves to help write the Dem Zionist script.
The issue is not whether the Neocons will influence the election, as Steve Clemons suggests they might. The Neocons have decided the election is over.
The point is that they are building the case for a Democrat position that argues Rumsfeld never sent enough troops, etc.
The key missive here comes from Robert Kagan, who argues that the Dems will perform well as the part of war in Iraq.
The Neocons are “neo” because some of them were once Democrats from the hawish, Zionist, “Scoop” Jackson wing of the party. Kagan is surely correct. The Democrats will “take it from here” Mr. President.