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05 November 2006

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Matthew

There are rumors that neo-cons are starting to switch over the Democrats. If true, then Iraq is America's Descent into Suez. Where is Eisenhower when we need him?!

confusedponderer

"I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists."

Well, he, just like his goons, *could* have known, had they only wanted. I stand by my impression that they want to get back into business as pundits and lobbyists and for that have to do their 'walk to canossa', somewhat apologising, to again become acceptable with the Democrats.

'Yuck! Isn't he a neo-con?' 'Yes, but he has now broken with his odious past!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061104/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/iraq_war_games

I presume that this counts as one of the things the ever well informed folks like Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, Wurmser, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al weren't particularly interested in. Other priorities I presume.

johnf

Neocons are, notoriously, mostly ex-Trots - people notorious for their amorality, their utter belief in the end justifying the means, and their repeated attempts to violently impose theory on reality.

I suspect that this sudden repositioning is not just them, clumsily, trying to avoid the blame for Iraq, but, clumsily, park themselves on the opposite side of the street just as the Democrat bandwagon is passing on its route back to power.

Neoconservatism is as much a cancer of the Democrats as it is of the Republicans - anyone doubting this is just invited to examine the history of Tony Blair's "New" Labour.

Walrus

If the Democrats win both houses, impeach Bush and Cheney, and then get the troops out of Iraq, I believe there might just be hope that America is going to survive whats coming.

Failing that, I'm starting my precautions against the meltdown of American economic and military power and the rise of the Chinese.

I now have no debt, and I'm looking at food supplies and a country retreat well away from major population centres. An economic meltdown, skyrocketing oil prices, riot and civil commotion, and a flu pandemic are my chief concerns.

pbrownlee

Time to switch off the life support of publicity for these mercenary clowns and sociopaths. They are of no interest except to students of abnormal psychology.

John


Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Luti, Scooter Libby, Harold Rhode and the Wurmsers and others!

This country does not have a record of holding people responsible. It this was not high crimes and misdemeanors, I do not know what is. They should all be put in chains, marched down to maximum security prison and made some ones wife.

Maybe then next time politicians would think twice before leading us into an unnecessary and avoidable war.

wcw

If Eisenhower were running, I'd vote for him, and I am a loony leftist. These days in the US, Eisenhower Republicans are the closest thing you can find to social democrats.

Perle is, of course, an utter whore. Hey, he's rich, he made his nut. I can't begrudge him that, though I can get pretty sour about how he did it.

In re: Congress, while the conventional wisdom and even smart guys like Charlie Cook say +30 for the (D)s, Pew says the generic ballot has a +4 D split. A 52-48 two-party split is not enough to make the House more than a tossup.

Forget Eisenhower, Truman, and FDR, I'm starting to miss Clinton, GHWB and Nixon.

arbogast

What is being tested on Tuesday is the American people.

On Wednesday morning, the one thing no one will be able to say is "We were tricked." [absent, of course, criminal manipulation of the vote]

matt

An "amen" to that post. Here's hoping that there will be some sort of "reckoning". What form will it take?

taters

"Perle, as usual, is slippery and deceptive.."

An excerpt from Perle's testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, Set. 26, 2002

"Some counsel that, to wait and hope for the best. That is what Tony Blair's predecessors did in the 1930s. That is what we did with respect to Osama bin Laden. We waited. We watched. We knew about the training camps and fanatical incitement and the history of acts of terror. We knew about the Cole and the embassies in Africa. We waited too long and 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered.

If we wait, if we play hide and seek with Saddam Hussein, there is every reason to expect that he will expand his arsenal further, that he will cross the nuclear divide and become a nuclear power. I urge this committee, Mr. Chairman, to support the president's determination to act before it is too late. Thank you."

HUNTER (R-CA) : Thank you, Mr. Perle. I appreciate your statement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The seamless morphing of Chamberlain's appeasement to Hitler,9/11, the USS Cole, bin Laden & al qaida into Hussein in one breath.
Disgraced former congressman Ed Shrock of VA is in there,too. Obviously before he got caught trolling for gay sex in cyberspace.

http://www.iraqwatch.org/government/US/HearingsPreparedstatements/hasc-092602.htm

zanzibar

The neo-cons that came of age under Nixon and brought us Iran-Contra and now "preventive war" in Iraq are like roaches. Impossible to eliminate. They have successfully infiltrated both parties in the US as well as politics in other countries. They will bide their time until the next opportunity presents itself. The nexus of the neo-cons with corporate elites in the military-intelligence complex will continue to lead to subversion of the rule of law, authoritarian policies and the subjugation of US interests in favor of these elites.

I am very sceptical that they will be brought to account for the strategic disaster they promoted. Unless conservatives in the Republican party stand up and make cause with similar minded Democrats we will not have the necessary investigations that will shine a spotlight on the nefarious activities of these con men.

confusedponderer

The question is wether there will ever be accountability. If you nailed Perle on his speech in front of this comittee he will reply he only gave his opinion. The argument will be that people can't be held accountable for merely uttering their opinions. The US are a free country with free speech :)

That is why Yoo's advice on 'unitary executive powers' has not been against the constitution. That was just his honest legal opinion (hehe, try proving the opposite federal prosecutor). And in case it get's crushed at the supreme court: Erring is so human, Yoo didn't act with intent. The result will be that the justice department will be losing. After that, Yoo will swiftly pen an op-ed condemning the biased liberal activist judges who issued the verdict.

It puts much blame on the bosses who are interested only in what they want to hear anyway. The careerists deliver, after 'commander's intent' - people like Yoo don't engage in public service. They work for politicans running the government. Big difference. It means that the culture is that these folks, when in government, no longer make an impartial legal assessment, but rather make a case - much like when working for a corporation in the private sector. It's one of the side-effects of the revolving door.

The pundit class will continue to dwell in relative obscurity and impunity to rarely ever be held to the task on whatever they promote - privatisation of vital military functions into profit generating industries, dismembering the constitution, or advising tax cuts that only benefit those who don't really feel them anyway. Society be damned, as they don't pay for their lobbying. And besides, they're fair game: After all they could make up a lobby of their own. If they allow themselves to be get ripped off, they just weren't smart enough, and thus deserve it.

Of course, the pundits were part of a concerted effort to persuade the US public into war, but the only one able to punish them is the public. Thus far it seems not overly interested in that. Maher telling them to at least shut up after being persistently wrong is pretty much the exception.
The only ones ever likely to get hit by shrapnel are those who've been in gvt and may have violated the law. The ones who only propagandised are out fine, as long as they don't allow themselves to be caught redhanded delivering US gvt secrets to friendly countries. In five years the stench of Iraq will mostly be gone.

The neo-cons didn't fall out of the blue, and neither did they merely usurp power. Many people let them. The point I like to make is that, while the neo-cons are a disgrace, they have been enabled by a disfunctional political process and a fucked-up political culture:
In US politics the neo-cons primary sin is arrogantly failing. Thus Perle's sudden modesty. Unlike coarser idiots like Feith or Bolton, Perle has charms. That's why he much easier survives being an arrogant and foolish SOB.

The democrats winning (I hope for it) congress will inevitably generate the long overdue investigative comittees to sift through much of the crap the GOPsters allowed Bush to pile up. Not to mention that it would mitigate the worst excesses of a decade of GOP rule. I don't expect too much, but at least GOP stonewalling will be much less effective then - you're going to get to hear and read more about incompetence and arrogance, and rightly so (of course GOP will decry this as a vicious partisan withchunt).
In the end, defending an outgoing president is much less a priority for the GOP than paving the way for his successor - if democratic pressure is high enough they may eventually decide to throw Bush under the Bus to survive the next election.

confusedponderer

A little post-scriptum on Richard Perle: "I Was Promised My War Criticism Wouldn't Be Published Until After Election"

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Perle_says_he_magazine_betrayed_promise_1105.html

Three messages simultaneously: Biased liberal media (appeal to GOP base)! GOP I've been tricked (or: " *sniff* - See? Me victim!" appeal to GOP leadership) - Dems, I have repented (appeal to Dems, just in case). The man knows no shame.

lightflyer

"The failed neocon revolution has cost us dearly in death, mutilation, distorted lives, treasure and honor."
Colonel
As you know well, life, treasure and honour are the currencies you spend in pursuit of the national interest. Combined they are the very essence of the nation, a poetic synthesis of what Staff Colleges more prosaically break down into elements of national power. In a practical sense, they are the cost of doing national business and nations should spend with due care. Lives can be renewed and treasure can be gathered in the course of things. Honour is, however, hard to measure, hard to acquire and easy to lose. For something that has no physical measure its value is perhaps the most immeasurably precious national possession.
When America left Vietnam its military was broken and in many ways so was the nation itself but, despite the loss of life and expenditure of national treasure, I do believe that its national honour remained essentially intact. America led a host of allies for over fifty years in a great struggle called the Cold War and the Vietnam War did not in any important way call into question America's leadership. This fortunate circumstance was due in no small part to the fact that broadly the real threat remained and America's honour was intact. That honour you see was also the promise that America's fundamental values were still worthy and to be cherished. A promise kept as we can see in subsequent history.
With the current Iraq morass, I am not sure I can call it a war, America has lost some lives, not that many in the scheme of things, its has haemorrhaged treasure and to a significant extent perhaps never before experienced, America has lost much of its national honour. This is, not just for America, a true catastrophe. A strategic, historic disaster.
I was in the States quite a lot during 2002 and could not believe how blind and deaf Americans were to their march to war. The outlines of what we know know, cherry picked intelligence, the scene setting for war and so on, was on the front pages at the time (but perhaps not on TV). It was all being done in the open. Why all this should be new and cause surprise amongst Americans a few short years later baffles me.
The burden of this little aside is that its not just the neocons who bear the blame. You all do. You went into Iraq in 2003 shit scared and eyes tight-closed, illegally and with a criminal disregard for the consequences. I understand this but cannot forgive. And a year later you all, with eyes wide open, voted back into office the draft dodging, war-mongering imperial incompetent, and maintained your course. This I do not understand and will not forgive.
If America was Eritrea or Somalia or some other poor benighted corner of the earth that inflicted these transgressions upon civilisation it would not count for much. For anyone. But America has a place in history and our current reality that requires a far more profound responsibility, not just to its own citizens but also all those other citizens of this planet, not least among them your friends and allies. American exceptionalism only works when it cleaves to the fundamental values and behaviours implicit in what we understand to be America's honour.
My American heroes, Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, just to name the first few, knew what sacred honour was, what it meant, and they made a great nation to carry it in trust.
The only bright glint of hope I see after six years where the custodians of that trust have dismantled the machinery of good governance and defecated on the constitution is that there are Americans, hopefully many, who understand what has been lost and what must now be done. You have lost much. It will be a long road.
I like your blog. Thank you.

blowback

The following is from an excerpt from the book by Tom Bower on Conrad Black. This suggests that what drives Perle's screwups is greed and arrogance.

More profitable was the sale of four newspapers for $37.6m to Bradford, a new company 50% owned by Black and Radler. To help finance the deal, they arranged for Hollinger International to grant Bradford a 10-year interest-free and unsecured loan of $6m. Hollinger also signed a guarantee covering Bradford’s existing $22m bank loan.

Effectively, Black and Radler were buying four newspapers from themselves with money they lent to themselves from Hollinger.

To avoid the directors’ scrutiny, they arranged that Hollinger’s executive committee — on which they sat — should approve the deal. Both signed a “unanimous written consent”, which was then presented to the third member of the committee, Richard Perle, the former assistant defence secretary. Without reading, understanding or discussing their content with Black and Radler, Perle signed.

The market value of the four newspapers was later assessed to be at least $4m more than Bradford had paid. “A useful idiot” was the subsequent description of Perle’s role by a critical investigator.

In April 2000, Horizon exchanged five loss-making newspapers for three profitable newspapers owned by Hollinger; and the following month Hollinger sold two further newspapers to Horizon for 50 cents each.

Hollinger’s board of directors was told these two newspapers were in debt. That was inaccurate. Radler had been told by a close associate that one was profitable and that a substantial offer had been received for the other.

Fortunately for Black, none of Hollinger’s directors questioned the transaction at the board meeting that approved it. Kissinger could not have done so because he did not attend; Amiel, also on the board, was unlikely to challenge her husband; Thompson, Marie-Josée Kravis and Burt remained silent; and Perle, with an annual salary of $300,000 and a bonus that year of $2m, did not query Black’s arrangements, possibly because he had just asked Black to invest $2.5m in a new company of his own.

The greed is fairly obvious, the arrogance is that Perle was paid $2.3M to be a director and couldn't even be bothered to read a document he signed. He obviously cares little for the consequences of his actions and doesn't believe he needs to cover his arse as people of his importance can do what they like.

Paul

COL,

Do you thing any "reckoning" would also includes those military officers and civil servants in the intelligence community who enabled the political appointees. There are a number of recent SES/DISL appointees who served their DoD masters well in the lead up to the war.

Byron Raum

As quite correctly pointed out, the neocons are like roaches. That's because they are able to survive by their faith where radiation would destroy any more nuanced or careful policy.

The problem with the Democrats winning one or more Houses is that without question they will be blamed for Iraq. "See? As soon as the Democrats took over, we started losing." Already, they are smearing the Republicans. "The policy is good. It was implemented by morons." A Democratic victory allows them broad smear targets.

Even if we're able to clean house, these people will be back in less than a generation. How to prevent it?

BR.

taters

Confused Ponderer,
You are correct. I simply used Perle's testimony to underscore Col. Lang's quote. The 2nd time Perle appeared in front of the HSAC underlines what you say. The arrogance should be astounding - but it is not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

from Same Committee, Same Combatants, Different Tune
By Dana Milbank

Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page A10

As chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, Perle had gone before the same committee in 2002 and smugly portrayed retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who urged caution in Iraq, as "hopelessly confused" and spouting "fuzzy stuff" and "dumb cliches."

Thirty months and one war later, Perle and Clark returned to the committee yesterday. But this time lawmakers on both sides hectored Perle, while Clark didn't bother to suppress an "I told you so."

Perle wasn't about to provide the apology Jones sought. He disavowed any responsibility for his confident prewar assertions about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, heaping the blame instead on "appalling incompetence" at the CIA. "There is reason to believe that we were sucked into an ill-conceived initial attack aimed at Saddam himself by double agents planted by the regime. And as we now know the estimate of Saddam's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was substantially wrong."

Jones, nearly in tears as he held up Perle's testimony, glared at the witness. "I went to a Marine's funeral who left a wife and three children, twins he never saw, and I'll tell you, I apologize, Mr. Chairman, but I am just incensed with this statement."

Clark, an unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, could not resist piling on Perle. Intelligence estimates "are never accurate, they are never going to be accurate, and I think policymakers bear responsibility for what use they make of intelligence," the retired general lectured.

Sometimes life imitates art. Yesterday, it imitated an episode of "Crossfire." For more than three hours, Clark and Perle reprised their confrontation before the committee in September 2002. The two men entered in twin gray suits and red ties, and took adjacent chairs at the witness table. Clark scribbled in pencil, Perle with a fountain pen. Only Perle's reading material -- he put on the witness table a copy of "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly" -- suggested he was not expecting what was to come.

Perle opened by acknowledging mistakes -- though not his own. "The occupation of Iraq did much to vitiate the goodwill we earned," he said, and, "The grand ambition of the Coalition Provisional Authority was profoundly mistaken."

The two belligerents then went after each other, taking the hearing out of the control of the lawmakers. Perle wondered "why in the world" Clark would talk to Syria. Clark said Perle should learn to "eat the elephant one bite at a time." "What are you talking about?" Perle demanded.

Finally, Rep. Victor F. Snyder (D-Ark.) tried to regain the floor. "It is illegal to fight dogs in Arkansas," he said. "I'm not going to get in the middle."

Democrats lobbed softballs to Clark and fired darts at Perle, who made little effort to ingratiate himself, calling one questioner "careless" and saying another cited "substantially incorrect accounts."

"You need a few more allies," observed Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

It was not always thus. At the September 2002 hearing, GOP lawmakers joined in Perle's dismissal of Clark's argument that "time is on our side" in Iraq and that force should be used only as a "last resort."

Perle said Clark was "wildly optimistic" and called it "one of the dumber cliches, frankly, to say that force must always be a last resort." While Clark fiddled, "Saddam Hussein is busy perfecting those weapons of mass destruction that he already has."

In retrospect, Clark's forecasts proved more accurate than Perle's, and even Republicans on the committee made little effort yesterday to defend Perle or to undermine Clark. The exception was Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who pressed Clark to acknowledge that the Iraq invasion should get some credit for signs of democracy in the region.

"We've got to do a lot less crowing about the sunrise," Clark rejoined.

When Hunter's GOP colleagues didn't join his line of questioning, he took another turn grilling Clark. The chairman likened President Bush's Middle East policies to those of President Ronald Reagan in Eastern Europe.

"Reagan never invaded Eastern Europe," Clark retorted.

In another try, Hunter said Clark was "overstating" the risk in challenging other countries in the Middle East. Clark smiled and showed his trump card -- reminding Hunter of their exchange at the 2002 hearing. "I kept saying time was on our side," Clark said. "I could never quite satisfy you."

As for who proved correct, the general said, "I'll let the record speak for itself."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A32440-2005Apr6?language=printer


ali

Given the divisive nature of American politics I would not be surprised to see some of the neocon crew back at the helm within a decade.

And if the hapless Dems somehow stumble on control of the Senate tomorrow it will probably be sooner rather than later.

They'll be painted as stabbing the weary POTUS in the back and this will not be unfair characterization as it will be what they've been elected to do. The GOP will be absolved of blame by its base.

Iraq will become a cause that was lost not because of jaw-dropping strategic foolishness but simply because the unrighteous within betrayed the Elect and the Lord's purpose.

Faced with the aftermath of the Iraq war: chaos in the Middle East, waning US power and escalating waves of terrorism the future President faces a far worse mess than Nixon did. The American voter once choose happy delusion over hard facts when they gave George a second term. They may protest this time but reach for that sweet Koolaide once again.

Meanwhile back in the rather unpleasantly real world Riverbend reflects on Rovian execution orders and is pissed: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#116274961239136314
"It’s not about the man- presidents come and go, governments come and go. It’s the frustration of feeling like the whole country and every single Iraqi inside and outside of Iraq is at the mercy of American politics. It is the rage of feeling like a mere chess piece to be moved back and forth at will."

ked

this bears repeating & reflection, so I will...

"American exceptionalism only works when it cleaves to the fundamental values and behaviours implicit in what we understand to be America's honour."

Cloned Poster

Perle, if he was clever, which he obviously isn't, should have advocated US support of an Iranian led takeover.

Chalabi, who is, did it with American taxpayer's dollars.

I fear the whiplash from this misadventure.

zanzibar

"He obviously cares little for the consequences of his actions and doesn't believe he needs to cover his arse as people of his importance can do what they like." - blowback

This was a straightforward quid pro quo. Perle got paid millions to enable Conrad Black to loot Hollinger and defraud its public shareholders. Pat Fitzgerald the prosecutor on the tail of Scooter Libby is also the prosecutor trying to nail Black. Note who enabled Black - Perle & Kissinger.

These neo-cons, IMO, dont really care about the US or national interests. They care about their circle. They believe only in the use of power to further their interests and that of the elites of which they are part of. They feel entitled to control and profit from their power. Their allegiance is to themselves.

This nexus of the neo-cons and the corporate parties that control the media-military-intelligence complex are a serious threat to the US republic. They promote privatization of government functions to loot taxpayer funds and also promote government secrecy under the guise of state secrets to prevent accountability or investigations. They promote authoritarian legislation to enable control of dissent. This is in many ways a very quiet coup. The clean-up if and when it happens will be long and arduous.

arbogast

Have been reading up on the French colonial war in Algeria during the 50's and 60's.

The French military pulled out all the stops: outright terrorism, placing millions of people in camps, torture, indiscriminant bombing of civilian targets, the whole shooting match. 400 to 600 thousand troops. Everything.

Bush and company look like choir boys in comparison.

And it didn't work.

So, we follow the French into Vietnam and lose, and we follow the French into the Middle East and lose.

And to make it worse: the French told us not to.

Reverend Ted was preaching against gay marriage as if his life depended on it while buying gay sex and drugs from a male prostitute, and the Republic was going down the drain.

Welcome to the Good Ole US of A.

I reiterate: armies may march on their stomachs, but democracies march on their educational system.

If your national leaders are teaching you about the evils of gay marriage, don't expect to win any wars in the Middle East.

W. Patrick Lang

arbogast

A bit over the top. pl

Rider

Well-said, pl. Thanks

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