Robert Kagan Protests: Neocons are NOT Vampires and Werewolves!

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campbell.gifMany of the most senior members of the foreign policy Illuminati assembled in London last week, and neoconservative high priest Robert Kagan and neo-realist national security strategist Kurt Campbell had a collision that simply must be recorded for posterity.
The context was a dinner and then a conference featuring an intellectually and politically diverse crowd discussing the turbulent currents at play in the international system.
The dinner was held at the official residence of outgoing Ambassador of Germany to the UK Wolfgang Ischinger (he previously served in Washington as Ambassador) and featured special guests CENTCOM Commander-nominee David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. The sponsor of the night was the new European Council on Foreign Relations whose executive director Mark Leonard is tying up European leaders in a new and important exercise in national security consciousness-raising.
I’m going to save what I learned about the Petraeus/Crocker exchange with people like Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School Dean Anne-Marie Slaughter, her colleague G. John Ikenberry (see his note below), UT Austin LBJ School Dean and former Clinton administration Deputy National Security Adviser James Steinberg and many others for another post. I was not in attendance (and thus am under no obligation to keep anything off the record, which I fastidiously adhere to when in such meetings) — and have had to pull teeth and twist the arms of quite a few sources to piece together the content of the discussion.
The next day a conference in London was held sponsored principally by the Princeton Project on National Security that launched a report, “Forging a World of Liberty Under Law, U.S. National Security In The 21st Century” a year and a half ago.
But here’s the zinger.
Sources report to me that Center for a New American Security CEO Kurt Campbell was sitting near Robert Kagan at the Ischinger dinner.
kagan twn.jpgKagan it should be noted has recently encouraged the Bush administration to engage in direct talks with Iran (in contrast to John Bolton who has been encouraging an expeditious bombing campaign) and has written an interesting essay on the new ideological contest afoot in the international system in which America will once again need to contrast itself and its norms and habits against those of illiberal regimes like Russia. Given Kagan’s big leap on Iran, one shouldn’t be blamed for thinking that Kagan was on a new track and that he might want to do stuff like shut down Guantanamo and get the U.S. to try out a little more Venus and a little less Mars.
So, it wasn’t surprising to everyone there that Kurt Campbell felt comfortable next to Kagan saying that “despite Europe’s best efforts and wishes, the neocons were not dead.”
Campbell said that the “neocons were alive and well in the McCain camp” and then said that some people had a tough time searching for the right analogy to describe neoconservatives.
He said that he had heard some people call them “vampires and werewolves but these were both imperfect.”
Campbell said “you can kill a vampire with a perfectly placed silver bullet, unlike a neocon — and the werewolf paradigm is wrong because werewolves are fine during the day but do crazy things at night.”
“Neocons do crazy things at any time,” Campbell reportedly said to much laughter.
Then, on a roll, Kurt Campbell said that “a better analogy was ‘intellectual special forces’ — highly trained, confident, ninja-like, working well in small teams but always seeking to define the terrain of conflict.”
“They will not stand and fight if things go poorly but instead will search for a better battle,” Campbell advised.
All along, Robert Kagan was frowning, fidgeting, growing visibly icy. It turned out he hadn’t really left the comfort of the neoconservative collective at all and was highly displeased with Kurt Campbell’s effort to be “flip and funny.”
A source close to Campbell told me that despite the accuracy of the metaphor he used to describe neoconservatives, Campbell had not intended to offend Robert Kagan at all. In fact, given what many neoconservatives say about realists and liberal internationalists, this was pretty light fare.
Another source told me that Kagan decided he would not appear on the Princeton Project panel with Campbell the next day. While some would have said “great” — now we can have a reality-based discussion, the fact is that there are times when balance and ideological diversity are important, and this was one of those. Kagan jumping ship would not have been good.
So, Campbell went out to buy Bob Kagan “a tie”, wrote him a note of apology, and thanked him for his service “on behalf of a grateful nation.”
I hear that the teasing of Richard Holbrooke at the dinner was even more sizzling, but that will wait for a few weeks so that my sources are not inadvertently outed.
My own analogy to describe the neocons to lay audiences is the “Borg” in Star Trek. The Borg mean well, but they want to ‘assimilate’ dissimilar cultures and peoples and make them look just like the Borg. If they can’t assimilate them, they either annihilate them or wall them off.
Maybe Kurt Campbell will find that metaphor useful the next time he hangs out with a lost and wandering neoconservative soul.
(Honestly, I hope that Bob Kagan and Kurt Campbell both enjoy this a bit. It’s just too good a story not to post. If not, can someone tell me what tie shop Campbell uses?)
— Steve Clemons

Comments

67 comments on “Robert Kagan Protests: Neocons are NOT Vampires and Werewolves!

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  2. David says:

    Amen, Andrew Bacevich. Devastatingly succinct and absolutely correct. We best engage the rest of the world by who and what we are, not what we try to impose on others. And we are at our best when we team with others in actual, not mythical, just causes, but driven by wisdom seasoned with humility, not ignorance seasoned with arrogance.

    Reply

  3. Homer says:

    Borg?
    That is palpably absurd!!!
    The Neocons are freakin losers!!!
    With assimilators like the Neocons, why bother to even think
    about the US’ enemies abroad.
    In neither case, however, have U.S. forces been able to achieve
    decisive victory. In both cases, barring drastic changes in U.S.
    policy, fighting will drag on for years to come.
    In the meantime, what has the Long War achieved? The answer
    to that question is indisputable: not much. Counting on military
    might to change the way they live isn’t working. If anything, the
    effort has backfired.
    Since 2001, the price of oil per barrel has quadrupled, adversely
    affecting all but the wealthiest Americans. Efforts to spread
    democracy have either stalled or succeeded only in enhancing
    the standing of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The much-
    hyped Iraqi nuclear threat turned out to be illusory. To sustain
    the overstretched American imperium, we are accumulating debt
    at a staggering clip. And with U.S. soldiers shouldering repetitive
    combat tours, the strength of our army slowly ebbs away.
    Meanwhile, the immediate danger to the American way of life
    comes not from terrorists but from our own adamant refusal to
    live within our means. American profligacy, not Islamic radicals,
    triggered the mortgage crisis that underlies our current
    economic distress.
    Bluntly, the Long War has proved to be a monumental flop. Yet
    Gates, channeling Rumsfeld, would have us believe that
    perpetual war constitutes the sole option available to the world’s
    most powerful nation. This represents a profound failure of
    imagination. It also misreads our own history.
    The truth is that the United States, with rare exceptions, has
    demonstrated little talent for changing the way others live. We
    have enjoyed far greater success in making necessary
    adjustments to our own way of life, preserving and renewing
    what we value most. Early in the 20th century, Progressives
    rounded off the rough edges of the Industrial Revolution,
    deflecting looming threats to social harmony. During the
    Depression, FDR’s New Deal reformed capitalism and thereby
    saved it. Here lies the real genius of American politics.
    Rumsfeld got it exactly backward. Although we do face a choice,
    it’s not the one that he described. The actual choice is this one:
    We can either persist in our efforts to change the way they live
    — in which case the war of no exits will surely lead to
    bankruptcy and exhaustion. Or we can recognize the folly of
    generational war and choose instead to put our own house in
    order: curbing our appetites, paying our bills and ending our
    self-destructive dependency on foreign oil and foreign credit.
    The ‘Long War’ fallacy
    Iraq has shown the limits of U.S. power. We must change
    America, not the world.
    By Andrew J. Bacevich
    May 13, 2008

    Reply

  4. ej says:

    To those who implore a sense of “levity” for these proceedings, let me offer that politics is real, with real consequenses for real people and that people get hurt, lives destroyed, and cultures decimated by things and people political.
    Instead of levity, perhaps urgency, reality, and empathy should be employed.
    Power, wealth, and position are almost always achieved at the expense of others. It is obscene and immoral to ask those who have been used to “lighten up.”

    Reply

  5. David says:

    Chickenshithawks. I like it.
    I’ll take the vampires and werewolves. They are more interesting, and some of them are capable of doing good (Angelus/Angel, for instance), and they can’t do any actual harm because they don’t exist. Wish the same could be said for neocons.

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  6. Homer says:

    The Neocons have to be the shittiest assimilators to have ever
    taken up a weapon.
    Correction!!!
    The Neocons have to be the shittiest assimilators to have ever
    fooled legions of poor and unedcated people taken up a weapon
    in order to fight their battles.
    Chicken-shit namby-pambies!!

    Reply

  7. Homer says:

    My own analogy to describe the neocons to lay audiences is the
    “Borg” in Star Trek. The Borg mean well, but they want to
    ‘assimilate’ dissimilar cultures and peoples and make them look
    just like the Borg. If they can’t assimilate them, they either
    annihilate them or wall them off.
    No, 100% wrong.
    Why?
    The Borg were actually SUCCESSFUL assimilaing other cultures.
    The Neocons, however, have 100% FAILURE rate: e.g. Iraq,
    Palestine, Iran, Egypt… and a few other countries wherein Islamic
    fundamentalists have gained power DEMOCRATICALLY!!
    The Neocons have to be the shittiest assimilators to have ever
    taken up a weapon.

    Reply

  8. LeaNder says:

    No time to follow all comments here.
    Maybe Campbell would have saved the dinner by slipping in a carefully ambiguous remark along the lines: It was the bad execution only, stupid!
    Otherwise the US would be approaching Beijing by now on its way to the last axis of evil power.;)
    Interesting little miniature. And the first time I wished, I could live to read historians on these events in 100 years from now.
    Kraut from Old Europe

    Reply

  9. David says:

    Nazification might be the wrong word, especially because it conjures up caricature images. Mussolini actually offered one of the most useful reminders of what fascism is, essentially when major business interests, not the commonweal, determine domestic and foreign policy. And like most administrators, they are more interested in control than in the larger wellbeing of that which they are administering. CEOs of America’s largest corporations have often of late served as perfect examples of this phenomenon.
    They do believe that what they are doing is right, and that they have a right to control everything around them. And they do degenrate into tyrants when they feel threatened, often as self-righteous tyrants. They feel an obligation only to themselves, their perceived well being, their ideas, and their beliefs. They have, to be sure, often reached dizzying heights of venality.
    The neocons are a very destructive, very influential group of tribally patriotic corporatist imperialists, but they are nothing new in America. They just seem to me to be the most devoid of any ameliorating characteristics or impulses.

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  10. TonyForesta says:

    I do not want to waste more time off topic on this site. Know that I view Mr. Clemmons commentary as one of the most informative, articulate, balanced, and vibrant on the blogsphere. It is in fact the insider aspect and access to, and connections with the high and mighty in the hollowed halls of American and international leadership that make TWN for me at least a daily “must read”.
    Steve is kind enough to allow me and others to comment here unrestrained. There are many issues and instances on TWN where divides are marked and contested in sometimes erudite, sometimes fiery debate. I for one always glean something after these engagements and logoff better informed.
    Returning to the thread at hand, and relating to your questions above, – it is my opinion, – and one I am eager to defend in public – that the neocons are in no way “well meaning”, that they are in fact malevolent, predatory, viscious, ruthless, heartless, lawless, and fascist criminals, – and bent, – and I mean exactly that – “bent” on perverting, betraying, dismembering, and reengineering America into a totalitarian dictatorship and dominating the world through military force with the neocon grand wizards reigning allpowerful, Olympian, supremist, accountable to no-one, and bound by no laws.
    The neocons harbor no concern for America, or Americans, or anyone else on earth outside their own closed circles, and select cabals, klans, coteries, and oligarchs. The neocons aims and designs are focused singularly and exclusively on wanton profiteering, engorging their own individual off shore accounts, and commandeering (by whatever means necessary) authoritain dictatorial political power.
    Those who succumb to the “message-force multipliers, and parrots in the socalled MSM on the neocon payrolls who pretend or somehow imagine that these creatures are ‘well meaninig” or patriots, or loyal Americans who simple made mistakes and miscalculations are the target of my challenges and my commentary. I want to rip through the facade, and shred the masks that cloak the socalled neocons as decent well meaning and noble actors who simply made a few mistakes, and reveal these creatures true face as treacherous traitors, viscious predators, tyannical supremists, ruthless criminals, pathological liars, wanton profiteers, and fascists. No if you or Steve or anyone wishes to contest that claim, – please present a response.
    Focusing on the messenger, and ignoring the message avoids or distracts from the examination of the epic questions involved and the many crisis confronting Americans and all people.
    The neocons are the 4th reich, and are perpetuating the unabated nazification of America.
    Tragically, because nothing ever changes, and there is never any accountability, and crimes go unpunished, abuses and abusers and systemic deceptions are never redressed, and people pretend somehow in the face of obvious conflicting information that the beasts known as the neocons are well meaning patriots who care about America – the unabated destruction, dismembering, and reengineering of America into a fascist totalitarian dictatorship is succeeding.
    Google the Continuity of Government and Transition of Government presidential directives and the underhanded, backdoor, secret Bush government machinations to maintain control and authority of the government, and you will see malevolence, and absolutely nothing in anyway “well meaning”.

    Reply

  11. Pat says:

    I was surprised to this comment thread alive and well. Whether Steve intended to or not he has provoked a valuable discussion. The civility shown by Steve, the Passion by POA and Foresta and the willingness of Paul to return again and again and engage gives me hope. Thanks to all.

    Reply

  12. questions says:

    Time for a truth and reconciliation committee? Isn’t that what countries do after war crimes administrations?

    Reply

  13. rich. says:

    Paul Norheim:
    “I wanted to answer you earlier, but just after reading POA`s response, I lost my internet connection.”
    Funny, that happens to EVerybody. haha.
    Coupla points, quickly.
    Healthy social relationships and civil behavior is a good thing. However, those must be functional relationships, in which everyone is able to engage openly, if tactfully, without fear of reprisal. Those relationships cannot demand participants paper over their concerns, nor docility in the face of great wrong.
    The question is, does maintaining politesse affirm a peer’s abhorrent practices? Or does papering over one’s visceral recoil keep you in a position to effect change? It’d be easy to pretend the latter was true. Everything we know about Bush says it is not.
    If our personal, professional, and national purpose has merit in any context, we should all be able to answer one (set of) question(s). Our national premise, as well as our prestige and power, stems straight out of the Realpolitik and moral lessons of World War II and of the Holocaust. (I do not mean by this that Washington D.C. has practiced them well or understands them fully.)
    The question is, ‘Did I say anything?’ From the one adage, the only rule of thumb that matters:
    “First they came for the Jews, and I said nothing. Then they came for the Communists, and I said nothing. [etc.]”
    Now try the lesson when it MATTERS:
    “First they came for Jose Padilla; did I say anything?”
    “Then they came for Maher Arar; and I said nothing.”
    This adage/ lesson applies equally tellingly to Supreme Court Justices as it does to D.C. social settings as it does to Bush admin, the Dem party, FBI field agents—and to the rest of us. So:
    What separates us from dynamics of ~1939-~? —
    what do we do with the lessons of the Third Reich?
    Only this. The will to ask this:
    “First they came for the Second Amendment, did I raise my voice?”
    “Then they came for the Fourth Amendment, and I said nothing.”
    What separates us? Only the will to speak up when we have the opportunity. To discomfort those we like. To ask this:
    “At what point must I stop being accommodating to others, and demand they be responsive to me? At what point must they be taught to respect our birthright?”
    “Then they came for me; and no one was left to say anything at all.”
    Look, the heart of our Constitutional (birth)Rights were frittered away via poorly reasoned precedents and baseless decisions, long ago. That’s what’s led us to this sorry juncture; bad precedent has no standing, no sway, when it’s not consistent with the highest law of the land. So we’re reduced to John Yoo; and his Dean at UC Berkely, actually arguing that ANY argument at all—the act of advocacy—supercedes and excuses eviscerating every principle from which all American law flows.
    Men of good faith. Right?
    That turns America and the premise of our system on its head. There’s nothing left when the method (means) is privileged above the ends (law & Constitution).
    In short, we are not uncivil–by any definition. The incivility at hand is that of the neocons, and it’s an obscenity. Like pornography, we know it when we see it.
    Regardless of your opinion of Tony Foresta’s literary aesthetics, one thing rings true. His is “a sane reaction to an insane world.”
    Sound social relations are a good thing, and I balance my views, tho every post may not reflect that. But:
    Demanding us citizens ‘be civil’ is an Orwellian insult; we did not actively rupture the social contract or the binding legal contract. The onus is on the neocons and their many facilitators in D.C.; on Scalia; on those who’ve said nothing. Get that onus offa me! And pleease: Buy Billy Kristol a new tie.
    When they asked (Christian theologians), “How could the Holocaust happen?” The only answer comes back:
    “First they came for the Jews, and I said nothing.”
    750,000+ dead Iraqi civilians later, and 4,000+ dead American soldiers later, I have a question:
    “When they came for the Constitutional mandate that Congress have the Power to Declare War, did you say anything?”
    “First they came for the comma in the Second Amendment, and I said nothing.”
    Take a look at this. The CIA itself found that between 50% & 70% if Gitmo ‘detainees’ are innocent. Read their names.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/documents/gitmo_detainees_051506.pdf
    The goggles & earmuffs are by definition torture, in plain view. Contrast that with American treatment of German POWs after WWII—and the life-long gratitude they felt for America, ever after. Iraq will NEVER settle down until WE behave in that same manner again.

    Reply

  14. DonS says:

    Appropos of Steve’s comment up thread, to wit:
    “pat and Alan — you both are right about the absence of accountability. I was among very few in DC, Anatol Lieven and a few others, who were — from the realist perspective — adamantly and publicly opposed to the Iraq invasion.
    “Our views then were considered fringe and the foreign policy avant-garde. Now they are conventional….and few have paid any price for their previous silence, cowardice, or incorrect position.
    . . . here’s a little quote on the doublethink that is shown towards those [of us], of whatever nominal political persuasion, who objected loudly and strenuously to the invasion of Iraq, and the lengths and breadth of twisted logic:
    http://www.eschatonblog.com/2008_05_04_archive.html#3194302843099110092
    Shall we say there continues near perfect amnesia and ongoing twisted logic by virtually the entire government/media establishment in the failure to acknowledge their complicity. Indeed, they hide behind silence or lame excuse e.g., we need not rehash the past, its so over.
    When WILL the obvious regain currency: that a thorough going examination of the crimes and misrepresentations — and the acquiescence of the aforesaid establishment in post 911 cowardice or well-intentioned gullibility (if one needs a fig leaf) — is needed to begin to purge the ignominious record.
    Confession IS good for the soul. History will not be kinder for all those who continue to choose to look the other way, hoping it will all go away while they hide in the shadows
    Still waiting.

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  15. Paul Norheim says:

    POA, Tony Foresta, and rich,
    I wanted to answer you earlier, but just after reading POA`s
    response, I lost my internet connection. I had the pleasure of
    reading the rest of your responses on my mobile phone, but
    would not even dream of trying to answer you through my
    phone, especially not with the current Captcha issues at TWN.
    Thus a rather long answer, as I`ve had plenty of time while
    waiting to be connected again, sitting quite comfortably here in
    the periphery, enjoying the “luxury of an outsider”.
    First to Tony Foresta:
    You can`t stop “challenging” people who even happen to agree
    with you once in a while, can you? They say that the memory of
    the average American is lousy. I don`t know anything about
    that, but at least yours is, Mr Foresta.
    The first time I responded to your writings, was a few weeks
    ago. You “challenged” and accused Steve Clemons of not saying
    in public what a motherfucking mafioso fascist bastard John
    Bolton was. Well, perhaps you were not aware of the fact that
    Steve C. is a strong opponent of John Bolton in public, and
    proud of being that, but I`m sure Mr. Bolton himself knows this
    very well. And I tried to tell you that. Then you “challenged” me
    as well, and demanded several things of me, if I “dared” to read
    this or that. When I responded to you, that I actually agreed with
    the obvious statement that there are clear fascist tendencies
    among several members of the current US Administration, you
    thanked me, claiming that I was the first commentator at TWN
    that had ever admitted this fact.
    Really? And if so, what is all this fuzz about? Now you`re
    “challenging” me again…
    What`s the point of this enormous generosity in spreading
    accusations to the right and to the left and to the center (and
    the lack of any other kind of generosity); what`s the point of
    these daily mantras when most commentators here actually
    agree with you? A fascist is a fascist is a fascist – yeah! Why
    should I bother “to counter in any meaningful way the points
    made”?
    “I challenge you to defend the fascists”. Why do you “humbly
    request” me or Steve to do that, Tony Foresta? Well, in the case
    of Steve C, it was perhaps his mentioning of certain good
    intentions among some neocons?
    Actually, I also happen to believe that they could not inflict so
    much evil without some serious good intentions or beliefs (in
    combination with imperial dreams, profit motives, hunger for
    power etc. etc), just like the ideologues supporting the British
    Empire also believed in doing something good (civilization etc).
    This is one of the components that creates the energy enabling
    all these horrible things. Also among the communists under
    Lenin and Stalin, as well as the nazis under Hitler, there were
    actually plenty of people with good intentions and naive faith in
    certain values. This is one of the facts that makes things
    complicated. George W. Bush believes in “good” and “evil” as
    absolute and completely separate entities, and you folks should
    not fall into the same trap. And you`ll never understand the
    neocon movement if you don`t see the component of
    “idealism”, as well as the radical background of these people, as
    central components in this fatal (and lethal) mixture called
    “neo-conservatism”.
    Is your mission, Tony Foresta, one day to convince the very
    humble working class hero Mr Wigwam, who recently
    considered to vote for John McCain, with the absurd argument
    that he disliked the social attitude (elite snobbery, or something
    like that) of Barack Obama AND Dan Kervick?!
    Using invectives is an art form, and I would recommend you to
    try to be a bit more inventive; more surprising, more – funny?
    When even some of you here, well aware of the misdeeds under
    the Bush years, are often spending enormous moral (and
    occasionally also intellectual) energy on blaming Steve Clemons
    for having opinions he actually does not have, how can anybody
    be surprised that the two candidates from the democratic party
    in the US are wasting so much energy on each other? Where is
    the focus?
    Yeah, yeah, me too is probably guilty of sometimes being
    provoked by something Mr. Clemons actually did not say. I
    don`t want to make him a hero, but sometimes I really admire
    his generous lack of resentment…
    I`m sorry, Mr. Foresta, but I don`t intend to “post my definition
    of fascism, and fascist ideology” right here. Thus I`ll probably
    not be able to enjoy the spectacle of watching you while you
    “shred (my, and Steve Clemons`) hollow and moot
    blandishments with mountains of well documented facts, truth,
    reality, and events in the field”. You say that you “double dear”
    us. Not enough. But if you triple dear me, perhaps I`ll give you
    a definition of fascism, for the sake of “sportsmanship” and
    seeing those precious mountains of well documented facts.
    You are a performer, Mr Foresta, an actor in the entertainment
    industry, creating the same boring theater performance at TWN
    every day, called “”The moment of Truth.” Quadruple dear me –
    “if you dare”. Or stop reading Hemingways metaphorical and
    dramatic descriptions of Toreros in Spain during the Franco
    regime. I recommend Robert Musil, Marcel Proust, or Thomas
    Mann as a cure. Or, if you are serious about invectives: Cèline
    or Thomas Bernhard.
    rich:
    I agree with most of what you`re saying here – also that “we
    already have got the condition of fear and terror.” But perhaps
    we disagree about the means?
    My point was that if some of the obvious culprits inside and
    outside the current White House Administration were brought
    to a court room, that may help improving the atmosphere in
    some of the formal and informal rooms mentioned above.
    Before that happens, there will be more than the usual amount
    of poison in the air.
    PissedOffAmerican:
    I don`t want to repeat myself. Hopefully, my answer to Tony
    Foresta can be read as a response to parts of your post.
    When I mentioned in an earlier post to TF that we actually
    already have a POA at TWN, I was not thinking about certain
    opinions, that you obviously share with a lot of pissed off
    commentators. I was rather thinking of a certain tone,
    vocabulary, and voice – perhaps also implying that he could do
    an effort to find his own voice.
    But in contrast to Tony F., dear POA, you are able to distinguish
    between the individual trees in a forest. You never confuse my
    positions with Steve Clemons`s, and then Clemons with Bolton,
    and Bolton with Himmler and Satan, making all of us more or
    less the same brown and evil fascist soup, as it frequently
    happens inside Forestas head. Or, if we are not fascists, we are
    ignorant about the evil of fascism, or neocon, or whatever, and
    have to be challenged, or double deared, if we dare, by Mr
    Foresta. That`s what I am talking about when I ask for nuances.
    You are one of the most big mouthed shouters, POA, but – and
    now I will shout to the rest of the readers at TWN: POA IS ALSO
    A GREAT LISTENER WHEN HE WANTS TO LISTEN! And he is able
    to change the timbre of his voice considerably, as well as
    showing inventiveness in selecting invectives. For this reason, I
    don`t stop reading when he starts rambling about the
    “monsters”, and then I often have the pleasure of reading a
    funny anecdote that fits into the context of the post, or some
    valuable information that he has discovered.
    The luxury of watching things as an outsider, the luxury of
    distance —
    I think you`re quoting myself using similar phrases in a recent
    post. In a geographical sense and concerning citizenship, this is
    correct: I am a Norwegian, living in a very peaceful and wealthy
    country (but not being wealthy myself). In a political sense, it
    may be a bit less correct: as members of NATO, we`ve sent a
    few soldiers to Afganistan, and reorganized our army: “fighting
    terrorism” is one of the recently declared new goals. The airport
    and sea port has changed considerably since 9/11 in my home
    town – security is stricter.
    “Peripheral interest” was not my words, but yours. And you`re
    right. However, given the power and presence of US military
    around the globe; its cultural, so called “soft” power; its
    economical and political power, one could really ask if anybody
    has the privilege of living in a periphery and the luxury of
    distance. In one sense, given the loyalty that both the socialist,
    and the conservative governments in Norway has shown to
    NATO and the US (“our close allies”) since World War II, one
    could perhaps rather speak about a certain luxury of proximity;
    some citizens here would certainly call it a curse, and not a
    blessing.
    My concerns regarding the USA, as a Norwegian and a European,
    are concerns that I may share with a lot of you Americans,
    though the angle may be slightly different. Some of these
    concerns may be formulated in big, general questions (a couple
    of them perhaps too big?); all of them more or less related to
    each other:
    1) Do the Bush jr. years actually represent a sign of weakness
    rather than strength, and will the pendulum swing more
    towards the opposite direction in the coming years?
    2) To which extent do the neocon movement, and the openly
    arrogant, imperial tendencies in words (did anyone mention the
    Kagan family?) and deeds during the recent years, represent an
    aberration, and to which extent a continuation of a significant
    current in American history and politics?
    3) How will – or rather: will the Americans deal with the
    misdeeds of the Bush Administration (and the mind set behind
    it) after it leaves office; or will they act as if it was just a bad
    dream and an unfortunate embarrassment, and leave the
    judgement to “history” – in accordance with W´s wishes?
    4) Have Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Feith, Rice, Abrams,
    Perle, Bremer & Co done so much harm in foreign politics and
    military strategies during these years, that even if a new
    Administration wanted to repair the damage, they would only
    inflict more harm during the coming years?
    5) If The Bush years represent a weakness, both domestically
    and internationally, will we then, instead of a swing of the
    pendulum, see even more, highly dangerous attempts to show
    “strength”, both in “inner matters” and globally?
    6) Will America reintroduce the draft?
    7) How big is the bill, not only in dead bodies, refugees, money,
    material damage and infrastructure, but also the future bill,
    presented perhaps 20 or 40 years from now, in rather
    unpleasant and unexpected ways – and will the Americans have
    any clue of why they are presented with that bill?
    8) If America is in decline, and the influence of powers like
    China and India is rising – what are the implications? (on this
    issue, both anti- and pro Americans around the world may get
    surprised.)
    9) Will the European Union go through a transformation, from
    being a rather peaceful organization formed by the experiences
    and lessons of horrible wars, towards a Superpower among
    other future Superpowers like China, India, USA and Russia,
    reintroducing, as a union, not only a big army, but also the
    clausewitzian notion that war is an extension of politics with
    other means?
    10) If our future world is a “multipolar world”, will we then see
    something resembling the horrible power struggle and frequent
    wars between the big European powers during several hundred
    years – but now on a global scale, with much more dangerous
    weapons, and with populations at risk counted not in millions,
    but billions?
    All these questions are more or less connected, and no one
    asking them have the luxury of distance in a strict sense. It`s all
    about proximity.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    Seems like the Pakistanis don’t want Gitmo’s torture general to take over the US command in Pakistan. And, surprise, the Pentagon agrees. Maybe the Pentagon is trying to avoid a greater embarrassment than it already is.
    How many more neocon legacies are just waiting to cascade on our heads?
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/09/world/asia/09general.html?hp

    Reply

  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    May 9, 2008
    The Silenced Majority
    No one wants another war – so why does it seem inevitable?
    by Justin Raimondo
    The first shots of what appears to be a renewed Lebanese civil war rang out three days ago as the U.S.-backed government cracked down on Hezbollah, the main opposition party, with a ban on the group’s private telecommunications network and the attempted ouster of an alleged sympathizer, Brig. Gen. Wafiq Shuqeir, as overseer of the Beirut airport. This is plainly meant as a provocation: Hezbollah, which fought off the Israelis during the 2006 war, is not about to give up its communications infrastructure. After all, it was Hezbollah, not the Lebanese army, that resisted the Israelis when they rained bombs down on Lebanese civilians, killing and maiming thousands, destroying homes, factories, and houses of worship. The army stayed in its barracks while Hezbollah fought for Lebanon. But no matter. The Lebanese government – with the Americans and the Israelis behind it – clearly wants a fight.
    That fight is part of a brewing regional battle that would leave the Middle East a cauldron of flame and blood. This dire prospect doesn’t deter the War Party: they have been waiting for this moment for years. It is their moment of triumph.
    As we ordinary folk go about our lives – paying bills, raising children, attending to the mundane and increasingly difficult everyday affairs that dominate our lives – our betters are planning a surprise. You might call it an October Surprise, although it may take place much sooner – rumor has it as early as summer.
    The second chapter in the Great Middle Eastern War is being written, and its authors in Washington have in mind an even more dramatic plot-line than we witnessed in chapter one, which was, of course, the invasion of Iraq. In the run-up to that conflict, we were told Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, links to al-Qaeda, and was getting ready to wreak havoc on our allies in the region – and even attack the United States. None of it turned out to be true, as we now know, but, as John McCain says, “we’re there now,” “we’re in it to win it” – and winning it apparently means extending the war to Iran.
    In a rerun of the cherry-picked “intelligence”-mongering of the pre-Iraq war years, we are being treated to a propaganda campaign that blames Iran for the failure of the “surge,” ignoring the inherent impossibility of subduing an occupied people. Ever since Judy Miller, the New York Times has been the neocons’ favorite venue for war propaganda, and now we have a new report from the Old Gray Lady that asserts Hezbollah is training Iraqi militias on the outskirts of Tehran.
    Here we have an all-inclusive stew that includes practically all the “bad guys”: Hezbollah, the Iraqi militias, and the Iranians. If we hear tomorrow that Osama bin Laden himself is personally instructing the attendees of this “training camp” and plotting another 9/11 with their assistance, no one wil be the least bit surprised. It’s Halloween in springtime: all the ghouls and goblins are out, haunting and gibbering and howling at the moon.
    With U.S. casualties up in the last month and the situation on the ground steadily worsening, the War Party is seizing the opportunity to target Tehran, positioning itself to launch Operation Iranian Freedom under the guise of “defending” our troops in Iraq. But first comes the provocation, the catalyzing incident that creates a “crisis” atmosphere and inspires our warmongers – and theirs – to act.
    Lebanon is a tinderbox, the Balkans of the Middle East, and the “government” – which is not quite a government, since it lacks a president – has lit the fuse. For 17 months, the two sides have been locked in a confrontation with little prospect for a peaceful resolution, and foreign hands – the Americans, the Israelis, the Iranians, the Syrians, the Saudis – are stirring the pot.
    Amid all this tumult and drama, as armed factions engage in street battles and a country that was once the jewel of the Middle East is blackened in the flames of war, what is the American interest? What does the United States have to gain by starting World War III?
    The answer is clearly nothing. War with Iran would put our troops in Iraq at risk and plunge the entire region into chaos: the economic consequences of this alone should be enough to deter us. Rumors of oil at $200 a barrel already have the markets roiling. Wait until you see what happens to prices when the Persian Gulf is impassable.
    Who benefits from such a war? Not the Lebanese, who have suffered enough over the years and want only to live in peace. Not the Iranians, either, who are stumbling under the weight of economic sanctions imposed at the instigation of the Western powers. And surely not the war-weary American people, who want out of Iraq and have no desire to “liberate” another unwilling candidate for “democratic” emancipation.
    Israel’s lobby in the U.S. has been calling for confrontation with Iran ever since “Mission Accomplished.” AIPAC, the powerhouse lobby for the Jewish state, has made the Iranian “threat” the centerpiece of its legislative and “educational” agenda. The Lobby’s neoconservative allies have been clamoring for a fresh conflict, using their key positions as columnists, publicists, think-tank gurus, and television talking heads to beat the drums for war. And those neocons still in positions of power in the government, centered in the office of the vice president, have been making the case inside the administration, with some success.
    Pre-Order this Book
    The people of Israel will also be big losers if – or, rather, when – war comes. The governing elites, on the other hand, have plenty to gain. In both Israel and the U.S., where pressing economic problems and continuing scandals threaten their grip on power, the elites will have a welcome respite from having to explain their failures, and a new “enemy” to pin the blame on. The rulers of both countries desperately want to change the subject, diverting the rising tide of anger away from themselves by conjuring up an external “threat.” Both regimes are in the midst of a political crisis and could use a good old-fashioned war to channel the frustrations and pent up hostility of their long-suffering citizens in a convenient direction. It’s the oldest trick in the book – and it’s working.
    We are in the midst of a presidential campaign season, yet not a single major candidate has pointed with alarm to the rather obvious fact that we are on the brink of a major military conflict. Indeed, two of them have welcomed this prospect, while the third – the Democratic front-runner, who owes his status to his antiwar credentials – has addressed the subject only indirectly.
    It’s like one of those dreams where you scream and no sound comes out, so that none can hear your cries for help. Peace advocates might as well be living ghosts, whose hands pass through solid matter and whose voices merge with the sighing of the wind. We are invisible and unheard: the Silenced Majority.
    ~ Justin Raimondo

    Reply

  18. jon says:

    Not vampires and werewolves? Prove it. I’ll bring the stakes.
    Who’s got the silver bullets? We’ll sort this one out.
    While the tropes of horror movies are attractive, I think that
    they’re inadequate to the actual situation. These folks more
    accurately comprise a fifth column, and are behaving
    traitorously towards the United States, its interests and to the
    Constitution. They are undermining the country.
    What has transpired over the past seven years has simply been
    the greatest calamity to befall the US since the war of 1812,
    when Washington DC was sacked and burned. Vietnam doesn’t
    come close. US wealth, power, prestige, it’s international
    objectives and ability to lead in the future from a position of
    moral authority (much less actual power projection) have all
    been eviscerated. The Israeli historian von Creveld is not sure if
    the invasion of Iraq was the worst military disaster of the past
    thousand years, or the worst in two thousand years.
    We have neocons to thank for this. They need to be held to
    account. We need to reverse these disasters. And we cannot
    forget what happened, and make sure it can never happen
    again.

    Reply

  19. rich. says:

    Paul Norheim,
    “The problem is that this element merges with the old aristocratic ways of life, power struggle, and “helping friends”. This is the reason why these events seem so intolerable to so events seem so intolerable to so many people, even in “normal times.” But if you get rid of these formal and less formal arrangements, I doubt that you get rid of the old injustice that
    Dan Kervick mentions above. Instead, I`m afraid that one would create a condition of fear and terror, and moral absolutism reminiscent of an infamous period of the French Revolution.”
    That’s nonsense. The point is not to get rid of such relationships. The point is to make sure they are functional. Rather than a tacit affirmation.
    First, we’ve already got that: the “condition of fear and terror,” ‘member? And the “moral absolutism.” No one’s asking for “moral absolutism”—just SOME moral compass, some responsiveness, some cost for blatant malfeasance.
    The whole point of having an America is to have civic and formal avenues for redress of grievances, for responding to the fascist and aristocratic tendencies you cite. That’s the middle ground.
    Silence in the face of verbal outrage and galling acts is always taken as affirmation by the offender.
    When disapproval falls into disuse, everyone pretends there’s no problem, and no one’s brought to heel—then the status quo becomes brittle—and all the more vulnerable to the militant regimes you fear.
    IF YOU’RE saying that civil and open discourse isn’t possible at all because it immediately defaults to another Reign of Terror, you’re dead wrong.
    The point of legitimate, open policy dialogue and honest social circles isn’t to get Kagan & ilk, it’s to ensure the prevailing status quo never generates enough legitimate outrage and never gets so brittle that it reaches a breaking point with the potential to usher in just such a harsher administration you cite.
    Calling for reasonable accountability can’t be misnamed an unseemly or barbaric position: the shoe’s on the other foot.

    Reply

  20. TonyForesta says:

    Word POA, and one thousand thanks. And in answer to your query Paul Norheim, – “And frankly, I`m a bit fed up of seeing the same text every day,
    signed Tony Foresta, accusing and “challenging” in exactly the
    same tone, regardless of who you are challenging – John Bolton,
    Dick Cheney or Steve Clemons: they all look like Heinrich
    Himmler to you, don`t they?”
    – The answer is YES.
    YES!
    YES, they do exactly and precisely “all look like Heinrich
    Himmler”. Again I challenge you to look beyond my language, and dare to answer the questions, or retort the message I and people like POA, rich and others are delivering.
    Your focus is on sliming our delivery, while ignoring the underlying message, or bothering to counter in any meaningful way the points made.
    I challenge you to defend the fascists, or socalled neocons on any grounds, and again – with all due respect ask you to answer the original question to – {“…present here on your (this) blog one single well meaning effort, or one good thing the Bush government has provided the American people in seven years. Words and promises are hollow and moot. What deeds, what actual benefits have working Americans enjoyed under the Bush government? Name one?”
    It is a simple question that I humbly request that you, or Steve, or anyone here answer.
    Or if you are not so inclined please dare to post your definition of fascism, and fascist ideology, and practice for all to see, – and I will shred your hollow and moot blandishments with mountains of well documented facts, truth, reality, and events in the field proving that the socalled neocons and the ruling orders of the Bush government are in fact fascists. Answer the question. I double dare you.
    You cannot, and you will not as we all know refute these issues on the merits, – but choose instead to attack the language and slime the messenger, and the message as unseemly or uncivil.
    Again I ask you in the spirit of good citizenship, sportsmanship, and with all due respect, – “What is worse Paul Northeim, – my language, or the Bush governments actions?”)
    Please if you dare, answer the question.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “After all; there is actually a POA here
    already, isn`t there?”
    Yikes.
    I don’t know Paul. Yeah, Tony is quite repetitive in his prose. But honestly, I think he is one of the few here that “gets it”, and understands what is happening, and what lengths these people are willing to go to in order to maintain their grasp on power.
    You have admitted in the past that your interest in this is somewhat peripheral, and that you have the luxury of viewing this from the outside. You’re in Norway, I believe?
    Tony and my situation, as you know, is quite different. We are here, and we both believe that our government is not at all what it purports itself to be, and is, in fact, actively engaged in crimes of an inhuman nature. Personally, thats really as far as I can speak for Tony. But for myself, I believe this government, or a small cadre of monsters within the government, is capable of murdering a large number of American citizens in order to advance its aims, and may well be on the verge of doing just that. I do not believe that me or mine mean any more to them than the million or so Iraqi citizens that they have murdered these past five years.
    Your implication is that one “POA” here is not indicative of a general concensus. Yet, if you read this thread, and you reflect on the tone of the comments, the only unique aspect of my anger is that I have chosen to openly label myself as angry. Surely you cannot have missed the fact that an overwhelming number of the posters here are angry, disappointed, dissillusioned, and openly critical of our so-called “leaders”. I am not the only pissed off American here.
    Tony Foresta says what needs to be said, because its the truth. You might not like his delivery, or the repetitive nature of his rhetoric, but you would be hard pressed to convince this pissed off American that he doesn’t speak the truth. I wish more people could grasp what he so obviously understands. We are truly in deep shit here in the United States, and Tony and I don’t have the luxury of watching from a distance. Eight years of no accountability has opened the door to further evil, and I have no doubt that we will soon dreadfully rue the folly of allowing the abuses of these past eight years.
    You enjoy nuance, and are fond of mentioning Tony’s or my exclusion of nuance. But there is no nuance to dead. Dead is dead. And if you can find the nuance in that, than try to tell the victims of Bush and Cheney about the shades of gray you can find in their murders. Dead or alive. There’s no in between, is there?
    Remember, someday they might decide Norway has something they want.

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    What I dislike, Tony Foresta, is that you are taking hostages.
    You know as well as the rest of us that Steve C. does not like
    the actions of Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Addington, Yoo, Bolton,
    Libby, etc. etc. during the last 8 years, and that he has criticized
    them in hundreds of posts at TWN.
    But still, you have the habit of “challenging” him, and me, and
    anybody who perhaps do not agree 100 % (but perhaps 75%?)
    with what you say, and seem to demand a certain non-
    compromising, serious, absolute way of criticizing “the fascists”
    – the same accusatory style or manner that you are performing
    in all of your comments, that reminds me of a certain, sectarian
    kind of accusatory prose common in the USSR during Stalin, or
    in various European Churches during religious wars centuries
    ago. I see this as a fanatical, moralistic language that gives no
    room for anyone that don`t smell like themselves. This is
    hostage taking on a spiritual level: no room for reflection,
    distance, nuance, irony, humor – put shortly: no room.
    I guess that you will claim that I don`t like “socialists” or are
    accusing you of being a “marxist” without knowing what Marx
    said (just as you did in an other post a few weeks ago, without
    knowing anything about me.)
    But that`s wrong: I can assure you that I actually enjoy reading
    Marx in German – so don`t waste more time on that suspicion.
    Say what you think you have to say, also when you disagree
    with Steve Clemons. But don`t demand of the rest of us to say it
    the same way as you do. After all; there is actually a POA here
    already, isn`t there?
    And frankly, I`m a bit fed up of seeing the same text every day,
    signed Tony Foresta, accusing and “challenging” in exactly the
    same tone, regardless of who you are challenging – John Bolton,
    Dick Cheney or Steve Clemons: they all look like Heinrich
    Himmler to you, don`t they?

    Reply

  23. TonyForesta says:

    Sizzling commentary rich.

    Reply

  24. rich. says:

    Hilarious exchange, and thanks for sharing.
    Zombies, though.
    Please suggest to Mr. Campbell that he may find Zombies pleasingly appropriate.
    Neocons—like Zombies—are the Un-Dead. They just keep getting jobs in D.C.
    Worse, Zombies dine on the brains of the living, and Neocons similarly cause nearby peers and interlocutors to lose their rational faculties. Seem to feed off the chagrin of the principled, in fact.
    Seriously, I respect those in the room because when you know Kagan is to be in attendance, I’d show up as counterweight too.
    I watched Kagan’s bloody-minded Iraq War cheerleading very very closely, and it’s no surprise he’s turned tail, reputation in tatters, and disappeared from the public stage. The lies and sophistry he doled out—transparent in real time—were reckless and worse.
    It was never about national security or the national interest.
    Granted, maintaining intact social relations may be the better course of valor when you want to remain at the table.
    But there has to be an avenue, an effective stinging public forum, for excoriating Mr. Kagan, as well as his employers. That is only his, and their, due. Why?
    Think about it. Mr. Ayers is ostracized, ridiculed and rhetorically lynched—yet he only pointed out what George Washington knew and premised his entire life upon: commit crimes against your fellow man, and the chickens WILL come home to roost.
    Robert Kagan is one who sent those chickens out and brought ’em home to roost. Kagan’s duplicity cost America blood and treasure, and radically departed from George Washington’s measured principles.
    Yet Ward Churchill lost his job; Robert Kagan is still employed. That’s an endemic problem. For D.C., and for this country. And we need to shed some light on what’s at the root of it.
    Churchill merely pointed out the intrinsic irresponsibility of neocon thinking ; merely identified the Realpolitik consequences of foreign policies that deviate from foundational principles.
    There has to be some cost meted out to Mr. Kagan for the damage he inflicted on this country. In the professional arena and in terms of social standing. He didn’t listen to us—and America paid a heavy price.
    That’s not Steve’s or Campbell’s job, though, even if the laughable quality of Mr. Kagan’s analysis has been irretrievably exposed, and Kagan still does quite nicely.
    Yet Kagan sits somewhere, shaping policy at some polished desk; Wormtongue. Does this qualify as the required corrective? An America that cannot steer an adequate course correction after foundering so badly .. . is headed for rougher waters than we’ve seen thus far.
    So remember: Zombies eat your brains!
    Make a Mental Note of it. Make a Washington Note. But do try to keep them in separate piles.

    Reply

  25. TonyForesta says:

    While it is comforting that you ‘…happen to agree with him”, on the message, – it also disquieting that you take such offense to my repetitive language. Look up the word fascist, compare with the Bush government policies, ideologies and practices, and get back to me. I repeat these mantra’s because they are true and based on obvious facts, and what some people call factbasedreality. If you disagree with this assessment, please with all due respect, present your retort. If not, then you agree with me, but do not like the harsh and biting, some might say incendiary language. Here again, you displeasure is targeting the delivery of the message, and ingoring the factbasedreality, that the socalled neocons are in fact FASCIST, and that the fascists in the Bush government have ruthlessly mangled, dismembered, and reengineered America, our core principles, the rule of law, and the Constitution, and profiteered wantonly in and from the perfidious process.
    I will repeat these claims until they are defeated, because they are true, and based on facts, and actual practical reality and events in the field.
    I repeat the query above offered to our humble host, – which remains ignored and unanswered, – because the terrible bloody, costly crimes are left unpunished, lies are hoisted as truth, and truth slime as unpatriotic conspiracy theory, heroes and combat veterens are slimed as antiAmerikan, and chickenhawk draftdodgers, pampered pappasboyz, and cheerleaders are exalted as righteous christian warrior doing godzwill and wearing flag pins. I repeat the query above because nothing changes!
    “I challenge you sir to present here on your blog one single well meaning effort, or one good thing the Bush government has provided the American people in seven years. Words and promises are hollow and moot. What deeds, what actual benefits have working Americans enjoyed under the Bush government? Name one?”
    Nothing changes!
    And as long as nothing changes, I will continue raising these issues, and challenging the Bush governments unabated nazification of America, and defending my right to “…petition the government for redress of grievances.”
    What is worse Paul Northeim, – my language, or the Bush governments actions?

    Reply

  26. Don Bacon says:

    Actually US aggression goes back to the first colonies, through the likes of Polk, McKinley and Wilson to Bush43.

    Reply

  27. Paul Norheim says:

    Alan,
    I`m not sure if you read the whole post I wrote. If you read it
    closely, you may perhaps come to the conclusion that I agree
    more than I disagree with you. Especially my last paragraph
    above. And when I quoted you, it was basically meant as an
    approval, and not with polemical intentions.
    But I admit that i look at this issue as more complex than some
    of the other readers here. And I don`t see how I would add
    anything by, like, say Tony Foresta, monotonously accusing
    several (in)famous officials for being fascists (and 10 other bad
    things) in 9 out of 10 sentences in 1000 out of 1000 posts: it`s
    just bad prose, even if I happen to agree with him, and it does
    not change anything, nor does it add anything to anyone`s
    political or moral insight.
    However, if you reread my post above, you would have no
    problem seeing that I actually have an “idea of the disaster that
    the neocons have wrought”. But that`s not the point here.
    And regarding your last post, JohnH: well said!

    Reply

  28. JohnH says:

    These kinds of dinners and informal meetings are essential to doing the people’s business. The problem arises–as we have seen for the past seven years–when the people’s business gets hijacked for the hidden agenda, whether ideological or commercial. Then private, non-transparent dealings become the vehicle for advancing the special interest and concocting pretenses and the cover stories. If anything, neo-cons excel at ignoring the public interest, pursuing hiddend agendas and lying about their motives. It’s been part of the fabric of the foreign policy/security establishment ever since America began maintaining its gigantic standing armies after WWII. And it’s part of the beltway mindset that must be purged if we are to become a free, honorable people again.

    Reply

  29. Pat says:

    Alan: I think you made that point and Steve acknowledges it. These seminars, gatherings and other events where food and drink oil the discussions is very much part of our culture. Perhaps Steve would encourage the German Ambassador to have his next gathering in Baghdad : in the German Embassy compound. Maybe it will inrtoduce a dose of reality. As part of the humour Kagan should be asked to venture out into the Baghdad street market and buy himself a carpet. Surely he can do that now that the surge is so successful.

    Reply

  30. Alan says:

    Paul: I think my point is that it is one thing to deal across the table with foreign entities. One pockets one’s reservations and represents one’s country.
    But when it comes to the Neocons you are dealing with your own. After 5 years of disasters in Iraq how do you sit at a table with Kagan and listen to his arguments? Haven’t you any idea of the disaster that the neocons have wrought? I have no problem with Steve thinking that this is a source of some amusement: you know insiders ribbing one another.
    But until I hear a convincing case of why so many Iraqi lives were lost in pursuing an American goal to bring stability to Iraq I take the position that cosy meetings with like minded fellow academics bring all those who attend into disrepute.
    Now this may be too strong a condemnation. I guess Steve was doing a tongue in cheek job. But tell me, how many Iraqis have to die while these meetings are being held in various salubrious venues usually attended by drinks and a dinner.

    Reply

  31. David says:

    susan correctly describes the Iraq Warcrime.
    I do, however, want Steve at these gatherings, and I do want to know about them. I read the bit about the tie in the context of the way I see Kagan, and so saw it as an effyou, Kagan. The neocons, unfortunately, really are not so much an aberration as the manifestation of our worst geopolitical selves. And sadly, Americans like war. They just don’t like losing. I will never forget the scene from the bar in Atlanta when Gulf War I started. The people were cheering the bombing. I doubt the majority of Americans could ever comprehend that Iraq is a war crime, and I think they would cheer the neocons if our guys were winning. Even the damned embedded journalists thought the war was pretty cool at the beginning, when our team was rolling like a rout in a rivalry football game.
    My chuckle came from the image of Kagan out of sorts. Pity his head didn’t explode. But we do need the neocons to speak up, the more freely the better. Would that more people on Main
    Street were conversant with the PNAC, McCain’s actual military mindset, and Teddy Roosevelt wanting a war because he thought it would be good for the country. The more we know, the better. It at least offers the opportunity for insight.

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    Steve,
    Thanks for doing all this and communicating with us in a more courteous way than we sometimes communicate with you. That’s class.
    Regarding neocons I don’t subscribe to the school that characterizes them as some sort of American aberration. There is too much evidence to the contrary, unfortunately.
    As far as your socializing habits I say go for it. I’d rather hang out with my hiking buddies and depend upon you for the insider stuff. You wouldn’t find me dead in Herr Ischinger’s drawing room, but if I did show up and told them what I think then I might be. It’s better you go.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    “Having been a regular at such events (but not in Washington, I
    hasten to add) I realise that a lot of good work can be done
    informally, barriers broken and friendships cemented which can
    be very useful in times of crises. I hav been able to use such
    friendships in crisis management because one gets on the
    phone and sorts things out before irrevocable commitments or
    decisions are made.” (Alan)
    One could argue that “such events”- and diplomacy in general
    as well – are parts of the bigger discourse that is an essential
    part of democracy, in a habermasian sense. The problem is that
    this element merges with the old aristocratic ways of life, power
    struggle, and “helping friends”. This is the reason why these
    events seem so intolerable to so many people, even in “normal
    times.” But if you get rid of these formal and less formal
    arrangements, I doubt that you get rid of the old injustice that
    Dan Kervick mentions above. Instead, I`m afraid that one would
    create a condition of fear and terror, and moral absolutism
    reminiscent of an infamous period of the French Revolution. For
    this reason, I`m with Steve Clemons here.
    On the other hand, these are not “normal times”. These
    social/political events become more grotesque exactly because
    some of the participants are co-responsible for an illegal war,
    occupation, the death of at least several hundred thousand
    innocents, torture, millions of refugees, and at the same time
    considering to escalate the conflict to other parts of the region.
    For this reason, the main culprits within and outside the Bush
    administration should answer for their actions in a court room.
    Then the events referred to above would be less unbearable.

    Reply

  34. jonst says:

    Steve,
    How I wish your view (and mine)was now the “conventional wisdom”. Your still on the outside Steve. Their’s may be wrong….but it is still conventional. You? They dislike you all the more because you correct. Yours is, for better or worse, a reasoned and rational view. That is not the conventional view these days in DC. It is ‘reason and rationality’ they disdain.

    Reply

  35. susan says:

    To call the occupation “wrong” does not come close to capturing the enormity of the immorality involved. Our actions are monstrous. We have unquestionably committed a war crime (indeed, an endless series of war crimes), and a crime against humanity.
    Too many Americans have yet to confront the moral implications of invading and occupying Iraq. U.S. officials continue to exhort the American people to judge the war and occupation on whether it proves to be “successful” in establishing “stability” and “democracy” in Iraq. If so, the idea will be that the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis, including countless Iraqi children, will have been worth it.
    It would be difficult to find a more morally repugnant position than this.
    That the architects of this war are holding parties and Steve not only reports on them, but urges those of us who are sickened and outraged over such joviality to “loosen up a bit” is beyond offensive.
    “We still have judgement here, that we but teach
    Bloody instructions which, being taught, return
    To plague th’inventor.”

    Reply

  36. BillB says:

    FWIW, Steve, one of my favorite Dem bloggers here in Las Vegas has been referring to Hillary Clinton as “The Borg” for some time now – ever since just before the Nevada caucuses at least.
    Check it out – the Las Vegas Gleaner – it is hilarious, witty, sarcastic – focused mainly on Nevada/Vegas issues but some funny national commentary too.

    Reply

  37. JohnH says:

    Kagan and the neo-cons have to be part and parcel of the “message force multiplier” effort managed by Rumsfeld and DOD to commit psyops against the American people on cable and network TV.
    Instead of taking intellectual jabs at their likes during elite dinner parties, someone should be authorized to interrogate them (harshly if necessary) until they tell us who is funding and coordinating all their nonsense. They have seriously undermined American democracy, and their fuhrers should be held to account.

    Reply

  38. Steve Clemons says:

    If I could have fun with John Bolton this way, I’d buy him a tie. Dont
    take the tie-buying so seriously. There is a major divide in these
    foreign policy circles. Buying Bob Kagan a tie highlights rather
    than hides the foreign policy divide. I get your point though
    Bethie…thanks for the note!
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  39. Bethie says:

    I think, Steve, the issue here that I, at least, find so distasteful is that this just reminds us why they are so successful in their adment refusal to admit their failures. We can’t say it in private, we can’t say in in a diplomatic ribbing, we can’t say it at all. If we have the bad manners to point out the complete breakdown of their policies these guys take their ball and go home. And it is always put up with in DC. We, the unwashed masses, are sick of the behavior – in the Senate, in the Whitehouse, in the media – we are sick of it and we don’t think we should run to apologize anymore. It is not bad manners to be right. And we just reenforce their behavior by buying them ties.

    Reply

  40. Dan Kervick says:

    Yes, no doubt many of the people at the ambassador’s dinner – even the Americans – know a thing or two about socialism. The neoconservatives in particular trace their intellectual lineages back to European traditions with important socialist roots.
    But it just dumbfounds me when someone like Steve would profess not to understand why it is that so many people would be irritated by the fact that their destinies, and the destinies of many of the rest of the world’s peoples, appear to be hashed out at posh private dinners among an insular, well-heeled and affluent elite, who all seem to get along with each other remarkably well even as they disagree about the best means for dominating the lower orders of society.
    I mean, even if one profoundly *disagrees* with socialist prescriptions for society, surely the concepts of class antagonism, suspicion of elites and *resentiment* are not mysterious, novel phenomena in human history. Steve must, at least, have heard about the French Revolution and Russian Revolution from time to time.

    Reply

  41. G Hazeltine says:

    It doesn’t matter what you call them.
    Col. Pat Lang: “End Game in Beirut”
    “In Jerusalem the Olmert government seeks an opening to settle
    its problem with Syria. Bashar Assad seems to want the same
    thing. Cheney is said to have arrived in Israel with the message
    that the Bush Administration rejects the conclusions of last
    year’s NIE on Iran in favor of some mysterious and super secret
    “evidence” that the Israelis supposedly have that contradicts the
    NIE. Olmert’s government is now threatened with removal. What
    a coincidence!”
    Colonel Lang from the comments “The worst case is civil war in
    Lebanon followed by Israeli war against Syria (necessary since
    UN forces are in the way in Lebanon. Remember the French have
    brought a lot of equipment this time)Left hook from syria into
    Lebanon. No US participation unless a “crisis” with Iran
    emerges.”
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/05/e
    nd-game-in-bei.html
    Missing Links – “The campaign against Hizbullah tracks the
    campaign against the Mahdi Army”
    “… In Lebanon, as in Iraq, this is an attempt by the US and its
    agents to try and strip the major nationalist groups of their
    nationalist credentials, and turn the story into one of sectarian
    gang-fighting and nothing else.…”
    http://arablinks.blogspot.com/
    Syria Comment – “By Provoking Hizbullah, Is Washington Hoping
    for a Showdown?”
    Joshua Landis, from the comments: “If march 14 does not back
    down, it will be because Washington is pushing for a
    confrontation with Hizbullah because it believes that the next
    administration will turn the page on Lebanon and Hizbullah will
    become a permanent piece of the furniture in Lebanon.
    The strategy behind the 2006 war was to force Siniora’s
    government to confront Hizbullah. It did not and Israel-
    America’s strategy got lost.
    Now the Siniora government is being pushed to confront
    Hizbullah. That is my hunch.”
    http://joshualandis.com/blog/?p=704
    Steve – This is all concocted here, by Elliot Abrams and his
    friends, who may feel that they running out of time. The
    consequences could be very very bad. Would you please devote
    some attention to it, soon?

    Reply

  42. TonyForesta says:

    “We all stand our ground — but we also don’t overpersonalize all of this so that we lose our ability to laugh, to persuade, to seduce, to cajole. to wrestle, or try to bring the other side to our own.”
    That is funny Steve. Real comedy, and excellent use of irony. Of course, in the context of the neocon cabals who lasciviously and swifty resort to sliming our fellow Americans including decorated combat veterens as unpatriotic-anti-American-Frenchloving-lunatics-giving-aid-and-comfort-to-the-enemy for daring to voice opposition to, or raise questions of, or dissent with, or challenge neocon policies and machinations – there is also the rank hypocrisy of these same neocons whining and crying about opponents being meanspririted and uncivil. The hyporcrisy would be hilarious were it not so distrubing.
    That said your advise to smile a little is well taken and appreciated. It is all too easy in the face of all these horrors, crisis, and the rank deceptions, abuses, perversions, betrayals, treasons, and the unaccoutability, and the wanton profiteering, and the direct impact many of these horrors have on my daughters future, and my present, – to fall into a state of bitter resentment. The neocons have all but destroyed America. Powerlessness, deprivation, financial stress, job concerns, and the systemic lawlessness of our socalled leadership breeds hopelessness. It is important to find some levity, and there is something noble in finding the means to keep smiling in the the face of dread concerns, dire consequences, and pending calamity.
    Peace, and a thousand thanks.

    Reply

  43. Zathras says:

    This particular dinner is reported to have been held at the residence of the German ambassador to the UK, which suggests to me that at least some of the people there must have been “literate” in the great intellectual tradition of socialism.
    But probably not real socialism, the kind Europe used to have. Damn that Gorbachev anyway.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve, I’m surprised you are surprised about the disdain for dinners, parties and gatherings. Didn’t you ever learn anything about theories of class conflict in the course of your education? I mean, you worked for a Democratic Senator once, so I’m sure you must have at least encountered lefty egalitarian ideologies and theories in political economy about class, exploitation and possibilities for radical restructuring of our economic practices. Those ideas are still popular among significant elements of the Democratic community, even if not so much in the mainstream.
    There is a rather large intellectual tradition, broadly called “socialism”, in which which most people outside the United States at least are literate, and that sees our whole inegalitarian setup as an exploitative racket. Some are compelled to live less well than they could, so that others, who have seized the social power to make the key decisions on the creation, acquisition and distribution of wealth, can live much much better than they need to.
    Taking this perspective provides a particular perspective on elite confabs, whether in Washington, Hollywood, Brussels, Riyadh or Paris. One reason the people at those gatherings are able to do so well for themselves is that they have others fighting, dying, torturing and killing for them, and helping US (or non-US) business interests accumulate wealth around the world. The servants who are doing this fighting and killing will come home from Iraq, and will no doubt be invited to various parties and thanksgiving dinners themselves. But I suspect relatively few of them will enjoy the sorts of stylish accommodations and menus that can be provided by German ambassadors for people like Robert Kagan and Kurt Campbell.
    A lot of the people in that room are quite literally, from my perspective, torturers and murderers – although they are more involved in the planning, enabling and funding end of torture and murder rather than the hands-on aspects of those activities. It’s interesting that few of the other people in the room seem to think of the former as torturers and murderers. They think of them as “colleagues”. For them, neoconservativism is just a bad set of “policy choices”, at worst, or even just a big joke. “Nyah, nyah. You’re down and we’re up now.”
    Here you are signing letters about how much Americans should pay for gas. And yet just a couple of weeks ago you were a guest of the fabulously wealthy and corrupt Al-Saud family-state. Don’t you see any reason why people might look askance at that? Couldn’t it be that if the Saudis threw a few less parties for themselves, and for their international friends, or if when they held these gatherings they held them at more modest venues, or served somewhat less expensive food, they might be able to pass those savings on to their global customers?. Of course, the amount of money they use to fete you and other visitors is just a drop in the bucket compared to what they spend on themselves. When a person who is paying 10% or 20% of his annual income to fill his car up with gas, don’t you think he has some reason to be miffed at people who own the oil they are buying, and who are charging prices for that oil that allow them to enjoy levels of luxury far in excess of what any person reasonably needs to live?
    Some of the people in that room at the German ambassador’s residence are also, as you well know, war profiteers. They make sizable fortunes investing in, consulting for and selling the technological products that are then used to kill tens of thousands of actual, living human beings. When the bombs fell on those human beings, I wonder what they were eating and what kinds of houses they were in?
    Doesn’t the grotesque difference between haves and have nots in this world ever fill you with any moral doubt or perplexity, Steve? I’m not trying to be morally superior here. I often look at the food I eat, or the car I drive or the house I live in and ask myself what justifies me in having what I have when so many other seemingly good and deserving human beings have so much less.

    Reply

  45. Strangely Enough says:

    Laughing on a pile of corpses, all the way to the bank.
    “Ronald Reagan… set a different example”
    Of sleeping through his presidency? Or of outsourcing the torture, killing, and other sundry nastiness?

    Reply

  46. Zathras says:

    The original premise of the Borg arc was that the Borg were interested only in assimilating technology from conquered worlds; assimilating people was incidental. So the analogy to the neoconservatives’ passion for the commitment in Iraq is a stretch.
    That aside, I speak as a longtime observer and periodic participant in Republican politics in the era of the Bush family when I say that they are surprisingly insular and humorless. The greater number of Republicans are terrified of offending people within the group, and the higher-ups within the group have come to feel they have a right not to be offended. In this, Republican politics have come to reflect some of the less admirable characteristics of the Bush family itself.
    Ronald Reagan, and for that matter Bob Dole, set a different example, but the GOP isn’t their party anymore. It doesn’t surprise me at all that someone like Robert Kagan would react badly to what, all things considered, was fairly mild needling. Having become used to deference, flattery and periodic adulation in the circles he usually frequents, he appears to have been just a little sensitive when exposed to something else. That’s life.

    Reply

  47. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Unquestionably, tribute be given to Robert Kagan for chartering his defense regarding neocons’ foreign policy doctrine, yet neutral thinkers and peace -strategist may highly be justified in forming their prompt reservations over Kagan’s thesis.

    Reply

  48. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — thanks for that Cuba item on Carriles. That is outrageous. Thanks much,
    steve

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hahaha, I’ll tell you whats REALLY funny, a million dead, and these rube citizens out there that are buying this shit about the GWOT. Hahaha, did I tell you about dismembered baby limbs and sodomized sand niggers??? Hahaha.
    Pssst, hey buddy, wanna buy a gross of clusterbombs? Here, you just trust Uncle Sammy, I promise, this is good shit.
    http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/itsonlyfair/latimes0273.html
    Luis Posada Carriles, a terror suspect abroad, enjoys a ‘coming-out’ in Miami
    A dinner with 500 fellow Cuban exiles honors the militant and former CIA operative, now 80 and still wanted in Venezuela on terrorism charges.
    By Carol J. Williams
    Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

    Reply

  50. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, Steve….
    You have surely read enough of my posts to realize that I have an active sense of humor, and can find amusement in some pretty macabre settings.
    But, quite frankly, on this one, I don’t get it.
    I find this gathering, and its description, obscene and evil on a level that cannot tolerate “levity”. I see the scale of mayhem, misery, maiming, murder, and misdeeds that these people have committed to be well on a par with the Holocaust, and I believe that when it is all said and done the death toll may well far far exceed that exacted by Adolph Hitler. These people do not deserve the forgiving luxury of “levity” for their crimes and immorality no more than Idi Amin does.
    I find this “celebration” of monsters and monstrous thought to be in extremely bad taste, and a real harbinger of the evil we have yet to realize from these elitist world class criminals.
    I have gathered you don’t have children. Perhaps if you did you would realize the depth of the revulsion I feel for these people.

    Reply

  51. DonS says:

    Sorry POA, don’t know, and an not familiar. I was rather small potatoes on the other side of the continent (DC). That is, after saving my own ass from the draft (a matter of years of effort) I passed on some of my familiarity with the regs and process to others as needed. Who said law school was a total waste! (BTW, as you probably know, the decisions to go or to fight the draft were never easy, and there was a world of difference between the Cheney’s and those who spoke out)

    Reply

  52. Steve Clemons says:

    DonS — very cool! Thanks for your responce.
    pat and Alan — you both are right about the absence of accountability. I was among very few in DC, Anatol Lieven and a few others, who were — from the realist perspective — adamantly and publicly opposed to the Iraq invasion.
    Our views then were considered fringe and the foreign policy avant-garde. Now they are conventional….and few have paid any price for their previous silence, cowardice, or incorrect position.
    best, steve

    Reply

  53. pat says:

    Steve: I have absolutely no problem with a sense of humour, with levity and with the need to keep talking to those who are on the opposite side of an issue. Indeed one simply needs to do precisely that instead of always being in a company of co-thinkers.
    But I must say that I find Alan’s point compelling. No one seems to pay a price for anything so disastrous as the Iraq War except those who opposed it: Shinseki? Batiste? I recall that the French Ambassador to the US was given a hard time by his DOD neighbour, Mr Rumsfeld: aloof and all that. We need to keep in mind that the establishment (for want of another word) has taken a cudgel to its opponents. So keeping lines of communication open may sound great: but with whom? I certainly would not give Mr Kagan the time of day for anything he has to say about Iraq.

    Reply

  54. PissedOffAmerican says:

    DonS…..
    What ever happened to Max Guest??? Are you aware of him?
    He was an attorney, kept an office in the Century Towers in downtown Los Angeles, (Century City). Guy was one hell of a wizard at saving 60’s and 70’s kids from becoming cannon fodder.

    Reply

  55. DonS says:

    Steve,
    I did not express myself clearly enough. I applaude YOUR lighter touches. They don’t offend me at all; keep it up.
    Its the actors you portray who I find offensive; not that I excpect they would see that within their own consciences.
    I graduated high school, college, law school, etc. amongst middle upper class folks (northeast “elite”, thugh my mom was an immigrant); most of whom became high achievers in business or other fields. A good buddy from high school was McCain’s ’00 finance guru. We reconnected a few years back, but I find it hard to want to keep those connections; its like different universes. I have for the last 25 years or so been in the public mental health field and, while I am no sucker for a lot of sad stories (and I recognize the rule of karma to some extent), I see a current spike in broken lives. Rather serious.
    Anyway, pardon that personal diversion.
    Keep the light stuff coming. Its a good reminder.

    Reply

  56. Steve Clemons says:

    DonS..I do get your point, but seriously, I’ve posted somewhere around 3000 articles on this blog since starting it — and I am “serious” lots and lots of the time. No one who is a regular reader would doubt my resolve on the importance of getting American foreign policy back on the right track.
    I think that humor is an under utilized tactic to shine a light on some of the big issues of the day — and we in DC who are engaged in this battle must deal with each other day in and day out on tough issues. We all stand our ground — but we also don’t overpersonalize all of this so that we lose our ability to laugh, to persuade, to seduce, to cajole. to wrestle, or try to bring the other side to our own.
    Yes, I get it — it’s a dark world, and some of you — not all I should add as my email is full of applause this morning — but I choose in this case to laugh at a great encounter. I worked hard to get this info out — and I admire Kurt Campbell for the levity he showed….it’s just a great story.
    Loosen up a bit — and be serious when your seriousness can have an impact. I don’t think that that case is now.
    best, steve

    Reply

  57. DonS says:

    Steve, the problem with the levity, for me, is its inappropriateness in the face of the sheer evil perpetrated by so-called “well meaning” individuals. “A grateful nation” indeed.
    Just because the consensus reality obediently reflects the PR borg doesn’t make it acceptable, as you know.
    But then I’m from the Vientnam generation — in fact I’m a draft dodger and an anti-draft “counselor” at the time. And you know how out of touch a bunch of pinko commies we are. 50,000 plus dead for that little bit of back slapping foreign policy fiasco.
    So let’s all have a good laugh. Its a question of who is taking things too seriously? Someone’s gotta man the ship, even if its heading straight to hell, I guess.

    Reply

  58. jonst says:

    “on behalf of a grateful nation”?!!!! And what nation would that be? One that is celebrating a birthday, recently? And less than the majority of the people in that nation….I dare speculate.
    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Reply

  59. Alan says:

    Steve: I appreciate your generous attitude towards comments. Having been a regular at such events (but not in Washington, I hasten to add) I realise that a lot of good work can be done informally, barriers broken and friendships cemented which can be very useful in times of crises. I hav been able to use such friendships in crisis management because one gets on the phone and sorts things out before irrevocable commitments or decisions are made.
    In the case of Iraq or Iran, for that matter, I have lost all patience with the denizens of the FP establishment in the US. What is Kagan doing still peddling his prescriptions? Don’t people question his credibility? Don’t people look at the consequences of his Iraq policy? Is no price ever paid for this tragic episode in US history? Is this tragedy now a subject of in house jokes?
    Now if you told me that the key figures in the NeoCon pro-Iraq War group are serving as orderlies at an Army Health Centre helping the wounded and the maimed from Iraq I would be disposed to think again.
    I return to the fundamental question: has any academic ( O’Hanlon, Pollack ) the Kagans, husband, wife and brother, Kristol etc paid any price? Shouldn’t they?

    Reply

  60. Steve Clemons says:

    Alan — thanks for your comment. I have to say though that I don’t understand the personalization that many commenters feel a need to share about their disdain for dinners, parties, embassy gatherings and the like. Like Hollywood, DC has these kind of settings and venues. I happen to enjoy them a lot — and love Kurt Campbell’s humor. He by the way is probably not pleased that I got this material from others at the conference…
    But I like to bring the setting and interactions to those of you via TWN when I can do so. It’s better to do that, to provide a portal, than not to. And I don’t think that every post, every discussion of neocons, every comment on foreign policy needs to be heavy and morbid. I think that this was a hilarious, great exchange — and the story needed to be told.
    Thanks though for commenting.
    best, steve

    Reply

  61. Alan says:

    Levity and relaxed conversations and exchanges are fine for those who are well read and well fed and sitting in comfortable surroundings provide by an ambassador. I just could not help recalling all the awfulness around me when I was in Baghdad briefly two years ago. If these great minds have no idea of the havoc they have wreaked, the deaths for which their policy prescriptions are responsible and for the continuing carnage in Iraq then I have to ask why these gatherings have any meaning.
    Really! All one sees are well fed faces who have time to tell jokes and tease one another. And Kagan certainly hasn’t given up on food.

    Reply

  62. liz says:

    Steve you are way too kind to the neocons. I believe neocons couped the Republican party. They are scattered throughout the government in just enough places to create and cause havoc. They know what they are doing and sometimes it really looks as though they are the UnAmerican ones in the crowd, so I’ve been waiting to see Homeland Security harrass them… oops wait, that’s a neocon police outfit right?

    Reply

  63. Steve Clemons says:

    Kotzabasis — at least you are having some good fun with this.
    POA and Tony, thanks for your balance to the levity. I think that
    the commentary that Kurt gave was important and funny — and I
    hope lots read it. best — and smile a little. Save your rage for
    Addington — but don’t be so dismissive of others’ attempts to deal
    with the political realities and presence of the neoconservative
    movement.
    best, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  64. kotzabasis says:

    The European neo-realists and liberal internationalists and their American cognates, “dropping the guns” and taking, like grannies, needles in their hands to wove silk ties for their confreres the neocons for the purpose of “needling” them, will go down in history as the court jesters in the intellectual realm of the neoconservatives. It’s the latter with a deep sense of history that are aware of the great threat that fanatical Islam poses to civilization and which only a Mars can neutralize.
    Clemons supinely reclines exhausted in his Venus boudoir while the civilized world is threatened with burning in the absence of a Mars. And the little energy he still has uses it to weave METAPHORS mocking the neocons. Indeed, the war against the jihadists will be won by the Metaphor Special Forces.

    Reply

  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    This pisses me off. How many people will die tonight because of these pieces of shit? And they want to sit around these tables and make flippant jokes about werewolves and doing “crazy thinks”? Both of these despicable monsters oughta be hung, and anyone at that table that found something to laugh about is a God damned sick son of a bitch.
    WHAT THE FUCK IS A MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE????
    Over a million dead in Iraq, and these people treat it like its an SNL skit?

    Reply

  66. TonyForesta says:

    You are both either wildly misinformed Steve, or you are both “message-force multipliers” obediently bruting and proselytizing the Bush government neocon babal as godzwill, and somehow noble for profit.
    The socalled neocons may not be Vampires or Werewolves, – though no doubt certain elements of the neocon broods do commune periodically with one or another shaitan or demon, – the socalled neocons as a movement or a cabal or klan are in fact fascists, tyrants, supremists, wanton war profiteers, and pathological liars.
    You cannot sir, in good conscience paint lipstick on the pig that is the neocon klans or cabals and expect the rest of America, (after seven years of deceptions, abuses, financial malfeasance, failures, incompetence, costly bloody neverendingwar, and wanton profiteering) to accept your false and hilarious claim as more than an insult. The neocons have severly damaged, tarnished, betrayed, shamed, and reengineered America.
    You were joking right?
    And the syrupy Borg comparisan exposes either your blindness, or your complicity.
    Sans the shameless partisan message-force multiplying and media engagement pentagonspeak language conjuring and regurgitating the OBVIOUS FICTION and naked lie pretending that the socalled neocons are in any way “well meaning”.
    Well meaning to whom or what exactly? Please explain?
    I challenge you sir to present here on your blog one single well meaning effort, or one good thing the Bush government has provided the American people in seven years. Words and promises are hollow and moot. What deeds, what actual benefits have working Americans enjoyed under the Bush government? Name one?
    And don’t bother hoisting the $17bn quarters Exxon enjoys, or the profits of Halliburton, Dyncorp, Blackwater Resources, CACI, L-3, QuinetiQ or any of the predator class of war profiteers in the Private Military, Intelligence, and PR industrial complexes and those that aid and abet them that are the only Americans that have SINGULARLY and EXCLUSIVELY benefited under the tyrannical reign of the fascists in the Bush government. And don’t bother hoisting the neocon babel and phantasmagoria bespeaking of a democratized, or stable ME, and muslims welcoming Americans with sweets and flowers, and Pax Americana aborning sometime far far away in the unknown unknown future. What have neocons, (a disinformation doublespeak term cloaking obvious fascists) the Bush government done for working class or poor Americans. Name one single “well meaning” or beneficial thing.
    “Deliver us from evil!”

    Reply

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