Former enthusiastic neocon supporters
running for cover heroically deploying towards a rearward area.
Perhaps it’s just human nature, but I’ve always disliked Johnny-Come-Latelys. It’s never made sense to me how those of us who figured out that the Iraq War was going to become a pandimensional clusterfuck (and didn’t require special intel or brilliant intellect to do so) are still denigrated and not taken seriously, while those who got it wrong and now admit their mistake are still considered ‘serious’ thinkers. And not in the sense of ‘seriously stupid.’
Billmon nails exactly what I think about the Johnny-Come-Latelys who villified those of us who opposed the Holy Defender of the Blessed Blastocyst’s Excellent Iraqi Adventure from the beginning (italics mine):
The sense of grim satisfaction I feel every time I hear Andrew Sullivan or Greg Djerejian whine about the viciousness of the “Malkin right” faintly echoes the emotions that must have been felt by the original socialist and anarchist prisoners of the Soviet state every time they saw an old Bolshevik getting the business from one of Stalin’s NKVD thugs. Now you know what’s it like to be an enemy of the people, you swine…
It’s very hard, after more than three years of anticipating, dreading and now watching the catastrophe blossoming in Iraq, to tolerate the pathetic whimpering of former hawks who’ve finally managed to drag themselves into the searing light of reality — and feel ill used because they must suffer the slings and arrows of the deluded goons who still refuse to leave the cave of winds. Welcome to the camp, guys. Ivan over there will show you around.
Back in days of the real gulags, the Stalinists used to talk about “useful idiots” — well-meaning but hopelessly naive Western politicans and intellectuals (i.e. parlor pinks) who could be used to advance the proletarian cause, even though their reward in the event of an actual revolution would have been a one-way ticket to Siberia. For the comrades of the modern authoritarian right, guys like Sullivan and Djerejian served a very similar purpose. But now they’re not so useful any more, in fact they’ve been revealed as deviationists — which means they must be struggled against, lest they infect the party cadres with their counterrevolutionary poison.
But already, the former useful idiots are revising their stories. We can’t let them get away with this because these morons will just find new ways to get people killed. Writes one such revisionist, Greg Djerejian (italics mine):
Three years ago, I would have poo-pooed anyone using the word “radicals” to describe the neo-cons. No more. Any group that can so brazenly (and breezily) avoid a real reckoning with the continuing crisis in Iraq–which is descending into civil war as we speak–any movement that has the gall to suggest as some panacea that we mount significant military operations in Iran and Syria and god knows where else (with Israel in Lebanon to boot), well, their credibility is at a very low ebb indeed, and they very much need to be urgently reined in. Yes, it is scary when, in the pages of respectable papers like the FT, one hears more and more the intimations there is something of a bona fide radical-wing in Washington. Could it be, you know, true? Well, we’re getting there, it seems…To help stem the follies, it is time to call spades, spades. Is it not, for instance, and as George Will has pointed out, a grotesque misnomer to describe the neo-cons as resembling anything remotely conservative anymore, given that they appear blissfully unawares of the resource strains we are operating under given the hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and given how gungo-ho at the ready they are to pursue their neo-Trotskyite fantasies by moving into wars Nos. 3 and 4 in the ‘region’?
Djerejian lays out the two major ‘lapsed’ neocon arguments that we will hear over and over again:
- I had no idea these guys were so crazy. Well, this means that you are either too stupid to be given a serious hearing in public discourse, or you’re a liar. Why? Because the PNAC types have been dreaming of this for years. Combined with the Bush Administration’s track record of mindboggling incompetence, what did you think would happen? Besides this is the same administration that rehabilitated Elliot Abrams. You know, the guy who helped turn the contras into a fearsome army of
nun rapistsfreedom fighters. You didn’t know they were crazy? I call bullshit.
- The neocons aren’t conservatives at all, but radicals. That may be, but that didn’t stop you from jumping in bed with them when the Glorious Crusade appeared to be doing well. And this is just one more facet of the now-common conservative defense: the problem isn’t conservatism, it’s individual conservatives. I guess “individual” means many elected politicians and most of the leading conservative intellectuals.
I bring this up, not out of spite (although spite is fun), but because we can’t allow these guys to regain credibility. Like I noted, who would have thought Elliot Abrams would ever be allowed to hold any government office ever again? We can’t stop Iraq at this point, but we can make sure that these same bozos can’t start another one in a decade or two.