Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Garden of NeoCon Horrors*

You’d think Paul Wolfowitz would have the good sense to keep quiet, but as Maureen Dowd wrote in her column on Sunday, he has no shame. Neo-Cons, like all fanatics and preachers of moral rectitude, do not know silence, nor do they have the remorse chromosome in their genetic codes. They are not known for the qualities of soul-searching and self-examination. If they ever admitted they were wrong about Iraq, their heads might explode.
And, as long as complicent cable news outlets and newspapers are willing to give Wolfowitz and his cohort free airtime and space, they will never be silenced. They may have left public office, but they still wield inexplicable power in the court of public opinion. Like their cousins in radical conservatism, the Tea Partiers, the Neo-Cons thrive on fear-mongering and outright lies. They make millions of dollars on their ghostwritten fictional memoirs, and rise to the top of bestseller lists. Somebody out there is buying what they sell.
For example, Wolfowitz told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last Sunday that the families of the Pan-Am bombing victims had demanded money during the Bush Administration's negotiations with Libya over its removal from the official terrorism list. Wolfowitz admitted he had no proof to back up his claim, but he said it anyway. (The Pan-Am families, of course, have vehemently denied his allegations). But no matter – Wolfowitz and other relics of the Bush era seem to have a peculiar talent for staying front and center. Do you suppose it’s because we are all so in awe that none of them has ever been prosecuted for war crimes, and we are irresistibly drawn by the sheer chutzpah of career criminals who get away with it?. Or, does the mainstream media still remain convinced now, as they were then., that Iraq was a grand adventure and a rousing success despite a few “setbacks?”
Now. Wolfowitz is calling for aggressive military intervention in Libya, and was given valuable Wall Street Journal op-ed space to make his case.  Several months ago, he and Bush torture enabler John Yoo lambasted the decision to try terrorists on our soil, or to close Gitmo, in a high-profile New York Times op-ed piece.   Somebody obviously listened to them. Attorney General Holder long ago walked back on plans for New York City trials as perfect symbolic venues for 9/11 terrorism payback. Gitmo is still very much there. All trials will now be by military tribunal, not in civilian courts.
 Maureen Dowd suggested in her column that Wolfowitz should just go away and take up horticulture. Any NeoCon Garden would surely include the toxic herb Wolfbane, which is an apt name and has the unpleasant side-effect of causing too much nervous excitement ( I think W. might have been given an infusion of that particular herb to psych him up for invading Iraq).
 And Wolfowitz has always cultivated bleeding hearts, which look lovely, but their pretty name belies the fact that every part of them is poisonous. The Bush crowd sold the nation on its bleeding heart doctrine in the run-up to invasion - by ginning up a lie about WMDs and then spreading vaunted, unwanted and nonexistent Democracy where it smelled money to be made for the Military Industrial complex.
Of course, there's always been a fair amount of the noxious Dumbcane in the NeoCon botanica. That's another toxic weed that is the devil to get rid of once it takes hold. Just when you think you it's gone, it keeps popping up, year after year.  It  thrives especially well in the moist unhealthy air and swampy soil around Washington, D.C. 

 * This post was originally submitted as a "comment" to the NY Times. It was rejected, probably because it was deemed too abusive.  How can you be too abusive to Paul Wolfowitz?  Other posts openly called for his demise.  Wow, life is so unfair.  


Draft Spitzer said...

Great post. This morning, as I was reading the Reader's Comments in response to Frank Rich's departure column in the NYT, it occurred to me that we were all having a genuinely left-of-center reaction.
First: Rich leaves of his own accord, not to gain more influence and power, but to oh-so-artistically keep expanding his writing talent.
Next: instead of deriding him as a quitter, NYTimes readers nearly unanimously salute his departure AND WISH HIM LUCK - never mind that a Presidential election is less than 19 months hence and his voice is needed.
My question is : would a conservative ever give up that spot for such "fancy" reasons?
My second question is: would conservative readers ever allow an equivalent conservative columnist to just "up and leave" like that? Or would they have, perhaps rightly, castigated him for quitting right before the big game?
Just wonderin'.

Karen Garcia said...

My dream is that David Brooks will follow in the footsteps of Anna Quindlen and decide to write fiction full-time. Actually, he already does write fiction full-time. Of course, then we wouldn't have the fun of deconstructing his efforts, would we?

jhand said...

I guess your post was deemed too abusive for the Times because you referred to Wolfowitz and his friends as "war criminals." In the Times' world, it is acceptable to wish for someone's death, but "war criminal" must only apply to certain Germans and Japanese, never to an American. In the same vein, as Glen Greenwald points out, Americans never "torture" in the NYT. Only those aforementioned Germans and Japanese, along with one or two Chinese, North Koreans and North Vietnamese, are allowed to commit "torture." For future reference, please remember that "war crimes" and "torture" applies only to "them;" never to "us." As always, I look forward to your posts here and to your comments in the Times.

Anne Lavoie said...

The NeoCons are simply filling a void.

Where have all the activist Democrats gone? The people like James Carville, Terry McAuliffe, and Donna Brazile. Are they on cable 'news' channels speaking out? (I don't get those channels).

Given the dearth of well-known outspoken Democrats, is it any wonder the media jumps at the chance to give the NeoCons a platform? They seem to be the only people bold enough to say anything.

Frankly, ALL the Republicans are bold enough to say anything they want and do so on a regular basis. It's the Democrats who are digging their own graves with silence, led by the President, except of course for his WTF campaign for re-election.

It's like Democrats have been totally emasculated. Unless we are to believe that the corporate owned media is conspiring to silence their message, I have to assume they have nothing to say. Or they are bunch of gutless wonders. Or they too are corporate owned. Pathetic.


Draft Spitzer said...

I couldn't say it better than Anne just did. I hadn't even thought of Carville, et alia. BECAUSE THEY'RE ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE.

And in the meantime, PJ Crowley's been sh*t-canned... For telling the truth about Bradley Manning.

Upside-down world.

Karen Garcia said...

The main talking point of the Obama apologists is that anything he does will only evoke the wrath of the Republicans, so he should just lay low. He didn't go to Wisconsin, because he'd be accused of "politicizing" the event. As if it were not already political!

Oh, and as to the accusations that he is not leading on the budget: well, he is, say Senators like Chuck Schumer, only it's all "behind the scenes." Nothing the little people need worry their pretty little heads about.

Denis Neville said...

“I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq. Those who want to come and help are welcome. Those who come to interfere and destroy are not.” - Paul Wolfowitz

No shame, no moral rectitude.

As Mark Twains said, “Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.” - Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

Anne Lavoie said...

All the real power is wielded 'behind the scenes'. Our country's business is not run in the light of day, as we are led to believe. I heard the founder of Citizen Jane speak to that on C-Span yesterday.

Backroom dealing is Obama's specialty. Indeed, his entire modus operandi. He reminds me of another Richard Nixon but with a better smile, more charm, and he doesn't sweat!

As they say, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Obama's Chicago background and raw ambition to be President leads me to believe he is not immune.

A few days ago, I was throwing away Obama stuff that I had saved. I came across a photo of him after winning the nomination. His note above his signature said "The day I SEIZED the nomination". Not 'won', but 'seized'. Sounds like a power trip to me. Or a military campaign.


Draft Spitzer said...

1) is actually worth reading today for two articles: a) Ira Glass asks why NPR isn't fighting back, and b) Fed Chief heckled in Queens (love that borough) for inane comments about consumer goods prices falling (heckler: "I can't eat an iPad.")
2) reader link in Glass story on TPM to A.Sullivan bit on criticism by Beck (of all people) of OKeefe's yellow journalism.

Karen Garcia said...

"A better smile, more charm, and he doesn't sweat." -- quote of the day from Anne.

I came across this site today - it combines news of the class war and the resurgence of American non-violent resistance, along with a new social-networking feature so you can organize/join the demonstration nearest you. The Federal Reserve protests being planned for later this month are gathering momentum:

Sorry, but links have been disabled in
the comments feature here due to spam/malware issues, but I think we are capable of manually typing in our destinations, huh?

Draft Spitzer said...

It's a lot easier to type links if you're not on hand-held!
When I was on the laptop on Friday, the blogspot let me paste one link. But my subsequent post was completely deleted by the system (as far as I can tell.) It had a link to a Krugman column on Nixon's HCR effort and a few paragraphs from the article.

turnipseed said...


for a nice companion piece to this post!

Janet Camp

Anne Lavoie said...

'Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand' by Chris Hedges has a lot of worthwhile things to say about silence vs. activism. I think it's worth reading. It can be found at


Kate Madison said...

...Do you suppose it’s because we are all so in awe that none of them has ever been prosecuted for war crimes, and we are irresistibly drawn by the sheer chutzpah of career criminals who get away with it?. Or, does the mainstream media still remain convinced now, as they were then., that Iraq was a grand adventure and a rousing success despite a few “setbacks?”

ABSOLUTELY! On both points. Americans have always loved naughty boyz, and will forgive them anything if the boiyz can get enough free press. Witness Charlie Sheen. At least he is drugged out all o time, so he has an excuse to be a jerk. But Wolfowitz has drunk so much Kool Aid that he might as well be one of the poisonous bleeding hearts in his garden. Hmmm.....just occurred to me, excessive drinking of Kool Aid IS THE SAME as being on heroin, coke, speed, alcohol, meth, etc. Ah, in that case, maybe we should give the poor guy a break, and send him to rehab--you know, the one with bars and mean guards!

As for the MSM--two words: bought off. No, excuse me, I left out two more: completely dishonest!

Anonymous said...

My read of Frank's column is he was tired of doing it. If someone can convince Ms. Dowd to do the same they could hire some new Liberal blood at the NYT. I also don't consider Brooks to be "Conservative", he's more Center to Left of center like most N.Y. Republicans.

Do you think of rendition as part of the "war crimes"? If so the current administration is still doing it and what are your thoughts on standing at attention in your birthday suit all day?


Draft Spitzer said...

Dear Richard,
I don't consider Brooks to be conservative, not in any classically Burkean sense. He's merely a guy who likes to invoke Burke. Because it's fun to write "Burkean" knowing that almost no one on either side has read Burke, and therefore you can just make sh*t up about Burke because no one except Marie Burns and Karen will ever call you out on it.
As for rendition, Manning, et cetera... Why do you even ask? Burns and Garcia have made clear where they stand, if you bother to read their comments.
But I think you're right in suggesting that Frank Rich was merely burnt out. New York Magazine is a strange place for him to end up - it's not quite his readership.

Anonymous said...

You and they are the only ones that pay him any mind I don't think anyone that is center right does at all. He writes some really week stuff too.

On the subject of human rights during time of war it's more complicated than most people consider. War is about killing people and breaking things but even so there are degrees as to how much and of what. That is where Truman and MacArthur came to a parting of the ways. The point is that in the U.S. Military torture has never been institutional as it was and still is in other militaries. Most of the groups and nations the U.S. has opposed in the last century have practiced institutional torture, both physical and mental. They practiced it on Americans too. There has been little call to prosecute any of them past what was done at the end of WW2 and that was mostly window dressing directed primarily against the Germans. The Japanese who did far worse had very few war crime
prosecutions. The Spanish and the French have always done institutional torture and rarely or never paid for it. Then there are the North Koreans and the Chinese of all political stripes who are institutional torturers of the "first water" and have not been prosecuted. Nor has it been suggested seriously they should be.

There was no serious outcry to prosecute any of the Vietnam era U.S.
administrations for torture or war crimes. Today I don't hear any calls to prosecute the current administration for continuing to do the same things the last
administration did ether.

That brings us to the only U.S. Administration anyone wants to prosecute! You can see why some of us think it might be Political.


Draft Spitzer said...

While I would disagree with many of your point-blank statements...
...and I'd ask you to explain what you mean by "first water"...
... I do think you raise a valid point, one which Karen and Marie have often iterated, even though they sit to the left of your rightist pew.
That is, there is not much distinction between this administration and the last.
And this, I believe, discredits both Obama's supporters on the soi-disant left, and his critics on the right.
If the tea partiers were smart, they would be making the argument you do. In much the same way, if the "progressives" were smart, they would drill down on deficit spending (and the accounting malfeasance that disguised the level of it) under the Bush administration.

Anonymous said...

In most of the world from India east to Japan as can be determined by the historical record torture was and in some places like Pakistan, Burma, China, and North Korea they still are part of the normal government processes i.e. They are institutional as you can get a degree in it. ( yes, I know I left out Afghanistan and our "Eternal Friends" the house of Saud but even you wouldn't quibble about torture as a national pastime in those places). If you feel I maligned France and Spain think The Forth Republic and the Department of Algeria, or the Spanish Civil War.

That is what of the first water means to me "From the dawn of time".