Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Frum-Perle prescription would ensnare America in endless conflict. By Patrick J. Buchanan

No End to War: "The Frum-Perle prescription would ensnare America in endless conflict.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

On the dust jacket of his book, Richard Perle appends a Washington Post depiction of himself as the “intellectual guru of the hard-line neoconservative movement in foreign policy.”

The guru’s reputation, however, does not survive a reading. Indeed, on putting down Perle’s new book the thought recurs: the neoconservative moment may be over. For they are not only losing their hold on power, they are losing their grip on reality.

An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror opens on a note of hysteria. In the War on Terror, writes Perle, “There is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or holocaust.” “What is new since 9/11 is the chilling realization that the terrorist threat we thought we had contained” now menaces “our survival as a nation.”

But how is our survival as a nation menaced when not one American has died in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11? Are we really in imminent peril of a holocaust like that visited upon the Jews of Poland?

“[A] radical strain within Islam,” says Perle, “ ... seeks to overthrow our civilization and remake the nations of the West into Islamic societies, imposing on the whole world its religion and laws.”

Well, yes. Militant Islam has preached that since the 7th century. But what are the odds the Boys of Tora Bora are going to “overthrow our civilization” and coerce us all to start praying to Mecca five times a day?

In his own review of An End to Evil, Joshua Micah Marshall picks up this same scent of near-hysteria over the Islamic threat:

The book conveys a general sense that America is at war with Islam itself anywhere and everywhere: the contemporary Muslim world .... is depicted as one great cauldron of hate, murder, obscurantism, and deceit. If our Muslim adversaries are not to destroy Western civilization, we must gird for more battles.

To suggest Frum and Perle are over the top is not to imply we not take seriously the threat of terror attacks on airliners, in malls, from dirty bombs, or, God forbid, a crude atomic device smuggled in by Ryder truck or container ship. Yet even this will never “overthrow our civilization.”

In the worst of terror attacks, we lost 3,000 people. Horrific. But at Antietam Creek, we lost 7,000 in a day’s battle in a nation that was one-ninth as populous. Three thousand men and boys perished every week for 200 weeks of that Civil War. We Americans did not curl up and die. We did not come all this way because we are made of sugar candy.

Germany and Japan suffered 3,000 dead every day in the last two years of World War II, with every city flattened and two blackened by atom bombs. Both came back in a decade. Is al-Qaeda capable of this sort of devastation when they are recruiting such scrub stock as Jose Padilla and the shoe bomber?

In the war we are in, our enemies are weak. That is why they resort to the weapon of the weak—terror. And, as in the Cold War, time is on America’s side. Perseverance and patience are called for, not this panic.

In 25 years, militant Islam has seized three countries: Iran, Sudan, and Afghanistan. We toppled the Taliban almost without losing a man. Sudan is a failed state. In Iran, a generation has grown up that knows nothing of Savak or the Great Satan but enough about the mullahs to have rejected them in back-to-back landslides. The Iranian Revolution has reached Thermidor. Wherever Islamism takes power, it fails. Like Marxism, it does not work.

Yet, assume it makes a comeback. So what? Taken together, all 22 Arab nations do not have the GDP of Spain. Without oil, their exports are the size of Finland’s. Not one Arab nation can stand up to Israel, let alone the United States. The Islamic threat is not strategic, but demographic. If death comes to the West it will be because we embraced a culture of death—birth control, abortion, sterilization, euthanasia. Western man is dying as Islamic man migrates north to await his passing and inherit his estate.

Said young Lincoln in his Lyceum address, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”

In his first inaugural address, FDR admonished, “[T]he only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Fear is what Perle and his co-author David Frum are peddling to stampede America into serial wars. Just such fear-mongering got us into Iraq, though, we have since discovered, Iraq had no hand in 9/11, no ties to al-Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear program, and no plans to attack us. Iraq was never “the clear and present danger” the authors insist she was.

Calling their book a “manual for victory,” they declaim:

For us, terrorism remains the great evil of our time, and the war against this evil, our generation’s great cause. We do not believe that Americans are fighting this evil to minimize it or to manage it. We believe they are fighting to win—to end this evil before it kills again and on a genocidal scale. There is no middle way for Americans: It is victory or holocaust.

But no nation can “end evil.” Evil has existed since Cain rose up against his brother Abel and slew him. A propensity to evil can be found in every human heart. And if God accepts the existence of evil, how do Frum and Perle propose to “end” it? Nor can any nation “win the war on terror.” Terrorism is simply a term for the murder of non-combatants for political ends.

Revolutionary terror has been around for as long as this Republic. It was used by Robespierre’s Committee on Public Safety and by People’s Will in Romanov Russia. Terror has been the chosen weapon of anarchists, the IRA, Irgun, the Stern Gang, Algeria’s FLN, the Mau Mau, MPLA, the PLO, Black September, the Basque ETA, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, SWAPO, ZANU, ZAPU, the Tupamaros, Shining Path, FARC, the ANC, the V.C., the Huks, Chechen rebels, Tamil Tigers, and the FALN that attempted to assassinate Harry Truman and shot up the House floor in 1954, to name only a few.

Accused terrorists have won the Nobel Peace Prize: Begin, Arafat, Mandela. Three lie in mausoleums in the capitals of nations they created: Lenin, Mao, Ho. Others are the fathers of their countries like Ben Bella and Jomo Kenyatta. A terrorist of the Black Hand ignited World War I by assassinating the Archduke Ferdinand. Yet Gavrilo Princep has a bridge named for him in Sarajevo.

The murder of innocents for political ends is evil, but to think we can “end” it is absurd. Cruel and amoral men, avaricious for power and “immortality,” will always resort to it. For, all too often, it succeeds.

But what must America do to attain victory in her war on terror?

Say the authors: “We must hunt down the individual terrorists before they kill our people or others .... We must deter all regimes that use terror as a weapon of state against anyone, American or not” [emphasis added].

Astonishing. The authors say America is responsible for defending everyone, everywhere from terror and deterring any and all regimes that might use terror —against anyone, anywhere on earth.

But there are 192 nations. Scores of regimes from Liberia to Congo to Cuba, from Zimbabwe to Syria to Uzbekistan, and from Iran to Sudan to the Afghan warlords of the Northern Alliance who fought on our side—have used torture and terror to punish enemies. Are we to fight them all?

Well, actually, no. Excepting North Korea, the authors’ list of nations that need to be attacked reads as though it were drawn up in the Israeli Defense Ministry. By the second paragraph, Perle and Frum have given us a short list of priority targets: “The war on terror is not over, it has barely begun. Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas still plot murder.”

Now al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. But when did Hamas attack us? And if Israel can co-exist and negotiate with Hezbollah, why is it America’s duty to destroy Hezbollah? Iran and North Korea, the authors warn, “present intolerable threats to American security. We must move boldly against them both and against all other sponsors of terrorism as well: Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia. And we don’t have much time.”

“Why have we put up with [Syria] as long as we have?” the authors demand. They call for a cut-off of Syria’s oil and an ultimatum to Assad: Get Syrian troops out of Lebanon, hand over all terrorist suspects, end support for Hezbollah, stop agitating against Israel, and adopt a “Western orientation”—or you, too, get the Saddam treatment.

But what has Syria done to us? And if Assad balks do we bomb Damascus? Invade? Where do we get the troops? What if the Syrians, too, resort to guerrilla war?

Bush’s father made Hafez al-Assad an ally in the Gulf War. Ehud Barak offered Assad 99.5 percent of the Golan Heights. Why, then, must Bashir Assad’s regime be destroyed—by us?

“We don’t have much time,” say Frum and Perle. But what is Assad doing that warrants immediate attack? Is he, too, buying yellowcake from Niger?

Colonel Khaddafi is now paying billions in reparations for Pan Am 103, giving up his weapons of mass destruction, and inviting U.S. inspectors in to verify his disarmament. Why is it imperative we overthrow him?

While the Saudis have been diffident allies in the War on Terror, they are not America’s enemies. They pumped oil to keep prices down in the first Gulf War. They looked the other way as U.S. fighter-bombers flew out of Prince Sultan Air Base in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet the Saudis are directed to provide us “with the utmost cooperation in the war on terror,” or we will invade, detach their oil-rich eastern province, and occupy it.

But why? If the monarchy falls and bin Laden’s acolytes replace it, how would that make us more secure in our own country?

What did Iran do to justify war against her? According to Perle and Frum,

Iran defied the Monroe Doctrine and sponsored murder in our own hemisphere, killing eighty-six people and wounding some three hundred at the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires—and our government did worse than nothing: It opened negotiations with the murderers.

But that atrocity occurred a dozen years ago, long before the reform government of President Mohammad Khatami was elected. And if Iran was behind an attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, why did Argentina and Israel not avenge these deaths? Why is retribution our responsibility? It was not Americans who were the victims, and the attack occurred 5,000 miles from the United States.

The Frum-Perle invocation of the Monroe Doctrine is both cynical and comical. If they were genuinely concerned about violations of the Monroe Doctrine, why did they not include Cuba on their target list, a “state sponsor of terror” 90 miles from our shores that has hosted Soviet missiles and, according to Undersecretary of State John Bolton, is developing chemical and biological weapons? Why did Saudi Arabia make the cut but not Cuba? Might it have something to do with proximity and propinquity?

For Iran, there can be no reprieve. “The regime must go,” say our authors, because Ayatollah Khamenei has

… no more right to control ... Iran than any other criminal has to seize control of the persons and property of others. It’s not always in our power to do something about such criminals, nor is it always in our interest, but when it is in our power and interest, we should toss dictators aside with no more compunction than a police sharpshooter feels when he downs a hostage-taker.

But where in the Constitution is the president empowered to “toss dictators aside”? And if it took 150,000 U.S. soldiers to toss Saddam aside, how many troops do Frum and Perle think it will take to occupy the capital of a nation three times as large and populous and toss the ayatollah aside? How many dead and wounded would our war hawks consider an acceptable price for being rid of the mullahs?

As South Korea favors appeasement, they write, we must take the lead, demand that North Korea surrender all nuclear materials and shut down all missile sites. If Kim Jong Il balks, we should move U.S. troops back to safety beyond artillery and rocket range of the DMZ and launch preemptive strikes on known North Korean nuclear sites and impose a naval and air blockade. As for the South Koreans, they should probably brace themselves. “We have no doubt how such a war would end,” say the authors. They also had no doubt how the Iraqi war would end.

Is the Perle-Frum vision for the suffering people of North Korea a future of freedom and democracy? Not exactly:

It may be that the only way out of the decade-long crisis on the Korean peninsula is the toppling of Kim Jong Il and his replacement by a North Korean communist who is more subservient to China. If so, we should accept that outcome.

Swell. America is to fight a second Korean War that could entail a nuclear strike on our troops, but, when we have won, we should accept a communist North Korea that is a vassal of Beijing. How many dead and wounded are our AEI warlords willing to accept to make Pyongyang a puppet of Beijing?

But the Frum-Perle enemies’ list is not complete. France, if she does not shape up, is to be treated as an enemy.

From every page of this book there oozes a sense of urgency that borders on the desperate for action this day: “We can feel the will to win ebbing in Washington, we sense the reversion to the bad old habits of complacency and denial.”

The neocons are not wrong here. With the cost of war at $200 billion and rising, with deaths mounting, and with the possibility growing that Iraq could collapse in chaos and civil war, President Bush appears to be experiencing buyer’s remorse about the lemon he was sold by Perle and friends.

They promised him a “cakewalk,” that we would be hailed as “liberators,” that democracy would take root in Iraq and flourish in the Middle East, that Palestinians and Israelis would break bread and make peace. With Lord Melbourne, Bush must be muttering, “What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damn fools said would happen has come to pass.”

What do Perle and Frum see as our decisive failing in Iraq?

But of all our mistakes, probably the most serious was our unwillingness to allow the Iraqi National Congress, Iraq’s leading anti-Saddam resistance movement, to form a provisional government after the fall of Baghdad. In 1944, we took care to let French troops enter Paris before U.S. or British forces. We should have shown equal tact in 2003.

Thus, we are in trouble because Ahmad Chalabi was not allowed to play de Gaulle leading his war-weary, battle-hardened Free Iraqis into Baghdad.

Why was Perle’s protégé passed over? Because the “INC terrified the Saudis and therefore terrified those in our government who wished to placate the Saudis.” The damned Arabists at State did it again.

Hastily written, replete with errors, with no index, An End to Evil is a brief in defense of neoconservatives against their impending indictment on charges they lied us into a war that may prove our greatest disaster since Vietnam. And the charge of deliberate deceit is not without merit.

In mid-December 2001, in a column distributed by Copley News, Perle asserted that Saddam “is busily at work on a nuclear weapon .... it’s simply a matter of time before he acquires nuclear weapons.”

Naming Khidir Hamza, “one of the people who ran the nuclear weapons program for Saddam,” as his source, Perle gave credence to Hamza’s tale of 400 uranium enrichment facilities spread all over Iraq. “Some of them look like farmhouses, some of them look like classrooms, some of them look like warehouses. You’ll never find them.” Only “preemptive action” can save us, said Perle.

By the end of 2001, according to Perle, the threat of a nuclear-armed Saddam was imminent:

With each passing day he comes closer to his dream of a nuclear arsenal. We know he has a clandestine program, spread over many hidden sites, to enrich natural uranium to weapons grade .... And intelligence sources know he is in the market, with plenty of money, for both weapons material and components as well as finished nuclear weapons. How close is he? We do not know. Two years, three years, tomorrow even?

When he wrote this, Perle, as chairman of the Defense Policy Board, had access to secret intelligence. So the question cannot be evaded: did Hamza deliberately deceive Perle, or did Perle deliberately deceive us?

For those unpersuaded that Saddam was a strategic threat, there were his links to the 9/11 massacre. Saddam’s “collaboration with terrorism is well documented,” wrote Perle, “Evidence of a meeting in Prague between a senior Iraqi intelligence agent and Mohamed Atta, the September 11 ringleader, is convincing.”

Thus did the neocons get the war they wanted. And after America fought the war for which they had beaten the drums, how do Perle & Co. explain why it did not turn out as they assured us it would?

Answer: any disaster in Iraq, the authors argue, will be due to the venality and cowardice of the State Department, CIA, FBI, retired generals, and ex-ambassadors bought off by the Saudis. “We have offered concrete recommendations equal to the seriousness of the threat, and the softliners have not, because we have wanted to fight and they have not.”

Which brings us back to the point made at the outset: the neocon moment may be passing, for they appear to be losing their grip on reality as well as their influence on policy. Rather than looking for new wars to involve us more deeply in the Middle East, Bush and Rumsfeld seem to be looking for the next exit ramp out of our Mesopotamian morass. “No war in ‘04” is said to be the watchword of Karl Rove.

Moreover, Americans are coming to appreciate that, all that bombast about “unipolar” moments and “American empire” aside, there are limits to American power, and we are approaching them. U.S. ground forces of 480,000 are stretched thin. There is grumbling in Army, Reserve, and National Guard units about too many tours too far from home. Backing off his “axis-of-evil” rhetoric, Bush said in this year’s State of the Union, “We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire.”

The long retreat of American empire has begun.

In Washington, there are rumors of the return of James Baker and the imminent departure of Paul Wolfowitz. As Frederick the Great, weary of the antics and peculations of his house guest Voltaire, said, “One squeezes the orange and throws away the rind.”

Moreover, the radicalism of their schemes for two, three, many wars, seems, given our embroilment in Iraq, not only rash but also rooted in unreality. Before Bush could take us to war with any of these regimes, he would have to convince his country of the necessity of war and persuade Congress to grant him the power to go to war. Yet absent a new atrocity on the magnitude of 9/11, directly traceable to one of the regimes on the Perle-Frum list, the president could not win this authority. Nor does it appear he intends to try. And were the United States to attack Libya, Syria, or Saudi Arabia, we would alienate every ally in the Islamic world and Europe—including Tony Blair’s Britain. To fight these wars and occupy these nations would bleed our armed forces and mandate a return to the draft. But how would any of these wars make us more secure from terrorism here at home?

Indeed, it is because Americans cannot see the correlation between the wars the authors demand and security at home that Frum and Perle must resort to fear-mongering about holocausts, the end of civilization, and our demise as a nation.

If it is America we defend, An End to Evil makes no sense. The Perle-Frum prescription for permanent war makes sense only if it is the mission of the armed forces of the United States to make the Middle East safe for Sharon—and here we come to the heart of the quarrel between us.

On Sept. 11, al-Qaeda attacked us. Al-Qaeda is our enemy, not Syria, Libya, or Saudi Arabia. And the way to cut off al-Qaeda and kill it is to isolate it from all Arab and Islamic nations and centers of power including Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

None of these nations had a hand in 9/11. All have a vital interest in not being linked to an al-Qaeda for whom an enraged superpower is on the mortal hunt. Thus, no matter the character of these regimes, we have interests in common. And if Bush can use carrots to get Bashir Assad to help us find and finish al-Qaeda—as his father got Assad’s father to help us expel Iraq from Kuwait—let us make Syria an ally rather than another enemy of the United States.

But here is the rub: The neocons do not want to narrow our list of enemies. They do not want to confine America’s war to those who attacked us. They want to expand our list of enemies to include Israel’s enemies. They want to escalate and widen what Chris Matthews calls “the Firemen’s War” into a war for hegemony in the Middle East. They had hoped to exploit 9/11 to erect an empire, and as they see the vision vanish, their desperation knows no bounds.

That great American military mind Col. John Boyd once described strategy as appending to yourself as many centers of power as possible and isolating your enemy from as many centers of power as possible.

This was the strategy used by Bush I in the Gulf War. He persuaded Russia and China to sign on in the Security Council, Germany and Japan to finance his war, Syria and Egypt to send soldiers, Britain and France to help us fight it. By giving everyone a stake in an American victory—call it imperial bribery, if you will—Bush I lined up the world against Iraq. As did George W. Bush, brilliantly, in Afghanistan.

But what Frum and Perle are pressing on him now is an altogether opposite strategy. They want Bush to expand the war, broaden the theater of operations, multiply our enemies, and ignore our allies. If Bush should adopt this strategy, it would be America and Israel against the Arab and Islamic world with Europe neutral and almost all of Asia rooting for our humiliation.

Let it be said: it is vital to victory over al-Qaeda, to the security of our country, the safety of our people, and our broader interests in an Arab and Islamic world of 57 nations that stretches from Morocco to Malaysia that we not let the neocons conflate our war on terror with their war for hegemony.

Neocons believe the Palestinian Authority must be crushed, Arafat eliminated, and the Golan Heights, West Bank, and East Jerusalem held by Israel forever. They want Hezbollah eradicated, Syria denatured, the Saudi monarchy brought down. Let them so believe. But their agenda is not America’s agenda, and their fight is not America’s fight.

There is no vital U.S. interest in whose flag flies over the Golan or East Jerusalem, when Barak was willing to give up both. But if we allow the neoconservatives to morph our war on al-Qaeda into Israel’s war for Palestine, our war will never end. And that is the hidden agenda of the neoconservatives: permanent war for their permanent empowerment. As Frum and Perle concede, this is “our generation’s great cause.”

“Who are those guys?” Butch and Sundance asked. Indeed, who are these men who would plunge our country into serial wars of preemption and retribution across the arc of crisis from Libya to Korea?

Frum is not even an American. He is a Canadian who did not become a citizen until offered a job in the Bush speechwriting shop. He was cashiered after one year when his wife bragged on the Internet that David invented the “axis-of-evil” phrase. Expelled from the White House, Frum ratted out his old colleagues in a “hot” book and got himself hired by National Review, where he produced a cover story about a dirty dozen “Unpatriotic Conservatives” who hate neocons, hate Bush, hate the GOP, hate America, and “wish to see the United States defeated in the War on Terror.”

Frum ordered all 12 purged from the conservative movement. (And we must, in fairness, report that all three editors of this magazine and four regular writers were among the 12 who went to the stake.)

Who is Perle? Unlike Frum, a cipher on foreign policy, Perle has been a serious player since the Nixon era. But throughout those years he has betrayed a passionate attachment to a foreign power. In 1996, Perle co-authored “A Clean Break,” a now-famous paper urging Benjamin Netanyahu to dump the Oslo Accords, seize the West Bank, and confront Syria. The road to Damascus lies through Baghdad, Perle told the receptive Israeli Prime Minister.

Then an adviser to Republican candidate Robert Dole, Perle was thus secretly urging a foreign government to abrogate a peace accord supported by his own government. In 1998, he and other neoconservatives signed a letter to then President Clinton urging the United States to initiate all-out war on Iraq and pledging neoconservative support if Clinton would launch it.

Query: why is Perle permitted to retain his post at the Department of Defense while agitating for wars on four or five countries, including Saudi Arabia, a friend of the United States? Why does President Bush put up with this? His father would never have tolerated it.

The neocons have also begun to injure their reputations and isolate themselves with the nastiness and irrationality of their attacks. French cannon once bore the inscription ultima ratio regum, the last argument of kings. The toxic charge of “Anti-Semite!” has become the last argument of the neocons. But they have wheeled out that cannon too many times. People are less intimidated now. They have seen men look into its muzzle and walk away.

Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of Centcom, is a hero of Vietnam. He opposed war with Iraq, arguing that the U.S. military was overstretched and we would unleash forces we could not control. In an interview, Zinni related his astonishment at the vapidity of the Wolfowitz clique with which he had to deal at the Department of Defense:

The more I saw, the more I thought that this [war] was the product of the neocons who didn’t understand the region and were going to create havoc there. These were dilettantes from Washington think tanks who never had had an idea that worked on the ground .... I don’t know where the neocons came from—that was not the platform [Bush and Cheney] ran on .... Somehow, the neocons captured the president. They captured the vice president.

National Review’s response was to brand Zinni an anti-Semite. In a separate column, NR regular Joel Mowbray not only accused the general of having “blamed the Jews,” he insisted that the term neocon, in common usage for 25 years, is now an anti-Semitic code word for Jews:

Neither President Bush nor Vice-President Cheney ... was to blame. It was the Jews. They captured both Bush and Cheney …. Technically, the former head of the Central Command in the Middle East didn’t say ‘Jews.’ He instead used a term that has become a new favorite for anti-Semites: ‘neoconservatives.’

Mowbray and National Review thus slandered a brave and brilliant soldier who has bled for his country. Such slanders do the neocons no good but only add to their isolation and the burgeoning detestation of their tactics.

New York Times columnist David Brooks has also begun to smear critics of the neocons as anti-Semites. In the word “neocon,” he writes, the “con” stands for conservative and the “neo” stands for Jewish.

But the problem for neocons is not that so many are Jewish, but that so few are conservative. Lawrence Kaplan, a Perle colleague who co-authored a book with William Kristol, after reading An End to Evil, declared: “This is not conservatism. It is liberalism, with very sharp teeth.”

If the neocons purport to see ethnic hatred in everyone else’s motives, is it unfair to explore for an ethnic affinity in their own? Why does every grand strategy neocons advance, from “American empire” to “benevolent global hegemony” to “a Pax Americana” to “world democratic revolution” have as its centerpiece solidarity with Sharon and a vigorous wielding of American power against all the enemies of Israel?

Why is every peace plan proposed or endorsed by a president to give the Palestinians a home of their own—the Rogers Plan, the Oslo accords, Camp David, the Taba Plan, the Saudi Plan, the Mitchell Plan, the Road Map—a Munich sellout? Why is any American patriot, who demands that Ariel Sharon stop building settlements on Palestinian land and walling off Jerusalem, a State Department Arabist, a pawn of the Texas oil lobby, a Coughlinite, an anti-Semite, or a bought-and-paid-for lickspittle of the Saudis?

The United States remains committed morally and politically to the security and survival of Israel and to providing her with the weaponry to guarantee it. No president is going to back off that commitment. But because Israel is a friend does not mean that the Sharonites have preemptive absolution to settle or seize Arab lands or permanently to deny Arab peoples the rights we preach to the world. In our own national interests, we must say so—in the clear.

This is a time for truth. With a mighty and hostile Soviet Empire no longer militarily present in the Maghreb and Middle East, U.S. and Israeli strategic interests have ceased to coincide. And with nightly pictures of Palestinian suffering on Al Jazeera, they have begun to collide.

Thus between traditional conservatives and neoconservatives a breach has been opened and an irreconcilable conflict has arisen. We of the Old Right only have one country. We believe U.S. foreign policy must be determined by what is best for America. And what is best for America is what our forefathers taught: If you would preserve this Republic, stay out of foreign wars, avoid “permanent alliances,” beware of “passionate attachments” to nations not your own.

In 1778, Washington rejoiced in the alliance with France. But when victory was won, that alliance became an entanglement that could drag the Republic into Europe’s wars. American statesmen who had celebrated the French alliance now sought to sever it, and, under Adams, succeeded.

With the end of the Cold War, an alliance with Israel has ceased to be central to U.S. interests. Indeed, our reputation as armorers and allies of Israel only damages us as Sharon rampages through the West Bank and Gaza walling off Arab land and denying to Palestinians that very right of self-determination we Americans espouse. Sharon is making hypocrites of us, and we are cowards for permitting it.

To the neocons, however, Zionism is second nature. They cannot conceive of a foreign policy that is good for America that does not entail absolute solidarity with Israel. They are dangerously close to imbibing the poisonous brew that drove Jonathan Pollard to treason: If it is good for Israel, it cannot be bad for America.

To evade admission of the transparent truth, neocons have begun to rationalize their passionate attachment, to sublimate it. “The Arab-Israeli quarrel is not a cause of Islamic extremism,” Frum and Perle protest.

But when every returning journalist and diplomat and every opinion survey says it is America’s uncritical support for Israeli repression of the Palestinians that makes us hated in the region, how can honest men write this? Have they blinded themselves to the truth because it is too painful?

We stand by Israel, writes Irving Kristol, because America is an “ideological” nation, “like the Soviet Union of yesteryear.” We and Israel are democracies, the Arab countries are not, and that is all there is to it.

That is why it was in our national interest to come to the defense of France and Britain in World War II. That is why we feel it necessary to defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are necessary.

But this is nonsense, and Kristol knows it. When Britain and France declared war on Hitler on September 3, 1939, FDR did not “come to the defense of France and Britain.” He delivered a fireside chat that night promising the nation America would stay out. There will be “no blackout of peace” here, FDR promised us.When France fell in May-June of 1940, pleading for planes, FDR sent words of encouragement. Not until 18 months after the fall of France did we declare war on Hitler and not until after Hitler declared war on us. Thus, we did not go to war to defend democracy in Britain or France. We went to war to smash the Japanese Empire that attacked us at Pearl Harbor. Kristol is parroting liberal myths.

In the Cold War the United States welcomed as allies Chiang Kai-shek, Salazar, Franco, Somoza, the Shah, Suharto, Syngman Rhee, Park Chung Hee and the Korean generals, Greek colonels, military regimes in Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey, Marcos, and Pinochet because these autocrats proved far more reliable than democratists like Nehru, Olaf Palme, Willy Brandt, and Pierre Trudeau. When it comes to wars that threaten us, hot or cold, we Americans are at one with Nietzsche, “A state, it is the coldest of all cold monsters.”

India is democratic and 200 times the size of Israel. Yet in India’s wars with Pakistan, we tilted toward Pakistan. Why? Because the Pakistanis were allies, and India sided with Moscow. That India was democratic and Pakistan autocratic made no difference to us.

As for Israel, has America really given her $100 billion and taken her side in every Arab quarrel because she is a democracy?

Tell it to Tony Judt. When this British historian proposed—given the impossibility of separating Arabs from Jews on the West Bank—that Israel annex the West Bank, become a bi-national state, and give Palestinians equal rights, neocons went berserk.

Frum called Judt’s idea “genocidal liberalism” that would leave Jews exposed to slaughter. John Podhoretz declared it “unthinkable” and “the definition of intellectual corruption.” “[H]aughty and ugly,” said the New Republic, which hurled Judt from its masthead.

But if the just solution to the South African problem was to abolish bantustans and create a one-man, one-vote democracy, why is that not even a debatable solution to the Palestinian problem?

In temperament, too, neoconservatives have revealed themselves as the antithesis of conservative. In the depiction of scholar Claes Ryn, they are the “neo-Jacobins” of modernity whose dominant trait is conceit.

Only great conceit could inspire a dream of armed world hegemony. The ideology of benevolent American empire and global democracy dresses up a voracious appetite for power. It signifies the ascent to power of a new kind of American, one profoundly at odds with that older type who aspired to modesty and self-restraint.

The Perle-Frum book is marinated in conceit, which may prove the neocons’ fatal flaw. In the run-up to the invasion, when critics were exposing their plotting for war long before 9/11, the neocons did not bother to deny it. They reveled in it. They boasted about who they were, where they came from, what they believed, how they were different, and how they had become the new elite. With Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush marching to their war drums, one of them bellowed, “We are all neoconservatives now!”

But it is always unwise of courtiers to boast of their influence with the prince. And now the neocons have outed themselves. We all know who they are. We all have the coordinates. We all have them bracketed.

With the heady days of the fall of Baghdad behind us and our country ensnared in a Lebanon of our own, neocons seem fearful that it is they who will be made to take the fall if it all turns out badly in Iraq, as McNamara and his Whiz Kids had to take the fall for Vietnam.

And this one they’ve got right.

March 1, 2004 issue
Copyright © 2004 The American Conservative"

Commissar Frum, by Justin Raimondo

Commissar Frum, by Justin Raimondo: "COMMISSAR FRUM
Former Presidential speechwriter smears antiwar conservatives

This day [March 19] has been too too depressing. Not only is the nation plunged into a horrific and unnecessary war – a war that will kill many thousands of innocents, bankrupt the country, and create a bloody chaos in the Middle East – but, to top it off, David Frum, the ex-White House speechwriter and author of the "axis of evil" phrase, has just informed me that he's turning his back on me. Am I to be spared nothing?

Say – what? Let me explain….

In another life, Frum might have been a Soviet-era commissar, grimly ticking off the ideological deviations of his victims, and stonily informing them that they would soon be taking a one-way trip to Siberia. In his present incarnation, however, after being fired from his White House position, the author of Dead Right, a polemical narrative about the evolution of the conservative movement, and other books, has settled into his role as chief political commissar of the "mainstream" conservative movement.

A more energetic enforcer of neoconservative orthodoxy could hardly be wished for: If Bill Kristol is the little Lenin of the neocons, and Norman Podhoretz their Stalin, then Frum is their Felix Dzerzhinsky, the much-feared founder of the Soviet secret police. In Dead Right, Frum smears Russell Kirk, the intellectual founding father of the modern conservative movement, as a purveyor of anti-Semitic "cracks" and similarly slanders Henry Regnery, the pioneer conservative publisher.

Regnery, says Frum-Dzerzhinsky, "showed a curious partiality, throughout his long career, for anti-interventionist, anti-British, and anti-Israeli books." He darkly hints that Regnery was a closet Nazi by informing us that the premier conservative publisher "was a student in Nazi Germany in the 1930s." What were these "anti-Israeli books" Frum is so peeved about? The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? Hardly. Instead, the offending volume is probably Alfred Lilienthal's What Price Israel?, which Regnery published in 1953: the author, of the Jewish faith, argued against Zionism from a religious perspective, and complained that "the word 'Jew' is now being used simultaneously to denote a universal faith and a particular nationality; and the corresponding allegiances to religion and to state have become confused."

It is precisely this confusion that, today, allows Frum and his fellow neocons to smear anyone and everyone who dares to so much as look at Ariel Sharon cross-eyed as an "anti-Semite." For the sin of having published a book by a Jewish author that questioned the wisdom of conflating state and religion, the man who also brought out William F. Buckley, Jr.'s God and Man at Yale and Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind, among other classics, is not to be forgiven.

The same police-state methodology is utilized in Frum's latest decree of banishment, which National Review has decided to publish as their wartime cover story, in which he announces

"War is a great clarifier. It forces people to take sides. The paleoconservatives have chosen and the rest of us must choose too. In a time of danger, they have turned their backs on their country. Now we turn our backs on them."

Comrade Frum puts all of us antiwar conservatives in the dock, and conducts the literary equivalent of the Moscow Show Trials, with Pat Buchanan in the role of Trotsky, the popular conservative columnist Robert J. Novak playing the part of Bukharin, and various and sundry minor figures equally deserving of a one-way trip to the frozen tundra:

"You may know the names of these antiwar conservatives. Some are famous: Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak. Others are not: Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Justin Raimondo, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, and Taki Theodoracopulos."

We are guilty, says Frum, of nothing less than sedition:

"They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation's enemies."

My own particular sins, it seems, extend even to the personal. Describing the wide diversity of the paleo-conservative tendency, Frum writes: "What connection could there be between the devoutly Catholic Thomas Molnar and the exuberantly pagan Justin Raimondo?"

In spite of the well-known, shall we say earthiness of Sicilians, and Italians in general, I won't take this as an ethnic slur – that being the exclusive prerogative of certain approved victim groups. It is, however, indicative of the Frummian mindset.

Seething beneath the surface of Frum's polemic is a terrific sense of ethnic grievance, a victimological slant that amounts to a veritable monomania. Frum is the author of a peculiar conspiracy theory in which all attacks on the War Party – and especially those coming from the right – are part of a Vast Anti-Semitic Plot, with tentacles lurking in the most unlikely places.

Witness his bizarre explanation for the February 23 edition of Tim Russert's "Meet the Press," during which Russert was so bold as to ask Richard Perle: ""Can you assure American viewers . . . that we're in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?"

This question – oh, the impertinence! – was motivated, not by Russert, but by the sinister influence of us antiwar conservatives, who somehow implanted this meme in his mind. "Perle rebutted the allegation," avers Frum, without saying how, "but what a grand victory for the antiwar conservatives that Russert felt he had to air it." We forced him to do it: we put a gun to Russert's head, and said: Ask it, or you're a goner. I suspect there are many conservatives who dream of doing just that to Mr. Russert – only imagining it, of course. From the gale force of Frum's wrath, however, one gets the impression that he would've really liked to have pulled the trigger. But since Russert is rather beyond his range, Frum has instead directed his fire at an imaginary cabal that he endows with near supernatural powers.

Russert's question is a perfectly natural one to ask: it was no doubt motivated, not by some conspiracy of anti-Semites, but by a natural curiosity as to what Perle's answer would be. The President has said that we are invading Iraq because it threatens its neighbors: yet Israel is the only nation in the neighborhood calling for war. Even Turkey, our longtime ally and Israel's good friend, refused to let U.S. troops use its territory as a launching pad. Sharon recently announced to a group of visiting congressmen that he expected the U.S. to move on Syria, Iran, and Libya next. Perle, after all, has worked for the Israeli government; he prepared a policy paper for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for regime change in Iraq; and he is widely known as the chief advocate of spreading the war throughout the Middle East, even unto Egypt.

Given this confluence of interests and ideology between Sharon's Likud party, an extremist movement by any standard, and a highly placed official in the Pentagon, why shouldn't Russert ask such a question? Unless, of course, the conflation of ethnicity and nationhood that Lilienthal bemoaned is a device that Frum uses to smear his political enemies.

Topping the list of our crimes, Frum's indictment accuses antiwar conservatives and libertarians of making "common cause" with The Enemy: no, not by raising money for the Taliban but because "the websites of the antiwar conservatives approvingly cite and link to the writings of John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky, Ted Rall, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other anti-Americans of the far Left."

Oh, the horror! To actually approve of anything these people might say, even in part, is impermissible in the police state universe of the neocons' top political commissar. But Gore Vidal is hardly a leftist: he is closer to the Old Right than the so-called far left. He is also a patriot, as any reader of his wonderful historical novels is aware.

Alexander Cockburn may be a man of the left, but he is also a writer of talent, and his leftism is idiosyncratic. Cockburn was much harder on the Clinton administration and Janet Reno when they murdered 80 or so Christians at Waco than National Review: he defended the right-wing militia movement as a popular upsurge, while the neocons disdained them as they despise all populist movements.

I have my criticisms of Noam Chomsky, who, for all his fearsome reputation, seems to me to be a bit of a pussy-cat. Chomsky's critique of the U.S., as the major terrorist actor in the world refers to the U.S. government, which, for neocons, is synonymous with the American people. It is odd for an alleged "conservative" to equate the two, but Frum, at least by Russell Kirk's lights, is no conservative.

Pilger and Fisk are reporters, albeit with opinions, but since Frum doesn't tell us why they are supposed to be beyond the pale, the reason for their inclusion in the Axis of Journalistic Evil must remain a mystery. Every movement has its hate-objects, as well as its heroes, and the Chomsky-Fisk-Pilger trinity serves that purpose in the self-referential world of the neocons. The mere mention of their names is like a curse, an incantation of evil.

It is a party-lining mentality, narrow and dogmatic, that can only be called Soviet, an archaic and boring attitude that cannot be credibly maintained on the internet. A website is not a political party. If, as editorial director of Antiwar.com, I only posted links to material that I approved of, in toto – or even for the most part – our readers would find the site far less interesting, and would visit less often. More importantly, however, Frum misses the whole point of internet journalism: its great advantage over the dead-tree variety is that the writer is given the opportunity to document what he is saying: a link is an extended footnote, often purely informational, sometimes polemical, or maybe just plain humorous. This gives writers (and editors) a tremendous freedom, and, with it, a responsibility to document their claims by providing links. It's harder to lie on the internet.

Such a technology is naturally not conducive to the neocons' party-lining Soviet mentality, and it is telling that Frum's piece, which appeared on the internet before it ever saw print, contains not a single link. That's because most of it is lies: he pulls quotes out of context, without linking to the original, and is liberal in his use of ellipses. Readers who bother to check the original – not, one will have to sadly admit, your typical National Review reader – will find that he's distorted the meaning of the original beyond recognition.

In my own case, at least, the facts are easily checkable, since most of my articles and columns are online, and the record is there for all to see. Yet Frum stupidly insists on creating a fiction out of whole cloth, ironically accusing me of "conspiracy-theorizing," to wit:

"Justin Raimondo, an Internet journalist who delivered Pat Buchanan's nominating speech at the Reform party convention in 2000, alleged in December 2001 that Israel was implicated in the terror attacks of 9/11: 'Whether Israeli intelligence was watching, overseeing, collaborating with or combating the bin Ladenites is an open question. . . . That the Israelis had some significant foreknowledge and involvement in the events preceding 9/11 seems beyond dispute.' Raimondo has also repeatedly dropped broad hints that he believes the October 2001 anthrax attacks were the work of an American Jewish scientist bent on stampeding the U.S. into war."

What he fails to mention is the subject of the piece he quoted: a four-part series on Fox News by Carl Cameron in which Cameron, a top-notch investigative reporter, made the following charge:

"There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9-11 attacks, but investigators suspect that they Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are – quote – 'tie-ins.' But when asked for details, he flatly refused to describe them, saying, – quote – 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified.'" – [December 11, 2001].

Cameron based his series on the Israeli connection to 9/11, in part, on a leaked report compiled by the Drug Enforcement Agency's internal security service, documenting an extensive spy operation in the U.S. Salon, the internet magazine, took up the story in a fascinating piece by Christopher Ketcham, and the German magazine Die Zeit, co-edited by the distinguished scholar Josef Joffe, recently reported:

"Apparently the [Israeli] agents were not interested in military or industrial facilities, but were shadowing a number of suspects, who were later involved in the terrorist attacks against the US."

Die Zeit cites a report of the French intelligence agency:

"According to the FBI, Arab terrorists and suspected terror cells lived in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as in Miami and Hollywood, Florida from December 2000 to April 2001 in direct proximity to the Israeli spy cells. According to the report, the Mossad agents were interested in the leader of the terrorists, Mohammed Atta and his key accomplice, Marwan al-Shehi. Both lived in Hamburg before they settled in Hollywood, Florida in order to plan the attacks. A Mossad team was also operating in the same town."

The leader, Hanan Serfati, had rented several dwellings' that were "Next Door to Mohammed Atta," as the title of the article by Oliver Schrom put it. 'Everything indicates that the terrorists were constantly observed by the Israelis.' Schrom writes:

'The chief Israeli agent was staying right near the post office where the terrorists had a mailbox. The Mossad also had its sights on Atta's accomplice Khalid al-Midhar, with whom the CIA was also familiar, but allowed to run free.'"

In detailing these allegations, I was not "conspiracy-theorizing," but merely reporting facts. Are the edtiors at Fox News, Salon, and Die Zeit in on some sort of plot to defame the state of Israel? Are they all, along with Tim Russert, part of a Vast Anti-Semitic Conspiracy?

As for my "broad hints" that the anthrax attacks were the work of "an American Jewish scientist" with political views similar to Frum's, he is here referring to a number of columns I wrote on the strange career of Colonel Philip Zack, the subject of a series of articles in the Hartford Courant. Zack worked at Ft. Detrick's U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, had accesss to bio-engineered toxins, and was videotaped sneaking into the facility at night with the aid of an accomplice, according to the Courant [January 21, 2002] Zack, in addition, had a problem with Arabs, and was part of a clique that harassed Arab employees of the facility, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the victims, Dr. Ayaad Assaad.

I have no knowledge of Dr. Zack's religious or ethnic identity, and did not raise the subject. I will have to take Frum's word for it that Zack is Jewish. But, so what?

Like all monomaniacs, Frum always returns to his
favorite subject.

One of his favorite targets is Bob Novak, who is accused of "terror denial" (you know, kinda like "Holocaust denial") for contradicting Condolezza Rice's odd contention that Hezbollah is "the world's most dangerous terrorist organization." Surely that dubious honor must go to Al Qaeda, Novak rightly points out: but this is "terror denial," according to Frum, who references the 1983 Beirut bombing that killed 241 servicemen: Novak, he avers, "did not bother" to mention that. But is it really necessary to remind Frum of that little contretemps on 9/11? The poor little man is so wound up with his own hyperbole that he seems to have forgotten all about it. Novak notes that, from an Israeli point of view, Hezbollah is the main danger: he cites a Hezbollah leader to the effect that his group has no intention of attacking the U.S., which – one might think – would be good news to an American. But Frum's viewpoint is not that of an American: he is, after all, a Canadian, one who, to be sure, seems to believe that Israel is the fifty-first state. "Outside this fight [against Israel], we have done nothing," says Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary-general. One can't help thinking that Frum finds this disappointing.

Another great sin of which we antiwar conservatives and libertarians are guilty is "defeatism." Pat Buchanan comes in for some criticism on this question for saying the obvious:

"We remain unrivaled in material wealth and military dominance, but these are no longer the components of might. . . . Our instinct is the strongman's impulse: hit back, harder. But like British Lobsterbacks dropped in a colonial wilderness, we don't know this battle, and the weapons within our reach are blunt."

Frum is so psyched up by the prospect of this war, so high on the triumphalism that is now energizing the War Party, that he can no longer distinguish between treason and realism – or else, doesn't care to. Novak, too, is targeted as a "defeatist" for having said:

"The CIA, in its present state, is viewed by its Capitol Hill overseers as incapable of targeting bin Laden. That leads to an irresistible impulse to satisfy Americans by pulverizing Afghanistan."

The news that we are launching a new and major operation in Afghanistan, specifically to capture the still elusive Osama bin Laden & Sons – which are still quite active in that supposedly conquered country – punctures the hectoring Frum like the hot-air balloon he is, and validates the saturnine Novak's skepticism. Good old Bob – may he live forever!

As far as the high crime of "defeatism" goes, I am apparently the worst offender:

"Raimondo was more explicit still on March 12, 2003. Speaking of the negative consequences he foresaw of even a successful American campaign in Iraq, he wrote: 'It is a high price to pay for 'victory' – so high that patriots might almost be forgiven if they pine for defeat.'"

The old cut-and-paste technique – tearing a single sentence out of a 2,000-word essay – is on stark display here. Again, although Frum's screed appears on the internet, there is no link to the material he is discussing. Frum's contempt for his readers may, perhaps, be deserved, but I can't help thinking that at least some of them resent it. In any case, the theme of that particular column was that the U.S. military is going to be blamed, as usual, for the failure of the civilians' grandiose postwar plans. This is hardly the perspective of a "defeatist," since, for one, it assumes an American military victory. Does anybody doubt it? To be a "defeatist" in this war is to assume the impossible – that Iraq's dilapidated military, shrunken by at least 30 percent since the last Gulf war, is a match for the world's mightiest army.

So what does "defeatism" mean, in this context? Frum wants it to mean skepticism in the face of the hopeless crusade undertaken by this administration, which is to implant "democracy" in a region that has never known it. If opposition to the fruitless and thankless task of "nation-building" is "defeatism," then the President himself is guilty of it – at least in his incarnation as a candidate in the 2000 elections, when he disdained the very idea as an expensive and inherently dangerous delusion.

Beyond all that, however, Frum's odd translation of my skepticism – a profoundly conservative skepticism of all social engineering schemes, whether hatched by liberals or "neo"-conservatives – into "defeatism" is rooted in a peculiar psychology. Seen through the prism of a neocon ideologue – or any sort of fanatic – the phrase "might almost be forgiven" blurs and morphs into treason. The ideologue cannot see ambiguity, and is immune to irony. Any sort of subtlety eludes him. He paints a portrait of the world that is all broad brush strokes, bereft of detail and without shades of color and meaning, one-dimensional and unreal. This is the great disability of the ideologue – yes, even one of the libertarian persuasion! – and Frum seems to have a really bad case of it, so bad that he can't see or think straight.

Worst of all, the robotic mentality of the ideologue cannot perceive or understand emotions. That's why the neocon concept of patriotism – in their flat, one-dimensional world – takes on the hectoring Soviet tone that recalls the leftist origins of Frum's faction. Frum's antennae can't pick up the ineffable sadness in my tone: he is, in a literary sense, completely tone-deaf. It's sad, really, to contemplate, and more than validates Russell Kirk's 1991 warning to the rising generation of conservatives:

"Conservatism is the negation of ideology. Ideology is an attempt to govern all life by political slogans; while American conservatives believe that no mere political formulas can make a people content. Conservatives take for their guide in politics what Edmund Burke called 'the wisdom of the species': that is, the experience of human beings in community, extending over many centuries. Thus, American conservatism is a cast of mind and character, not a neat body of political abstractions. Ideology is political fanaticism, an endeavor to rule the world by rigorous abstract dogmata. The dogmata of an abstract 'democratic capitalism' may be mischievous as the dogmata of Marx."

We watch, in horrified fascination, as Bush's centurions pour into Iraq, and the dangerous mischief Kirk feared is all around us. Skeptics are "defeatists." Prudence is "terror denial." An internet link is evidence of a conspiracy to commit sedition.

The rest of Frum's essay is an inside-baseball blow-by-blow description of the faction fights that have plagued the Right over the past decade, and, as such, are of minimal interest to my readers. Suffice to say that, here, too, the conspiracy theorist in Frum comes to the fore: he even manages to drag in an obscure writer of anti-Semitic tracts, Kevin MacDonald, whom he admits "does not quite belong to the paleoconservative club." I had never heard of MacDonald until I read a negative review of one of his books in … The American Conservative! The author of the review was Frum's fellow National Review columnist John Derbyshire, who sure was a lot softer on MacDonald than I would have been. And yet MacDonald is portrayed as a member of a "movement" in which I am supposed to be a major figure. What a load of malarkey!

Frum does not even confront the essential argument made by paleoconservatives and libertarians against this war: that its consequences on the home front are going to be the worst of it. Yet Frum is, himself, the best evidence that we are right, for war has surely brought out the worst in him. Not only are his arguments completely lame, but the viciousness that motivates them is truly ugly. Which is why, in answer to his announcement that he and his fellow neocons have turned their backs on us, one can only say: Thank God for that!

Frum slimes a good number of conservative and libertarian opponents of this war, including Lew Rockwell and Chronicles editor Tom Fleming, who are quite capable of defending themselves. Suffice to say that Frum’s hatred for anyone who dares to question the neoconservative orthodoxy on any question, from war to the proper conservative view of Abraham Lincoln, is so coruscating that the reader is instinctively repulsed – not by the slandered, but by the slanderer. Something else, the reader feels, is going on here.

What’s going on is that the neoconservatives have been caught off guard by the extent and intensity of antiwar sentiment on the Right. They thought they had a monopoly on the foreign policy stance of thinking conservatives, but this turned out to be far from true. Patrick Buchanan’s new magazine, The American Conservative, has challenged their hegemony on this front, and resentment of the neocons is rife, not only on the Right, but pretty much universally. I’ve been writing about them since long before the Kosovo war broke out as the nucleus of a malevolent intellectual cancer, the Politboro of the War Party, but it is only recently, with the long build-up to this latest war, that this meme has traveled far and wide. It is now almost a daily occurrence to read a new article by some commentator that this war is the demon child of the neocons. Analysts, left and right, have been tracing the paper trail all the way back to a seminal 1996 essay by Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, in which they propose "benevolent world hegemony" as the goal of American foreign policy in a unipolar world.

Under attack, and on the defensive, the neocons are now claiming that to even use the term "neoconservative" is to commit an anti-Semitic act. As Jonah Goldberg puts it:

"People who want to denounce the influence of Jews get to use the word 'neocon' when they really mean 'Jewish conservatives' without being held accountable."

The absurd Jacobinism of this approach should be all too apparent to virtually everyone on the Right, no matter what prefix precedes their conservatism. With a single pronunciamento from the self-appointed Lord High Executioner of the Right, dozens of books, and many more academic dissertations, are now hurled into the furnace as "hate speech." Peter Steinfels’ The Neoconservatives, Gary Dorrien’s The Neoconservative Mind, not to mention Madness and Ruin: Politics and the Economy in the Neoconservative Age, by Mel Watkins, all these authors were using the term neoconservative as a code-word for Jew, must now be held "accountable."

It is the neocons, however, who will be held accountable. They are now getting high off the triumphant march of American troops as they race toward Baghdad, and will no doubt get quite a rush celebrating their great "victory," but when the bill comes due – when the real costs begin to mount, and the natives get restless -- they will slip quietly toward the door. Having made the world well aware of their key role in all this, Antiwar.com – and this columnist – can take some pride in the certainty that they will not sneak out unnoticed.

That is what scares the neocons, and enrages Frum and his cohorts – and isn’t that just tough. Learn to live with it, guys, and enjoy your moment in the sun – while you can.

– Justin Raimondo"