A Neocon Re-write of American History
(ConsortiumNews.com) -- by Robert Parry --
On Friday, the Washington Post offered up its typical balance on the “Washington FORUM” page – two articles by former Bush administration officials (Hank Paulson and Michael Gerson) and two articles by prominent neocons (Robert Kagan and Max Boot). But Boot’s opinion piece – advocating never-ending largesse for the U.S. military – was perhaps the most insidious.
Boot constructed what purported to be a historical narrative demonstrating why it was always a mistake for the U.S. government to trim back its standing army, arguing that such cutbacks caused troubles from the Whiskey Rebellion after the Revolutionary War to George W. Bush’s botched occupation of Iraq.
The lesson, according to Boot, is to maintain a very large military even after a major conflict ends and to view the current defense budget – which is approaching nearly half of what the entire world spends on military costs – as “a bargain considering the historic consequences of letting our guard down.”
And Boot is not just some obscure neocon hawk. He is Gen. David Petraeus’s BFF. In one recently publicized e-mail exchange between them, they discussed how the general could back away from his congressional testimony which mildly criticized Israel. At the end of one e-mail, Petraeus thanked Boot with a sideways happy face made from a colon, a hyphen and a closed parenthesis, :-) .
Boot also is employed by the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, so his writings are treated with great respect in Washington opinion circles...
Indeed, the fact that Boot suggests that the post-Vietnam drawdown of the U.S. military was partly responsible for the defeat of corrupt pro-U.S. dictators in Nicaragua and Iran reveals the underlying danger of his argument. Is he suggesting that a larger imperial American military would have intervened in those civil wars to prop up client dictators?
Apparently, in Boot’s view, the answer is yes. After the failed war in Vietnam – with 58,000 Americans and millions of Indochinese dead – he seems to think that the United States should have been ready to send expeditionary forces to Nicaragua and to Iran to suppress popular uprisings.
What Boot and other neocons envision for American citizens is endlessly footing the bill for a global police force, one that would wage war anytime and anywhere to defend some vaguely defined U.S. interest, essentially what President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney set off to do after the 9/11 attacks with catastrophic results.
Yet that is not a lesson the neocons have learned.
Appreciating the Founders
Considering the interminable wars that the neocons favor – and the painful side effects on the American people – one has a deeper appreciation for the wisdom of the Founders in their effort to balance the need for an adequate defense against the negatives that accompany a bloated war machine...MORE...LINK
Related: DO NEOCONS EXIST?
..."benevolent world hegemony," the fatuous phrase in which William Kristol and Robert Kagan summed up the goal of a neocon post-cold war foreign policy, has a positively Soviet ring to it. The idea that the U.S. government must "export democracy" at gunpoint all around the world is a frankly revolutionary program, profoundly alien to the American conservative ethos that considers hubris a sin and distrusts power in the hands of imperfect men. The idea of democratism in one country – that constitutional republicanism can thrive only in the West, because of cultural and historical factors – is anathema to these militant internationalists. The neoconservative anomaly is that they have succeeded in redefining "conservatism" as Trotskyism turned inside out.
That the third or fourth generation of rightists seems unaware of or indifferent to their ideological legacy merely underscores the success of the "entrist" infiltration tactic often used by Trotskyists over the years. Trotsky and his followers, in league with Sidney Hook – a major neocon icon – did this in the Socialist Party in the 1930s, and the Trotskyists became infamous for their skill at infiltration. (The most recent example was the discovery of French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's membership in a secretive Trotksyist cell.) Contemporary neoconservative thought bears the marks of its Trotskyist origins in the style of its expression...