The New Antiwar Populism
The neocons are in a panic over it
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
The War Party is running scared – and with good reason. Writing in the Washington Post, neocons Danielle Pletka and Thomas Donnelly are in a panic that the rising “tea party” movement, which upended the Republican establishment at the polls, is about to abandon “the defense of freedom” in faraway Afghanistan in favor of rescuing what’s left of our freedom closer to home:
“Since World War II, a touchstone of American conservatism has been the defense of freedom. The freedoms of others were regarded as essential to secure and enjoy our own. In 2010, however, the conservative movement – and the party that seeks to represent it – is at a crossroads. One path continues in this direction; the other leads backward, seeking to defend freedom only at home. The choice conservatives make will go a long way toward defining America and the world, still more toward defining the future of the right.”
As the nation sinks into an economic depression that looks to rival and even exceed that of the 1930s, the cost of maintaining an overseas empire is taking a big bite out of the federal budget – economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates the cost of the Iraq war at three trillion dollars and counting – and conservatives are beginning to wake up to the fact that being the world’s policeman can only end in national bankruptcy.
The Pletka-Donnelly tag team, however, will have none of this: Pletka is a longtime top official of the American Enterprise Institute, and was, you’ll recall, one of Ahmed Chalabi’s loudest promoters, going so far as to attack the Bush administration when her hero was charged with espionage – on behalf of the Iranians – and his headquarters in Iraq raided by US troops. Donnelly has long been the neocons’ go-to man for coming up with reasons why we always need more “defense” spending – because spending more on the military than all other nations on earth combined isn’t enough. It’s never enough, as far as the neoconservatives are concerned, and the rising dissent from this view on the right is abhorred by this duo as rank heresy.
“The road backward beckons in an almost Calvinistic call to fiscal discipline; austerity is its virtue even before national security in a time of war. Libertarians and Tea Party darlings such as Ron and Rand Paul and conservative stalwarts such as Tom Coburn have long inhabited this political territory. Members of the GOP vanguard such as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and, possibly, insurgent Tea Party candidates are joining them.
“Thin threads bind these cloth-coat Republicans. Some simply wish to spend less; if that means under-resourcing the war in Afghanistan, so be it. To them, the Defense Department is another case of wasteful government and bureaucratic collusion that has, in Coburn’s words, ‘allowed the military-industrial complex to make things unaffordable.’ For others, doctrinaire fiscal conservatism blends easily with a renewed isolationism. As one GOP up-and-comer told us recently, ‘America has borne the burden of making the world secure for 60 years; it’s someone else’s turn.’”
Oddly, Pletka and Donnelly come off sounding like liberal Democrats – is trying to rein in spending at a time of severe economic crisis really “Calvinistic,” or just plain common sense?...
They never bought into the free market, anti-government radicalism of the traditional right, or the tea partiers of today: the decision to go into the GOP was motivated solely by their horror at the takeover of the Democratic party by anti-interventionist supporters of George McGovern in 1972. Indeed, the neocons’ house organ, The Weekly Standard, raised high the banner of “big government conservatism,” as Standard senior editor Fred Barnes proudly (and accurately) deemed it, which didn’t abjure spending like a drunken sailor – as long as big corporations and military contractors got the lions’ share of the goodies, and poor people got the crumbs, if that. This label gave way, during the post-cold war years, to “national greatness conservatism,” which combined the monument-building of the pharaohs with the megalomania that motivated Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol to proclaim in his foreign policy manifesto that the US should seek to establish a “benevolent global hegemony.” Where Alexander failed, the neocons would succeed.
Except it didn’t turn out that way. Energized by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in place at key points in the administration of George W. Bush, they did indeed succeed in getting us bogged down in seemingly endless wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan – and discrediting themselves in the process. When the country discovered they had been hoodwinked by the mirage of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction,” and the “cakewalk” promised by neocon armchair generals failed to materialize, the desire for change – any kind of change – swept the GOP from power. The conservative movement woke up, on November 5, 2008, to find a world in which eight years of neoconservative rule had led to bigger government on the home front and a foreign policy that made us less safe, more hated, and nearly bankrupt...
In retreat, and discredited on the right as well as in the eyes of the country at large, these dead-ender neocons are lashing out at the alleged “Calvinists” of the tea party, who are threatening to take away their expensive toys. When Sen. Coburn (R-Oklahoma) attacks the military-industrial complex, he’s attacking their meal ticket: Pletka’s American Enterprise Institute, otherwise known as Neocon Central, owes its very existence to the willingness of major military contractors like Boeing and Lockheed to shell out big bucks. In the case of the neocons’ fervent defense of a bloated “defense” establishment, the key explanation is “follow the money.”
Donnelly, for one example, was the author of a position paper put out by the Foreign Policy Initiative’s predecessor, the Project for a New American Century, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses,” [.pdf] which called for more than doubling military spending. From PNAC to Lockheed-Martin, the nation’s biggest military contractor, was a natural transition for a policy wonk who promoted permanent war. From there Donnelly went to AEI, where he and Pletka spend a lot of their time worrying about the rebellion against rampant militarism in the conservative ranks...MORE...LINK
Chris Moore comments:
Why do the neocon rants against common sense conservatism and libertarianism always sound so much like excoriations against Christianity?: "The road backward beckons in an almost Calvinistic call to fiscal discipline; austerity is its virtue even before national security in a time of war...Thin threads bind these cloth-coat Republicans..."
The neocons' intent is a nod and a wink to the "progressive" statist-liberal/State Capitalist Establishment: "You better look over there at that tea party movement; Peace-mongering, latent Christianity is on the march. Your (and our) State-worshipping and money worshipping ideology is in jeopardy with that bunch."
Never mind that the liberal-statist-capitalist axis has plundered and destroyed America, socially, economically and morally, leaving a bare husk of its former Christian self; never mind that "progressivism" is a dead end street that ends in a Soviet-like graveyard; never mind that most the neocon braintrust isn't comprised of American patriots at all, but Jewish-state loyal Israel firsters who would gladly sacrifice every non-Jewish American to the Jewish supremacy of their Zionist ideology; no, you must always beware of those evil, intolerant, virtuous, cloth coat...CHRISTIANS...booga! booga!"
But what's most sickening about all of this is that when it was George W. Bush and the corrupt Establishment GOP in power, these same chameleon neocons made subtle and not so subtle appeals to Judeo-Christian Zionism and a return to "wholesome" Old Testament biblical values as validation for their Israel first warmongering and military-industrial complex, statist war-profiteering.
These people clearly have no principles other than self-serving, sociopathic opportunism.