Originally posted June 19, 2014.
They’re back and growling. Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan, Bremer, Boot, Frum and Perle have resurfaced as profiled here by Jacob Heilbrunn. The neocon war dogs are often wrong but never in doubt, as I bet George Bush has come to understand.
Don’t look now, but the latest installment in the decades-old neocon saga is currently taking place. Reviled as serial bunglers and amateurs after the Iraq war went south, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and a host of other neoconservatives are seizing the spotlight to conduct their own very personal war of liberation. They want to free themselves from the rap that they got it all wrong. And so they are going into overdrive to pin the blame for the collapse of Iraq on anyone other than themselves. Only this time, the American people, unlike in 2003, seem primed to ignore them.
Take L. Paul Bremer III, whose move to disband the Iraqi army led to the rise of the insurgency. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he lays all blame for the chaos in Iraq at Obama’s feet, claiming that he squandered the fruits of victory by refusing to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in perpetuity. “The crisis,” Bremer writes, “unfolding in Iraq is heartbreaking especially for those families who lost loved ones there. They gave so much; it is all at risk. It did not need to be this way.” Nor is this all. Echoing Bremer, Max Boot declared in the Weekly Standard that in pulling troops out from Iraq “Obama has helped restart the war.” Even Dick Cheney, emerging from his undisclosed location, teamed up with his daughter Liz to write, with an admirable lack of self-awareness, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.” Yes, that Dick Cheney, the vice-president who predicted in August 2002 that after Saddam’s ouster, “the streets in Basra and Baghdad are sure to erupt in joy in the same way throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.” Of course, in their utopian quest to put “an end to evil,” to quote the ridiculous title of a ridiculous book by David Frum and Richard Perle, the neocons have ended up emboldening the very country they saw as the main threat to America—Iran.