Goodbye, Neocons

From Salon.com:

The neoconservatives who dreamed up America’s Iraq nightmare are rushing desperately about, searching for scapegoats. Their favorite whipping boy is yesterday’s jutting-jawed hero, Donald Rumsfeld, who has been unceremoniously tossed onto the scrapheap. But they also blame the National Security Council, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, Paul Bremer, Gen. Tommy Franks and George W. Bush himself. The only thing they don’t blame is the actual culprit — neoconservative ideology itself.

The neocon finger-pointing over who lost Iraq, recently showcased in Vanity Fair, obscures the fact that Bush’s war was a laboratory in which their doctrine was tested — and completely failed. This failure was manifested on the ground and confirmed by the midterms. Most Americans don’t even know what neoconservatism is, but they know a failure when they see it — and they decisively rejected it.

Unfortunately, Bush himself and the key figures in his administration continue to cling, with the fervor of true believers, to neoconservative ideology. Bush has taken some potentially positive steps, like dumping Rumsfeld and replacing him with the more pragmatic Robert Gates, and saying he’s open to “any idea” on Iraq. And he is now under enormous pressure, not just from Democrats but also from his own party, to implement profound changes in his Middle East policies. But it remains doubtful whether a figure as dogmatic and inflexible as Bush, who regards his “war on terror” as a sacred duty, will be able to change his approach. It is essential that the fundamental failure of neoconservatism be recognized, to prevent more foreign policy debacles like Iraq. Continue reading