The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

It’s the neo-conservatism, stupid (not the President)!

with 4 comments

Despite waning Administration influence, blowback from neo-conservative policies approaches gale force. Consider these excerpts from the DemocracyNow! summary of June 5 alone, and ask yourself if the President acted alone:

1. Gitmo tribunal falls apart: “U.S. military judges have dropped all war crimes charges against the
only two Guantanamo prisoners facing trial by military tribunal. The judges said they lacked jurisdiction under the strict definition of those eligible for trial under the Military Commissions Act…”

2. Surge not working: “The U.S. military has privately admitted the so-called surge is failing to meet its targets….”

3. Cold war returns: “President Bush has arrived in the Czech Republic as tensions mount between Washington and Moscow over the Bush administration’s plan to deploy a missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to target Russian missiles at Europe if Washington goes ahead with the project. …”

4. Abandoned treaty bites US: “Putin also accused Washington of altering the strategic balance by unilaterally pulling out of the anti-ballistic missile treaty in 2002. …”

5. Environmental policy brings record demonstrations: “Germany is deploying 16,000 police officers and 1,100 soldiers to the small resort town of Heiligendamm, the site of the three day summit. … President Bush’s new proposal for a climate change strategy that rejects setting mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions has been widely criticized. …”

6. Israel nailed for disregard of law, rights: “To mark the 40th anniversary of the war, Amnesty International issued a major report on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Amnesty accused Israel of blatantly violating international laws and imposing collective punishment on the Palestinian population. …”

7. War policy threatens vet: “A military panel has recommended that an Iraq war veteran should lose
his honorable discharge status because he wore his uniform during an anti-war protest. … Gary Kurpius, national commander of the VFW said ‘Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same Democratic right we’re trying to instill in Iraq is not what we’re all about.'”

Maybe it’s time to realize the President isn’t the problem. His administration was led by neo-conservative giants: Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld. His policies and the execution of them – and their failures – were not his own alone. The “US-first-no-matter-who-likes-it” of neoconservatism is that which brought us to this mess. It’s the outlook that has failed.

As long as these troubles are pinned on Bush alone, the arrogant view from which they come will be sold by other pitch-men (Mitt Romney comes to mind), who likely will claim the President just bungled a good thing.


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Written by Monte

June 6, 2007 at 11:26 am

4 Responses

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  1. No argument here, al66888. People of integrity all around – people who can keep their integrity in the face of that world more concerned with power than government – is indeed the need of the hour, and it does appear they are few.

    And you’re right: I see neo-con and Republican as two very different things. And the reason I wrote this post is partly for just that reason: it seems important that people understand the difference.

    Neo-conservatism seems flagrantly immoral to me, and rooted in power rather that government. This piece struck me as a significant summary: Iran, Neocons, and Christianity.

    With respect,
    Monte

    Monte

    June 12, 2007 at 8:42 pm

  2. As to #1- while I am not saying you do- many lump in conservative with neocon with republican. There’s a big difference and frankly myself among many who tend to lean conservative, are DONE with W.

    I’d actually like to see a little more personal accountability from all sides and parties. I believe there is a collective thought process throughout DC that simply forgets the American people and panders to the special interest of the day. DC is more concerned with power than government. I look around, and sadly, I don’t see many leaders- and that’s liberal, conservative, republican, democrat, and/or any other.

    al66888

    June 12, 2007 at 12:41 pm

  3. Thanks, al66888, for your good thoughts. A few responses:
    1. I see a big difference between conservatism and neo-conservatism. The latter group pitches the US as the world’s one permanent super-power, and that governments hostile to that proposition should be destabilized, by force where necessary. I do believe that the failure of the Bush Administration in the international arena is partly an illustration of the natural results of those values. The world is worse off than it was – and I don’t see that as a problem with conservative policy, but with this rather sinister step-child of it. As you point out, it’s easy to see that fiscal conservatives are not in sympathy with much that the Bush administration has done.
    2. Regarding the tribunals, suppression of rights where they make hindrance to American domination is, indeed, a neo-con value, though, again, often not one of traditional conservatives (hence the libertarian-conservative dislike of the way things are). Use of the tribunals for trial of “war on terror” suspects, and the setting of the rules for doing so, though, has been championed openly in court and in Congress by the Bush Administration itself.
    3. I didn’t quote the McGowan story because it wasn’t germaine: I was excerpting to demonstrate consequences of neo-conservatism.
    4. Finally, all that is not meant to diminish culpability of the Administration itself, but simply to say that questions need to be asked of the values which it ended up serving. I thought “compassionate conservatism” was promising, but felt it was quickly hijacked by foreign-policy ideologues. And, as always happens in ideologically-driven ventures (as opposed to, to use your words, “common sense”), compassion was soon forced to the back of the bus.
    Best wishes,
    Monte

    Monte

    June 8, 2007 at 3:06 pm

  4. I hate the term neo-conservative or neocon, because it’s connotation is now a slur. As you know, since you’ve been on my blog, I tend to lean conservative, but think there needs to be a little more common sense instead of party towing.

    That being said, I like to point out, and recent poll numbers will back, that most conservatives don’t truly support the President anymore. What I do find interesting is the fact that everything is someone else’s fault. There is no personal responsibility today. If it’s not George Bush’s fault, it’s his neocon cronies. I mean, for some points on this list, conservatives are fed up. Like # 2 that talks about how the surge isn’t working. This has been a poorly run war- the only thing that was executed properly was the take out of Saddam. Other than that it’s been a mess. And #7, I don’t remember the conservatives setting laws on military panels. That’s a military operation, and they run by their own code.

    The site Democracy now sometimes tends to take an extreme view. I like how you highlighted some things but left out the clip about the ELF member who was arrested:

    Environmental Activist Daniel McGowan Sentenced to 7 Years
    In Oregon, the environmental activist Daniel McGowan has been sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in a pair of politically motivated arsons in the Pacific Northwest McGowan is the ninth member of the Earth Liberation Front to be sentenced. The judge ruled one of the arsons was an act of terrorism. The Civil Liberties Defense Center and the National Lawyers Guild have criticized the Bush administration for treating the activists like terrorists since their actions involved only property damage.

    It’s almost laughable- that ultra left groups would criticize Bush for a judge’s decision. But what’s even more laughable is the fact that they even write- “treating the activists like terrorists since their actions involved only property damage. ” I mean hey, what’s a little arson if it’s for a cause? I’m sure the 9/11 hijackers were thinking the same thing.

    al66888

    June 7, 2007 at 9:23 pm


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