We goofed Iraq ==> bomb Iran

Operation Comeback, by Joshua Muravchik

How to Cut and Run, by General Bill Odom

Third and Final Act, by William S. Lind

Falling Away With You, by Muse

Joshua Muravchik, a self-declared neoconservative, declares that he knows how to save neoconservatism from its utter failure over the past six years. His strategy? Admit mistakes, utilize public diplomacy, bomb Iran, and convince Joe Lieberman to partner a(nother) neocon for a presidential run in 2008.

The mistakes he lists are puzzling. First, he prefaces his admonitions of guilt with the obligatory "the War on Terra is important," and it requires "sacrifice" on the level of the Cold War. The only things the American people have sacrificed so far in the GWOT are their civil liberties - in that respect, it kind of is like the Cold War (COINTELPRO, etc) minus, of course, the tens of thousands of American casualties in Korea and Vietnam. Did I mention how ironic it is for a neoconservative so worshipful of democracy abroad to be so unconcerned about the dangers to it posed at home? It's almost as if what actually mattered was the perception of democracy...

Anyways, the mistakes listed are "they didn't greet us as liberators - whoops!" and "OK I guess it's important to have boots on the ground after all." The first mistake doesn't shake his fundamental belief that inside the soul of every human being there is a democrat just bursting to break out. As for the second, how ironic that Muravchik believes (or maybe he's just exercising some "public diplomacy") that it was for smaller defense budgets that neoconservatives fought for their bloated Star Wars and national missile defense ("We may have seized on a technological fix to spare ourselves the hard slog of fighting for higher defense budgets..."). But I suppose history is just another casualty of the War on Terror.

Muravchik also believes that America should fight the information war. This is common sense, although he approaches it from the "America is encircled by enemies - if only they had the truth" perspective rather than acknowledging that their perception of truth is as valid as ours. You aren't going to convert anyone away from their anti-Americanism by lecturing them.

Finally, the meat of Muravchik's idea of "saving" neoconservatism - bombing Iran. He doesn't address the contradictions between his admittance of mistakes in Iraq due to too few troops on the ground, and his idea of using pure air power to attack Iran. Instead, the rational is "imagine if they had nukes!" which relies on falsely conflating Iran with al Qaeda, and also necessitates bombing Iran every couple years until they are a flourishing democracy (because outside attackers are in a superb position to encourage democratic reform).

Enter Bill Lind (stage Right, but not as Right as Muravchik). Whereas Muravchik's worries about the counterattacks from the press and from the Democratic Party, Lind worries about the counterattacks from... Iran. "Unbeatable militaries are like unsinkable ships. They are unsinkable until someone or something sinks them." The irony is that the American Army has already been beaten once (Vietnam, not counting Gulf War I, which was also failure to achieve the political objective). Lind points out that the American Army is a sitting duck in Iraq, with its supply lines exposed. That means, if we bomb Iran, we see a LOT more of this.

Enter General Odom (stage center-right), who, by using that age-old tactic of common sense, realizes a) the United States is in a strategically untenable position for the reasons that Lind laid out, and b) the United States has common interests with Iran. We both want a stable Iraq, we both dislike al Qaeda and the Taliban (Iran helped us out in Afghanistan originally), and we both want to pump more oil.

There you have it - America's strategic interests conflicts with neoconservative ideology. Even when it is laid out in plain English, neoconservatives seem too blinded by their ideology to allow for any "Plan B." Because while Muravchik might admit to mistakes, that doesn't mean he, or neoconservatives in general, will ever learn from them.

Enter Muse:

so i'll love whatever you become
and forget the reckless things we've done
i think our lives have just begun
i think our lives have just begun

all of the love we threw away
all of the hopes we cherished fade
making the same mistakes again
making the same mistakes again

all of the love we've left behind
watching the flash backs intertwine
memories i will never find
memories i will never find

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