I don't think this is what Margaret Mead had in mind but I admit it was the first thought that popped into my mind when I saw this composite photograph and read some of the accompanying blog commentary on DownWithTyranny! back on August 9th (a portion of which follows):
Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Scooter Libby
John Bolton, Eliot Abrams, Robert Kagan, Michael Ledeen, William Kristol, Frank Gaffney Jr.
The above "Dirty Dozen" are listed as the top 12 Neocons in America. They are enabled by the secondary tier of Neocons: Senator Joe Lieberman, Charles Krauthammer, John Podhoretz, Ted Koppel, Kenneth Pollack, Daniel Pipes, Max Boot, David Horowitz, Ron Silver, Jackie Mason . . . [Editor's Note: What's in italics is taken directly from the prior blog pieces at DWT! and Kick! Making Politics Fun. I therefore do not take credit or blame for the accuracy or completeness of their lists. In fact one can quickly spot a few omissions--James Woolsey, for instance, who is often publicly described as "neoconservative" but who didn't make the listing. Also if I had written this myself, I would have certainly inserted some qualifiers like "mostly"; as in "Neocons are (mostly) conservative Jewish journalists and politicians..."]
Neocons believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power-- forcefully if necessary-- to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.
. . . Neocons are conservative Jewish journalists and politicians linked to the Right-wing Israeli Likud who support United States corporate, political, cultural and military imperialism with the use of preemptive World War if necessary-- without ruling out preemptive nuclear strikes-- to rid themselves of the Muslim Menace. This is understandable, but it is also the worst example of foreign policy in American history.
No matter. Time and time again, this group, going back to their beginnings, even before their Project for the New American Century in 1997, has shown the power of truly persistent and well organized Machiavellianism. When the more pragmatic Iraq Study Group, for instance, said the war on Iraq was not going well, Robert Kagan's brother Frederick got busy cranking out "Surge" strategy and naturally the neocon's idea prevailed against the combined intelligence of almost all other American foreign policy and military experts. A few months later, when surge news wasn't looking so rosy, the group sent neocon second stringer Kenneth Pollack and his buddy O'Hanlon on a day-or-two trip to Iraq to generate fresh propaganda to save the surge. Cheney praised their efforts liberally and, what d'ya know, the surge immediately turned into a long-term escalation.
No matter what you may think of their ideology or ethics, one cannot help being shocked and awed at the ability of this relatively small group to control the papers and politics of our country against all odds and against all reality. So they are hardly ready to Rest In Peace despite such predictions after the 2006 elections --see Salon article "Neoconservatism-RIP" for good analysis but lousy prediction. They have, in fact, proven so pre-eminently powerful that their next apparent task of rolling out this new campaign for pre-emptive massive bombing of Iran, seems nothing but a formality, a cakewalk if you will. Yes, while the rest of us mere mortals were caught up in the real reality of these first two terrible war quagmires, the neocons were already bent on making a third new war our reality.
They've given the ticket this time to first string and first-rate warmonger Michael Ledeen, with his "Iranian Time Bomb" book set to hit the airwaves and newsstands conveniently enough on the eve of 9/11. Folks may recall Ledeen as being the neocon with all that curiously coincidental but never quite proven connection to the forgery of documents about Saddam's seeking yellowcake uranium in Niger, the forged documents that Bush used to lie us into pre-emptively invading Iraq; that led to Plamegate and one other neocon (Scooter Libby's) conviction and pardon. The FBI of course couldn't solve the underlying mystery of the crude forgery. And how much do you want to bet that author Ledeen's talking head will not face one question on any news shows about his probable role in the yellowcake misadventure as he argues for new and improved war?
Sadly, you don't find hardly anyone asking the hard questions or exposing the neocons' "noble lies" except on blogs like DWT! (and Kick! which was DWT!'s original source for first and second tier neocons)--those not afraid of being politically incorrect (and, it goes without saying, from bloggers unafraid of being smeared as anti-Semite which is this "cabal's" preferred method of suppressing those who would expose them). The original blog piece, by the way, continued with the insight that "Neocons differ from old school conservatives in that they are so consumed with bombing the crap out of people all over the world that they have little inclination to bother with the social issues of guns, abortion, homos, religion and race. I suppose they could be considered the Vikings version of Rockefeller Republicans."
So do we all stand here, like helpless bystanders awaiting more world destruction from these Viking pillagers and plunderers? Or do we remember some wisdom learned the hard way, from the sign on the Holocaust Museum: "Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander." And, similarly phrased by Albert Einstein: "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." These quotes certainly don't mean that any one bystander is worse than any particular perpetrator. All they mean is that the perpetrators are few in number while the bystanders are many and could easily stop the perpetrators if they only tried.
On page 362 of the Epilogue of his insightful book Chain of Command, Seymour Hersh asked the question back in 2004 that I predict will become the major question all historians will have to answer: "How did they do it? How did eight or nine neoconservatives who believed that a war in Iraq was the answer to international terrorism get their way? How did they redirect the government and rearrange long-standing American priorities and policies with so much ease? How did they overcome the bureaucracy, intimidate the press, mislead the Congress, and dominate the military? Is our democracy that fragile?"
Historians may soon have to extend this question to include neocon-produced war on Iran. Their answer will probably not be that democracy was that fragile. Only that we had too many bystanders. Who preferred to shut their windows and close their ears so they wouldn't hear as our poor democracy was being strangled in the alley. Just like Kitty Genovese.