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Old 03-06-2005, 09:21 PM   #1
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Neocons May Get the Last Laugh

Neocons May Get the Last Laugh

By Max Boot

Los Angeles Times, March 03, 2005


"In 2003, more than a month before the invasion of Iraq, I wrote in the Weekly Standard that the forthcoming fall of Baghdad "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history - events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall - after which everything is different. If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better.""

"At the time, this kind of talk was dismissed by pretty much everyone not employed by the White House as neocon nuttiness. Democracy in the Middle East? Introduced by way of Iraq? You've got to be kidding! The only real debate in sophisticated circles was whether those who talked of democracy were simply naive fools or whether their risible rhetoric was meant to hide some sinister motive."

"Well, who's the simpleton now? Those who dreamed of spreading democracy to the Arabs or those who denied that it could ever happen? Of course, the outcome is far from clear, and even in Iraq democracy is hardly well established. Yet some pretty extraordinary things have been happening in the last few weeks."

"The most extraordinary event of all, of course, is Iraq's Jan. 30 election, when 8 million voters cast ballots despite insurgent bombs and bullets. Weeks earlier, Palestinian voters had trooped to the polls to elect a successor to Yasser Arafat. They chose Mahmoud Abbas, who proclaims his desire (sincerely or not) to end the armed struggle against Israel. Then, on Feb. 10, Saudi Arabia held its first-ever municipal elections. Only men could vote, but this was still a crack in the hitherto absolute authority of the royal family."

"Now, in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak has suddenly pledged to hold a multi-candidate election for president this fall. Will he allow a genuine contest? That opposition leader Ayman Nour remains in jail is hardly encouraging. But something significant has happened when the pharaoh feels the need to proclaim, "Egypt needs more freedom and democracy.""

"Bashar Assad, the Syrian strongman, is also feeling the heat. The assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a Feb. 14 bombing widely blamed on Syria has stirred worldwide outrage. Rivals from across the Lebanese political spectrum have united to demand the end of Syrian occupation. France and the United States, normally as divided as Lebanese Christians and Muslims, have joined to support a U.N. resolution calling for Syrian withdrawal. Washington already had made palpable its anger over Syrian backing of terrorism inside Iraq by passing the Syrian Accountability Act of 2003, which imposes sanctions on Damascus."

"Assad is trying to deflect this growing backlash through token steps such as removing some troops from Lebanon and handing over Saddam Hussein's half brother along with 29 other Baathists to Iraqi custody. But the people of Lebanon will be satisfied with nothing less than true independence. If they succeed, the Baathist regime in Damascus, which has mulcted its richer neighbor for decades, could be a goner."

"This week, tens of thousands of anti-Syrian demonstrators in Beirut forced the resignation of the pro-Syrian government of Prime Minister Omar Karami. Many are already starting to compare the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon to the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine."

"It would be the height of hubris to claim that all these developments are due to U.S. action alone. Pressure has been building up in the Middle East pressure cooker for decades; the long-suffering people of the region do not need any outside prompting to list a long litany of grievances against their dysfunctional governments. But it was the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent democratic elections there that blew the lid off the region."

""It's strange for me to say it," says Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who would never be mistaken for a Bush backer, "but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq.""

""Now with the new Bush administration," confirms former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, "we feel a stronger determination in liberating Lebanon and in promoting democracy in the Middle East.""

"Maybe, just maybe, those neocons weren't so nutty after all.

http://www.cfr.org/pub7884/max_boot/...last_laugh.php
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:27 PM   #2
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Are they right? Who knows. Time will tell, but one things for sure they love to prematurely pat themselves on the back.
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:43 PM   #3
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Time will tell, but it never hurts to pat myself on the back.
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Old 03-06-2005, 10:25 PM   #4
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
but it never hurts to pat myself on the back.
actually not being modest or humble can very often hurt.
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Old 03-06-2005, 10:32 PM   #5
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I pat myself on the back out of optimism.
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Old 03-06-2005, 10:38 PM   #6
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I pat myself on the back out of optimism.
Hmmm, OK. Not sure if that works but whatever makes you feel better.
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Old 03-07-2005, 07:47 AM   #7
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from what i've heard, they last said yassir arafat should get another nobel peace prize for dying. nobody ever gets the 'last laugh'. even if vietnam laughed at us, ho chi minh is now dead.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:27 AM   #8
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While the Iraq situation may be responsible for some of this, I wonder how much of it is due to internal pressures in some of these countries to allow more democracy? Saudi Arabia had an election? I think the House of Al-Saud is feeling really vulnerable these days, with the royal family sort of "in the doghouse" in public opinion. Lebanon? I can imagine that plenty of Lebanese are pissed off over being controlled by another country's politicians. There are plenty of Palestinians who don't subscribe to the political school of Yasser Arafat and the Intifada. The ones who do subscribe to it have been making most of the headlines recently, but the Palestinians have elected a more moderate successor.
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Old 03-09-2005, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by earthshell
from what i've heard, they last said yassir arafat should get another nobel peace prize for dying.
The tendency to schadenfreude of the Neo-cons is one of their least appealing characteristics...
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by earthshell
from what i've heard, they last said yassir arafat should get another nobel peace prize for dying.
That was from the 'neo-cons' of Israel. Newsweek is my source.
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:29 PM   #11
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CORRECTION: Time is my source.

Quote:
http://www.time.com/time/personoftheyear/2004/memoriam/

The crude joke in Israel is that Yasser Arafat deserves a second Nobel Peace Prize—for dying.
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Old 03-10-2005, 11:53 PM   #12
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Honestly neo-conservatism is the most misunderstood political school ever. You treat those that subscribe to it as a cabal of sinister puppetmasters who will willfully direct all that is wrong in the world; from war to the destruction of the environment. When somebody wants to cut down welfare spending ~ bang it's Neocons, when somebody openly supports Israel ~ Neocons, when somebody advocates millitary intervention ~ neocons. It is practically an extension of the Protocols of the elders of Zion, the fact that the most often cited neoconservatives are Pearle, Wolfowitz and Kristol certainly add to that perception.

For a full and proper rundown of neoconservatism I strongly recomend this article
Quote:
"[President Bush is] an engaging person, but I think for some reason he's been captured by the neoconservatives around him."

--Howard Dean, U.S. News & World Report, August 11, 2003

WHAT EXACTLY IS NEOCONSERVATISM? Journalists, and now even presidential candidates, speak with an enviable confidence on who or what is "neoconservative," and seem to assume the meaning is fully revealed in the name. Those of us who are designated as "neocons" are amused, flattered, or dismissive, depending on the context. It is reasonable to wonder: Is there any "there" there?

Even I, frequently referred to as the "godfather" of all those neocons, have had my moments of wonderment. A few years ago I said (and, alas, wrote) that neoconservatism had had its own distinctive qualities in its early years, but by now had been absorbed into the mainstream of American conservatism. I was wrong, and the reason I was wrong is that, ever since its origin among disillusioned liberal intellectuals in the 1970s, what we call neoconservatism has been one of those intellectual undercurrents that surface only intermittently. It is not a "movement," as the conspiratorial critics would have it. Neoconservatism is what the late historian of Jacksonian America, Marvin Meyers, called a "persuasion," one that manifests itself over time, but erratically, and one whose meaning we clearly glimpse only in retrospect. [
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Conten...tzmlw.asp?pg=1

And for the record it's not just neocons who are glad that that Arafat is dead. That bastard was the "root cause" of terror in the Israeli Arab conflict (if it was really a cycle of violence then why was it that violence dropped dramatically after the IDF and Mossad began taking out the terrorist leadership? It would seem that the best way to defeat terrorism is to actually just kill the terrorists. The problem with the peace process was that Arafat ensured that while the Israelis gave concessions he would make empty promises and keep the pressure from terrorism up).
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Old 03-11-2005, 11:31 AM   #13
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Neocon is such a loose term. Take this for example.

Quote:
http://www.dailykos.com/

We could look the other way if Lieberman represented, say, Utah. But does Connecticut truly deserve this neocon?
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Old 03-14-2005, 02:39 PM   #14
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I agree macfist. I would not call Lieberman a "neo-con". They're doing that based on his support for the Iraq war, but Lieberman certainly parts company with the neo-cons on social issues like abortion. In fact he's irked some of his fellow Orthodox Jews on this issue as well, as they tend to be pro-life.
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