Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

The Last Neocons on the Island

By Matt Purple, The American Conservative

If you want to understand the delusions that permeated the early-stage war on terror, pick up a copy of An End to Evil by Richard Perle and David Frum. Published in 2004, it reads like a fever dream one might have after playing Age of Empires on fast mode right before bed. Iraq? Saddam indicted not just himself “but all Arab tyrannies and all of their supporters.” Syria? “Why have we put up with it as long as we have?” (The entire country, apparently.) Everyone from the South Koreans to the peacekeepers in 1994 Rwanda are presented as appeasers for having failed to sufficiently confront evil.

Against all this criminality and cowardice, there can be only one tonic: a whole lot of American bicep-flexing. “When it is in our power and our interest,” Frum and Perle declare, “we should toss dictators aside with no more compunction than a police sharpshooter feels when he downs a hostage-taker.”

The difference, of course, is that sharpshooters tend to not get trapped for the next 20 years in the office buildings they help clear. So it is that even most hawks don’t talk this way anymore. Frum spends his time on Twitter pretending An End to Evil never happened. The antiwar blog LobeLog, meanwhile, noticed a few years ago that Perle had effectively vanished from public life. Some of their fellow neocons have gone and reinvented themselves as realists, asserting that American empire is a hardheaded necessity rather than an idealistic choice. Others have even moderated a bit.

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