District of Corruption

Unpatriotic Conservatives

Neocons are difficult to parody. Take, for instance, this opening line from Bill Kristol’s column on Libya:

And so, despite his doubts and dithering, President Obama is taking us to war in another Muslim country. Good for him.

This is followed by his announcement that we are witnessing “America’s fifth war of Muslim liberation.”

The GOP’s mainstream contenders, Mitt, Newt, Palin, Santorum and other clowns, are essentially taking Kristol’s lead, criticizing Obama for not going into Libya fast enough. None of this is surprising from a party that’s still living in 2003.

That said, this morning I was sent a compendium of opinion from National Review in which the neocons’ Gentile allies have been been going off the reservation...

Here’s Mark Krikorian, for instance,

The debate over whether we should invade Libya reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa puts an electrode in a cupcake to see whether her brother Bart or a hamster will be the first to figure out not to touch it. The hamster figures it out after one shock, while Bart keeps grabbing at the cupcake and getting shocked, over and over and over again.

You see where I’m going with this. Our invasion of Afghanistan was supported — demanded — by everyone as a punitive raid to kill the scum who attacked us. Our armed forces succeeded brilliantly, as we knew they would. But then we told them to stay there, starting a whole new war to pacify the country. And they’re still there.

Our invasion of Iraq was supposed to topple a vicious, expansionist dictator who was believed to be developing nuclear weapons. NRO ran a piece by, of all people, Amitai Etzioni, whose title I think summed up most people’s attitude: “In and Out.” Our armed forces again succeeded brilliantly, but we again didn’t leave, again starting a whole new war to pacify the country. And we’re still there.

Now we are assured that intervention in Libya will be clean, with no strings attached. Does anyone really believe that?

Here’s Andrew McCarthy noting that military action has not been authorized by Congress and thus is un-Constitutional. (Congress hasn’t declared war since 1942, of course, but one appreciates McCarhty’s sentiments.)

Even VDH is expressing hesitation.

NR is publishing arguments that are, more or less, analogous to those made by Patrick Buchanan, Ron Paul, and the staff of The American Conservative in the run-up to the Iraq invasion--all of whom were denounced by David Frum in his (in)famous “Unpatriotic Conservatives” article from March 2003, in which he declared it time that the Beltway Right “turn its back” on the paleos. (Here’s Krikorian’s endorsement of Frum's article.)

Well, the NRchiks certainly have turned their back on Buchanan, Paul, and Co. (though they had already done that years before.) Still, some questions present themselves:

  1. Has the Beltway Right actually learned something?
  2. Are they simply saying this because a Democrat in office? (If McCain were attacking Libya, which he’d love to do, would NR announce that “Freedom’s on the March”?) 
  3. Is the mainstream Right sensing that the Tea Party is uninterested in foreign adventurism?
  4. Was the movement’s break with Frum over the course of 2008-10 so acrimonious that mainstream conservatives have decided to go their own way on foreign policy?