"It may not be popular with the public. It doesn't matter, in the sense that we have to continue what we think is right," Cheney said. "That's exactly what we're doing. We're not running for office. We're doing what we think is right."His erstwhile colleagues, the neocons who made up the gang Who Couldn't Think Straight, seem to have had a falling out with their former fellow right-doers. The administration's enthusiastic partners in pursuing regime change in Iraq are now merciless in their criticism of the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight. Vanity Fair's website gives a preview of the big neocon roundup that will appear in the magazine's January issue. Among other things, the neocon ambush demonstrates that neocons believe, with Emerson, that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" -- specifically, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. The neocons themselves, it almost goes without saying, do not have little minds.
Iraq has been by far the largest issue in Tuesday's election, and many analysts say it has put at risk GOP majorities in both the House and Senate. Nonetheless, Cheney said, the administration is not considering a fundamentally different course.
"I think it'll have some effect perhaps in the Congress," he said of the election's outcome, "but the president's made clear what his objective is. It's victory in Iraq. And it's full speed ahead on that basis. And that's exactly what we're going to do."
Richard Perle Then: "Iraq is a very good candidate for democratic reform," he said. "It won't be Westminster overnight, but the great democracies of the world didn't achieve the full, rich structure of democratic governance overnight. The Iraqis have a decent chance of succeeding."There's a lot more. Read here about how the neocons' plans for Iraq were fine and noble and idealistic, and how they only failed because Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice didn't follow through properly. Yeah, right.
Richard Perle Now: According to Perle, who left the Defense Policy Board in 2004, this unfolding catastrophe has a central cause: devastating dysfunction within the administration of President George W. Bush. Perle says, "The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.… At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible.… I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."
Perle goes so far as to say that, if he had his time over, he would not have advocated an invasion of Iraq: "I think if I had been delphic, and had seen where we are today, and people had said, 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' …"
Kenneth Adelman Then: "I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."
Kenneth Adelman Now: "I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."
Fearing that worse is still to come, Adelman believes that neoconservatism itself—what he defines as "the idea of a tough foreign policy on behalf of morality, the idea of using our power for moral good in the world"—is dead, at least for a generation. After Iraq, he says, "it's not going to sell."