by Jeff Huber
If you know neither your enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
-- Sun Tzu
It ain't over just because they've been voted out of power. Until January, young Mr. Bush is still commander in chief and Dick Cheney is still in charge. Surge architect Fred Kagan is putting the finishing touches on the "resurgence" strategy, and the neocons have two months left to do that voodoo that they do so well.
A former professor of military history at West Point, Fred knows the components of a classic advance-to-the-rear maneuver: the main body backs down toward safe haven where it can regroup for the counter-offensive, leaving skirmishers in its wake to mine, booby trap, burn bridges and otherwise harass the advancing enemy.
Know Your Enemy
In the case of the neocons, safe haven amounts to a well established network of think tanks, academic citadels and media outlets. Among the scholars and fellows camped out at the American Enterprise Institute are Kagan, John Bolton, Lynne Cheney, David Frum, Newt Gingrich, Irving Kristol (Bill's dad and the "godfather of neoconservatism"), Richard Perle, Gary Schmitt, the completely despicable Paul Wolfowitz and the possibly even more despicable John Yoo. Midge Decter, Steve Forbes and Richard Scaife anchor the board of trustees at the Heritage Foundation; Bill Bennet and Ed Meese hang out there too. Meese, Condi Rice, John Abizaid, Tom Sowell and James Woolsey haunt the hallowed halls of Stanford for the Hoover Institution.
John Yoo, whose sophist interpretation of the president's constitutional powers made young Mr. Bush into a virtual deity, teaches law at the University of California, Berkley. Bill Kristol is on the faculty at Harvard's Kennedy school of Government, and Mackubin Thomas Owens, coauthor of the neocon manifesto Rebuilding America's Defenses, is associate dean of academics at the U.S. Naval War College. Donald Kagan, father of Robert and Fred Kagan, is a professor of history at Yale. Condi will doubtless reclaim her chair at Stanford, even if she has to step over the corpses of half the student body and faculty to get to it.
Noted Cheney chamberlain and dumbest freaking guy on the planet Doug Feith finally got the boot from his visiting professor gig at Georgetown University, but don't shed a single crocodile tear for him. He'll be joining Norm Podhoretz and a host of other B-list Likudniks at the Hudson Institute.
Rupert Murdoch has ensured the warmongers will always have a balcony and a megaphone handy. Bill Kristol and collaborator Robert Kagan (Fred's brother) are well established at the Weekly Standard, and Kristol is now a fixture at the feckless New York Times. Charles Krauthammer holds down the fort at the other "liberal" bastion, the Washington Post. Max Boot has a long-standing relationship with the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and many other publications. Ralph Peters and Newt are columnists with the right wing New York Post; Cal Thomas and Suzanne Fields write for the equally laughable Washington Times.
That's just the tip of the print media iceberg. Add the broadcast sewage from talk radio and FOX News to the mix and, great Caesar's ghost, it's a wonder there's a sentient being left in America.
So don’t worry that those poor neocons won't have two nickels to rub together or a place to rest their wicked heads. They have silk-lined coffins stashed all over the place.
As strategists, the neocons are no Sun Tzu. For all the damage they've managed to do, they did darn little in the way of detailed planning for it. In fact, one can hardly call them strategists at all. What grand scheme they have amounts to a simple tactic, similar to ice hockey's "dump and chase" offense, where your fling the puck into the other guy's end, fight for it in the corner, and try to slide it out to a teammate open in front of the other guy's net. No skilled maneuvers, no coordinated efforts, no sophistication, and nothing remotely creative. The only talents required are speed, brute strength and persistence, all of which the neocons, like all bullies, have an unlimited supply.
If the tactic doesn't work, oh well. You back check and live to dump and chase another day. Or, as Chairman Mao dictated, "Make trouble, fail, make trouble again, fail again."
As the latest shenanigans in Syria and Pakistan confirm, the warmongery intends to drill the puck as deep into eternal war territory as it can while it still controls play. Obama may not be able to exert much influence on their behavior, but he needs to straighten out a few closets in his own house before he takes on the job of straightening out the abject disarray young Mr. Bush leaves behind.
In an April 2007 Washington Post column, Robert Kagan wrote that, "Obama wants to increase defense spending. He wants to add 65,000 troops to the Army and recruit 27,000 more Marines. Why? To fight terrorism."
Kagan went on to directly quote Obama, writing, "He wants the American military to 'stay on the offense, from Djibouti to Kandahar,' and he believes that 'the ability to put boots on the ground will be critical in eliminating the shadowy terrorist networks we now face.' He wants to ensure that we continue to have 'the strongest, best-equipped military in the world.'"
"Obama never once says that military force should be used only as a last resort," Kagan gloated. "Rather, he insists that 'no president should ever hesitate to use force -- unilaterally if necessary,' not only 'to protect ourselves . . . when we are attacked,' but also to protect 'our vital interests' when they are 'imminently threatened.' That's known as preemptive military action." (Italics mine.)
"This is a left-liberal foreign policy?" Kagan taunted. "Ask Noam Chomsky the next time you see him."
Come election time, Obama might have stiff-armed jibes made by a leading neocon over a year and a half before, but he did just the opposite. When the Republican National Committee ran a deceptive ad in the military-centric Norfolk, Virginia market accusing Obama of planning to cut defense spending by 25 percent, Obama shot back with an ad that quoted the 2007 Kagan article, bringing specific attention to Kagan's observation that Obama wants to expand the military to "fight terrorism."
If that's Obama's idea of change we can believe in, I believe we just rejected Johnny McDitto and voted in Sam O'Same-o.
Next: Know Your Friends
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Scott Horton's interview with Jeff at Antiwar Radio.