The neocons don’t know when to quit

THE NEOCONS DON’T KNOW WHEN TO QUIT…. Their ideas discredited, and their arguments left on the trash-heap of history, neoconservatives should, ideally, enjoy some quiet time right about now. Instead, some of the movement’s leaders are getting together to form yet another organization to promote the same misguided agenda that’s already failed.

It’s called, innocuously enough, the Foreign Policy Initiative. It will spread its wings next week with a panel discussion on Afghanistan, led in part by John McCain. (President Obama is scheduled to explore his own Afghanistan policy in more detail around the same time. What a coincidence.)

Matt Duss strikes the right note in dismissing the latest neocon endeavor.

The Foreign Policy Initiative lists Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, and Dan Senor on its board of directors, so no prizes for guessing what they’re about (more power, less appeasement, stronger wills.) Kagan and Kristol need no introduction, they’re the Tick and Arthur of disastrously counterproductive military adventurism. Given the staggering costs in American blood, treasure, security, and reputation incurred by their boundless enthusiasm for blowing stuff up, you might think they’d have had the decency to retreat to a Tibetan monastery by now, but sadly no. The way it works in Washington is, if you’re willing to argue for more defense spending, you’ll always find someone willing to fund your think tank. […]

On March 31, FPI holds its first public event, Afghanistan: Planning For Success, though, given the heavy representation of Iraq war advocates, I think a far better title would be Afghanistan: Dealing With The Huge Problems Created By Many Of The People On This Very Stage. The broad consensus among national security analysts and aid officials is that the diversion of troops and resources toward Iraq beginning in 2002 was one of the main reasons the Taliban and Al Qaeda were able to to re-establish themselves in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border areas, facilitating the collapse of the country back into insurgent warfare. Having failed to complete the mission in Afghanistan, Bush and the Iraq hawks handed the Obama administration a war that promises to be as difficult and costly as Iraq has been — if not more. It’s deeply absurd that some of the people most responsible for the crisis in Afghanistan would now presume to tell us how to deal with it.

At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised by the shamelessness of Kristol, Kagan, et al. But I’d hoped they’d feel a little more chastened by their failures than this.