NEOCON WATCH….From today’s edition of Global Agenda, published by the pro-war, pro-Bush, America-friendly, center-right Economist:

Conspiracy theorists?and there are more of them than ever these days?are tempted to assume that a small group of ?neo-conservative? advisers with influence over Mr Bush have a masterplan.

Conspiracy theorists, eh? You mean like these, from the print edition of this week’s pro-war, pro-Bush, America-friendly, center-right Economist?

Lastly, the war has moved the neo-conservatives?neo-radicals is perhaps a better word?from the outskirts of politics to the centre. Led by Mr Rumsfeld’s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, they have been arguing for the forcible overthrow of Saddam since the early 1990s. They seem to have been right when they said the regime would quickly collapse, and its atrocities would be revealed. The big question now is whether Mr Bush will adopt their wider hope: to democratise the Middle East.

The Economist needs to make up its mind: are “neo-conservatives” and their masterplan merely the feverish imaginings of conspiracy theorists or are they a group of genuine radicals who are now at the center of power and have a “wider hope”? When they figure it out, I hope they tell us.