ARE THE NEOCONS GOING SOFT?….Ron Brownstein writes in the LA Times today that the neocons are backing off:

Even as President Bush and his aides are talking tough about Syria, the neoconservative foreign policy thinkers who provided much of the intellectual justification for the war with Iraq are talking down the possibility of further military action in the Middle East ? at least in the near term.

“I just don’t think there is a tremendous appetite on the part of most people for endless military operations, even among people who think things turned out reasonably well in Iraq,” said Aaron L. Friedberg, a neoconservative professor of international affairs at Princeton University.

I think that’s completely correct, but of course the question remains: are the neocons genuinely changing their tune or are they just biding their time until the American public is ready for some more fighting? Brownstein doesn’t really come to any conclusions, but it’s a good article anyway.

Elsewhere in the Times today, Hezbollah has “issued a new call to arms against Americans in the Middle East” and gays in the military still have a pretty tough time ? unless they’re kicked out altogether, of course.

And in still other news, the Times is apparently dead serious about making their site the most annoying news website in the world. I now normally get four popunder ads, one of those weird semi-transparent floating ads, and an even weirder invisible ad that prevents me from cutting and pasting text unless I reload the page. All this is on top of one of the lengthiest and most intrusive registration surveys around. Sheesh.