There seems to be a lively competition going to see who can write the best smackdown of the neoconservatives who have reemerged on our teevees to discuss the foreign policy “failures” of the president. Stephen Walt’s effort is pretty good.

Here’s a sampling:

The zombie-like ability to maintain influence and status in the face of overwhelming evidence tells you that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong: There are in fact an infinite number of “second chances” in American life and little or no accountability in the U.S. political system. The neocons’ staying power also reminds us that the United States can get away with irresponsible public discourse because it is very, very secure. Iraq was a disaster, and it helped pave the way to defeat in Afghanistan, but at the end of the day the United States will come home and probably be just fine. True, thousands of our fellow citizens would be alive and well today had we never listened to the neoconservatives’ fantasies, and Americans would be more popular abroad and more prosperous at home if their prescriptions from 1993 forward had been ritually ignored. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis would be alive too, and the Middle East would probably be in somewhat better condition (it could hardly be worse).

Mr. Walt also points out that the media’s desire for balance and the wealth slopped around to support think-tank fellowships both contribute to our nation’s inability to drive a stake through the hearts of these lunatics and kill their negative influence for good.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at