The Editors point to an interesting essay by George Healy. In it, Healy points that it's process, not product, at the core of the neo-cons' particularly sick ideology:
...the same people who helped lead us into the biggest foreign policy disaster in 30 years trying to push another war (or wars) on us without so much as a prefatory “sorry about the whole Iraq thing, old boy.” But the current squawking also strikes me as a useful reminder of how very, very important war is in the neoconservative vision. It is as central to that vision as peace is to the classical liberal vision.
For the neoconservatives, it’s not about Israel. It’s about war. War is a bracing tonic for the national spirit and in all its forms it presents opportunities for national greatness. “Ultimately, American purpose can find its voice only in Washington,” David Brooks once wrote. And Washington’s never louder or more powerful than when it has a war to fight.
In 1997, Fred Barnes pouted about the “ennui” accompanying that decade’s peace and prosperity:
“The last great moment in Washington was Desert Storm…. It was exciting to follow and write about … Every press conference, I watched. Desert Storm was all I thought about or talked about. My stories concentrated on President Bush’s heroic role in the war.”
Indeed, for many neoconservatives, the 1990s were about the search for an enemy. Who it was didn’t much matter. That can be seen in this 1996 Foreign Affairs article by Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, in which they seem distinctly unsettled by the apparant lack of anyone for the U.S. to fight:
“The ubiquitous post-Cold War question — where is the threat? — is thus misconceived. In a world in which peace and American security depend on American power and the will to use it, the main threat the United States faces now and in the future is its own weakness.”
To dispel any notions of weakness, a little therapeutic bombing is sometimes in order. As AEI’s Michael Ledeen apparently put it some years ago:
“Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.”
It could be the Serbs. It could be Iraq. If we’re really feeling our oats, it might even be China. Even now, when the United States faces a genuine enemy in Al Qaeda, some neoconservatives are hedging their bets: If we wrap up this war on terror thing too quickly, let’s give great-power conflict a chance.
Who we’re fighting is secondary. That we’re fighting is the main thing. To be a neoconservative is to thrill to the sound of gunfire. (From a nice, safe distance, generally.)
If you've got time, I urge you to check out Healy's post--yes, I've cut and pasted quite a bit here, but the original has additional links worth looking at.
There's also more here.
If this were MERELY a question of political gamesmanship, that would be one thing. However, the process pursued by these sick fucks causes genuine suffering...and will just as genuinely come back to bite us, and none too softly. We're already seeing this along the Gulf Coast, where the Scrooge-like stinginess on the part of government is matched only by their mad profligacy in pursuit of a non-existent pot of god at the end of an equally non-existent Mesopotamian rainbow.
Though there sure as hell is one massive, ongoing shitstorm...of their own making.