The Conservative Civil War On Iraq Policy

Weekly Standard CoverRetreating to the friendly confines of the Weekly Standard magazine neoconservatives have reignited a conservative civil war over foreign policy.

While the Iraq Study Group led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton appears to have backed key elements of a progressive strategic redeployment plan put forth by the Center for American Progress more than a year ago, neoconservatives — reflecting their growing irrelevance and detachment from reality — are still insisting that the U.S. send more troops to Iraq and continue to oppose dialogue with Iraq’s neighbors.

The writers at the Weekly Standard have focused their attacks on the reemergence of Bush 41 “realist” foreign policy conservatives. In a clear effort to knee-cap the Baker-Hamilton report before it comes out, the Weekly Standard has a slew of articles attacking the Iraq Study Group, James Baker, and conservative “realists” like Robert Gates. Here is a sampling of some of the articles currently on the magazine’s website:

— “A Perfect Failure” by Robert Kagan and William Kristol, “At home and abroad, people have been led to believe that Jim Baker and not the president was going to call the shots in Iraq form now on. Happily, that is not the case.”

— “Surge and Run” by Thomas Donnelly, “The ‘adults’ of the Bush 41 administration were supposed to talk Bush 43 off the ledge…but the main recommendation of the Baker-Hamilton…has little value outside Washington, and none in Baghdad or the region…the insurgents have nearly won the war inside the Beltway.”

— “Surrender as ‘Realism’” by Robert Kagan and William Kristol, “realism has come to be a kind of code word for surrendering”

— “From Metternich to Jim Baker” by Ralph Peters, “Baker is the dean emeritus of a reactionary school of diplomats… It was the “realist” elevation of stability above all other strategic factors…gave us not only the radical regime in Iran, but, ultimately, al Qaeda and 9/11.”

— Max Bergmann