The Morality of Neoconservatism

Via Robert Farley, Stephen Walt debates Joshua Muravchik on realism versus neoconservatism. Walt brilliantly nails the “morality” dodge with which a lot of folks with blood on their hands seek to excuse the impracticality and irresponsibility of their ideas:

Finally, Muravchik claims neoconservatives “treat purely moral concerns . . . as a higher priority than would realists,” yet his response evinces little concern for ordinary human beings. He expresses no remorse at the suffering that neoconservative policies have wrought and seems mostly concerned that the neocons are now “taking their lumps” over Iraq. What matters to him is political standing in Washington, not the hundreds of thousands of needless Iraqi deaths, the millions of refugees who fled their homes, or the tens of thousands of patriotic Americans killed or wounded. So let us hear no more about the neoconservatives’ “moral” convictions. Amid such company, the realists who opposed the war can stand tall.


Right on. There’s nothing moral or idealistic about costly military misadventures that end up killing, maiming, and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Anyone who seriously thinks that launching a series of aggressive wars is the best way for the United States of America to help people around the world needs to have his head examined.