Could the neocons really be that evil?

Juan Cole’s blog, Informed Comment, is on my short list of indispensable stops, but it’s indispensable in the same way vegetables are to a child; they may be an essential part of a healthy diet, but they’re not always that appetizing.

Don’t get me wrong: Cole is a craftsmanlike writer, his prose dependably crisp.  He is, after all, the person who originated the use of the phrase “sometimes you are just screwed” as descriptive of the US’s position in Iraq. 

And you can’t punch much more truth into five words than that.

What’s vegetable about Informed Comment is its depressing honesty, starkness even, in recounting the horrors that flow every day from the failed (and failing) neocon experiments in Iraq (and Lebanon).  If the major news media’s coverage of the region is cappuccino with extra steamed milk, Informed Comment is a triple-thick espresso served up in a rusty metal cup.

To get down to business, in a Sunday blog entry, Cole addresses something that’s baffled me for some time: What possible logic is there in Israel’s massive bombing campaign against parts of Lebanon, including the Christian areas north of Beirut, not aligned with Hezbollah?

Here’s how Cole summarizes the conundrum:

The wholesale destruction of all of Lebanon by Israel and the US Pentagon does not make any sense. Why bomb roads, roads, bridges, ports, fuel depots in Sunni and Christian areas that have nothing to do with Shiite Hizbullah in the deep south? And, why was Hizbullah’s rocket capability so crucial that it provoked Israel to this orgy of destruction? Most of the rockets were small katyushas with limited range and were highly inaccurate. They were an annoyance in the Occupied Golan Heights, especially the Lebanese-owned Shebaa Farms area. Hizbullah had killed 6 Israeli civilians since 2000. For this you would destroy a whole country?

It doesn’t make any sense.

Moreover, the Lebanese government elected last year was pro-American! Why risk causing it to fall by hitting the whole country so hard?

And, why was Condi Rice’s reaction to the capture of two Israeli soldiers and Israel’s wholesale destruction of little Lebanon that these were the “birth pangs” of the “New Middle East”? How did she know so early on that this war would be so wideranging? And, how could a little border dispute in the Levant signal such an elephantine baby’s advent? Isn’t it because she had, like Tony Blair, been briefed about the likelihood of a war by the Israelis, or maybe collaborated with them in the plans, and also conceived of it in much larger strategic terms?

Borrowing in part from a European correspondent, Cole offers (without endorsing it) a possible explanation for this otherwise inexplicable madness: Could the sacrifice of Lebanon be all about Middle Eastern oil — not just as a general background explanation for America’s obsession with the region, but as part of a specific neoconservative scheme to secure long term control of the region’s reserves? 

Far from a new thought, I’ll grant you, but what Cole, an indisputable expert on the region, brings to the table in his hypothetical scenario is a more sweeping description of why such an outrage might appeal to the neocon mind; it offers a viable, if uncertain, explanation for something that desperately needs to be explained.

What this suggests, of course, is that we may be dealing here with something far worse than the usual wanton cruelty of the region; that the death of Lebanon, far from being “collateral damage” caused by legitimate (if grossly excessive) Israeli self-defense, is, instead, the product of malice aforethought — a nation deliberately targeted, not for its own misdeeds, but as part of a stratagem directed at others, namely Syria and Iran.

Could Bush and the neoconservatives really be that cruel — destroying an entire country as nothing more than a chess move in the Great Game?  Real men and women and, of course, real children too — lots of them — their lives spent as part of a Machiavellian scheme that is sure in the end to blow up in our faces anyway, just like everything else these would-be Churchills touch.

This would be so much crueler than even Iraq; the same pattern of lies, to be sure, but at least in Iraq they could claim to be trying to bring a better life to the Iraqis, even if that was never the actual goal.  But how is Lebanon supposed to benefit from this?  Where’s its supposed payoff for having its infrastructure (and citizens) blown to hell?

Could the neocons really be that cruel?

And if they are, when does bad policy at last become something more than bad policy?  When does it become a crime?

16 Responses to “Could the neocons really be that evil?”

  1. oneill Says:

    Oh, I think it might be even better than this.

    Not only could they be playing the Great Game at everyone’s expense, they could also be doing it during an election season.

    There truly is evil afoot.

  2. SpiderWoman Says:

    Of course the neocons are that evil and cruel! What else could possibly explain their actions?

    I agree with oneill: Not only is this happening for utterly evil reasons, the timing is based on the upcoming election.

    The American people are complicit in all of this. After all, we didn’t allow the Germans to get away with their flimsy excuses after WWII, so why should the Americans be allowed to get away with the same thing?

    My mother-in-law, when the connection between her vote for Bush and the Iraq war was pointed out, refused to accept any responsibility, saying that it wasn’t what she intended. This seems to be the attitude of the American people. As long as they get what they want, they simply refuse to see how it happens - or even that it is happening.

    Even now, while people are dying in the thousands in Iraq, sharia is again becoming law in Afghanistan, the Darfur genocide continues (again, the result of oil), North Korea taunts with missiles and nuclear weapons, and Israel pounds the innocent people of Lebanon, what most upsets the American people is the increase in their gasoline prices.

  3. jdthompson Says:

    We ain’t seen nothin’ yet. These noecons are so mean they can even kill white folks, and you can bet they gonna’.
    Seems the Mideast is shapin’ up exactly as they want it. The more chaos the better and the “useless eaters” on the ground really do not matter a’tall ya’ll. Them “useless eaters” happen to be u s troops too! Yea! we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. And, it’s headin’ this way.
    NeoCons ain’t gonna’ give up their power–never. So, don’t be suprised when they win the election–the fix is in.
    Could the neocons really be that cruel? Can you be that innocent/childish?

  4. Lord Ichmael Says:

    As a guy who’s ashamed to be a citizen of the United States, I’d nonetheless like to point out that it’s stretching it to claim that the people of the U.S (I think it’s arrogant for us to call ourselves Americans) are complicit in all this… First I’ll say a bit about myself (I’m still too young to vote but if could have I would’ve voted for Gore in 2000 and obviously Kerry in 2004). Although I never felt much support for the Bush Administration in the first place, I was completely ignorant of the extent of all their horrific actions until the Hurricane Katrina fiasco. Since finding out about all that I doubt I will ever vote Republican at any point in my life. I do not think that they should be impeached for their crimes; I think they should be executed for them. They have had a monopoly over the U.S. media from the start; political spin is an everyday thing for them. But even that wasn’t enough for them to legimately win the 2000 election, and I seriously doubt the 2004 election wasn’t rigged or otherwise tinkered with, either. But with all its corruption gradually unfolding, hardly anybody here likes them, either. I’m not sure, but I think the only people who still support Bush are either very stupid, evil, or both. I’m sure the neocons are evil enough to commit atrocities like this; the only thing they care about is money. As for the Arab-Israeli conflict, I sympathize more with the Muslims then the Jews; I’m a firm atheist and to me it sounds like the Jews kicked the (ancestors of) Muslims out of their own land once long ago and are trying to do so again. I believe the only real solution to this is that the United States’ and United Kingdom’ governments stop being biased against the Muslims and demand the Israelis to at least try to live among them, although I think it’d have to be a demand for them to go live somewhere else. That land they’re destroying each other over is just BARELY inhabitable at all, anyway.

  5. Chuck Says:

    Lord Ichmael:

    For being so young you are quite observant and articulate, but let me correct you on a couple of points: first, don’t be ashamed of being a citizen of the U.S., you had nothing to do with where you were born, the U.S. has many things to be proud of, as well as many to be ashamed of; second, it is the administration, and by extension, most politicians, of both parties, that use their power to manipulate the media, as well as our own complicity in believing all that crap.

    If you haven’t already, read Orwell’s “1984″, and the often under recommended “ANIMAL FARM” to get a grasp of what is happening, and if you have the time, and the stomach for it, try “LORD OF THE FLIES”.

    In my humble opinion.

    Maybe, like Zach, you’ll grow into it.

  6. Larkrise Says:

    In previous posts, I have said just that: The Neo-Cons are the driving force behind the attack on Lebanon, and YES, they are that evil. They are obsessed with oil. They are obsessed with controlling the supply of oil, the price of oil, the money and power associated with oil.They will stop at nothing to further their PNAC agenda. It is no coincidence that the United States, under oilman George W. Bush, is up to its ass in alligators in Iraq. Having failed to clear the swamp, the Bush Administration is taking another route, using Israel as its beast of burden. The destination has been and always will be oil fields. Rice makes lots of noise, but her words are only a distraction. That is her sole prupose, to camouflage the real purpose, the underlying design. The attack against Lebanon distracts from the chaos in Iraq. It creates anxiety and uncertainty. This works well for the Republicans, fearful of losing control of Congress. These people have one-track minds. They are filled with hubris and arrogance. They think, like all despots, that they are invincible and can control events that obviously cannot be controlled. They do not admit to their mistakes, ergo they do not learn from them. Iraq gone sour? Send in more troops. In the meantime, start another conflagration as a smokescreen. Only the extrmely naive will believe that this newest Middle East turmoil just happened to occur before the election in November. Eventually, someone somewhere will leak the truth and all the pieces of the puzzle will fit into place. Once again, the snake oil salesmen have sold another country, Israel, their poisonous potions. The smart money will quit buying the stuff.

  7. Again Says:

    Could Bush and the neoconservatives really be that cruel

    you answered it yourself - “as part of a Machiavellian scheme”

    on the other hand: can you call people “cruel” who are not able to understand what suffering means? They are the “killing chimps”, ruled by genes and instincts, killing mothers (after having raped them) and babies and eating them without hesitation - just genes and subalterne brains following the orders of the ancient biology of ants and fishes in their stembrain…

    to cite (again, sorry, but i LOVE it): ” PPs [psychopathic personalities,… the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences.] are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!” - Kurt Vonnegut

    After all, we didn’t allow the Germans to get away with their flimsy excuses after WWII

    yes, and that was the only way to go - for the Germans. Believe me, that nation couldn’t stand her own crimes for years. With the slightest possibility of ignoring the crimes, the people would have done it - and not only because of fear of punishment…

    know the name “Nemesis”?? Know how families feel where children can’t respect the parents and no one dares to look in the others eye? When the grandchildren are the first to hug granddaddy again without thinking of maimed children like themselves? Many “old warriors” - once talking like the “brave Neocons” today - were brought to tears after decades of silence, finally allowed to admit they were so horribly, terribly, beyond any imagination wrong …

    Sometimes you need a punishment (as long as you can think of it as “just”) to be able to stand your own crimes…

  8. CyberChas Says:

    I am Jewish by birth, but I don’t believe that requires me to support the state of Israel when they behave in a fashion similar to those who previously oppressed their people. I stood away from Israel when they sold technology to the South Africans during apartheid (yeah, I know, it was a LONG time ago) and I stand away from them now as they attempt to destroy the nation of Lebanon and every one of their inhabitants without regard for guilt or innocence.

    What is funny to me is that it seems there are three forces at work in this disgusting Republican Administration, but on the support of Israel in the destruction of Lebanon, they happen to be working together. The PNAC bunch of world-domination madmen (Pearle, Feith, Bolton, et al.) see this as a part of their long-term global plan. The Christian Dominionists believe it a necessary component of their insane “rapture plan” for Israel to control the Middle East. And the segment that supports the Texas oil barons know that this kind of chaos can only make their apparently rare commodity that much more valuable, allowing them to sell less product for more money and make BILLIONS in profits.

    If it weren’t so disgustingly SICK it would be laughable.

    For the last ten years (or more) the American People have been fed a steady diet of propaganda blended very well with slick mass media infotainment, designed to keep them docile and yet responsive to the “fear trigger” whenever it needs to be pulled. Few Americans seem to be willing to “question authority” or search for information on their own, even though it is there for them to find (this website,, rawstory, bradblog, Greg Palast, David Brock, and so many others — if only they would READ!).

    The time will soon be upon all of us when we must either act, en masse, with vigor, or give up forever our ability to stop this rampaging and illegal government from wantonly destroying giant swaths of this planet.

    How many Germans do you think wished they had acted in 1932 or 1933 rather than getting to 1939 or 1940 and realizing that it was “too late” and there was no way they could fight their government.

    We are standing on a very steep and slippery hill, with our feet pointed downward — in a moment, the traction of our Nike’s will give, and before we know it, we will be at the bottom.

  9. obichoc Says:

    So if the neocons are that evil what would exclude them from being complicit in the 9/11 attacks? Nothing.

  10. SpiderWoman Says:

    CyberChas, I agree with everything you’ve written. I, too, have a Jewish heritage, but like you, it does not support what Israel is doing. The country is clearly caught up in the same insanity that the US is. I also think that Hizbollah is just as wrong - but the fact is that Israel can only strengthen Hizbollah or create another group that will take over from where Hizbollah left off.

    At bottom, though, must be the neocons and the mass of Americans, who are more interested in the cost of their gasoline than they are in the lives lost to it - even when those lives are from their own families, their own children. (Yes, there are exceptions - many/most of those here among them.) These people come up with excuse after excuse about how it isn’t their fault, how they “couldn’t” have know, how they didn’t intend for what’s happening.

    But the fact is that the American people do not, en masse, rise up and say STOP! No, they sit in front of their TVs and watch the new entertainment coming out of Israel and Lebanon. They even forget about Iraq. How much news is there on that poor benighted country now that civil war has started? How much media coverage is there about Darfur now (which is about oil, by the way)? The genocide continues. The information is out there, but how many people really truly care?

    Considering the fact that the latest polls show that fully half of Americans now believe that there really were WMDs in Iraq, it’s obvious that the bulk of the people are more concerned about the cost of gasoline than anything else. How else can the American people have chosen to be so ignorant as to continue to believe that lie? Such ignorance can only be willful.

  11. Again Says:


    but the fact is that Israel can only strengthen Hizbollah or create another group that will take over from where Hizbollah left off.

    yes - btw: their last war created Hizbollah, so i guess, they want a neverending cycle of wars, creating always new and “better” enemies, all “for the sake of my own survival”. Reminds me of a poem, written by Erich Kaestner in 1930, truly feeling what’s coming:

    On July 12 in the year 2003
    the following radio message went around the world:
    that a bomber squadron of the air police
    was going to wipe out the whole human race.

    The world government, it said, had realized
    that the plan to bring about lasting peace on earth
    could not possibly be achieved
    without destroying all its inhabitants.

    Everyone thought they could escape death.
    No-one escaped death, and the world became empty.
    The poison gas was everywhere, creeping about on tiptoes.
    It moved along the deserts. And it swam across the oceans.

    Now at long last mankind had accomplished its goal
    although the method was not exactly humane.
    But finally planet earth was peaceful and content,
    and settled down to its rotation in orbit.

  12. CapnDad Says:

    Lord Ichmael, you are obviously a very intelligent and deeply thoughtful young man. Our country merely reflects the people within it. There is much to be proud of in our country. Be proud of the good, but work like hell to overcome the bad. Pride in your country does not mean overlooking its shortcomings.

    Hang in there; we need more like you.

  13. Sir Loin of Beef Says:

    Yes, they are that evil. And we - as willing participants in this perverted system we label a “democracy” - are stained by tyhis evil.

    The callous destruction of lives and nations for profit and fun is not new - its what we’ve been doing in Iraq for three years. Who is really doing the bombing, torturing, killing, there? You can’t convince me that it’s all Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence - not with the media we have reporting the “facts” to us.

    Remember the short-lived story (1st in the Washington Post, then gone completely) from the fall of 2005 that described the arrest by Iraqi police of two British SAS agents at a Basra checkpoint? The two brits (disguised as “Arabs”) were said to be driving a Toyota Cressida packed with explosives and wired to detonate by remote control, and a number of Iraqi policemen and bystanders were reported to have been killed during the shootout that accompanied the arrest. While our allies, the Iraqi police, were still scratching their heads regarding this bizzarre occurrence, an armored unit of the British military was said to have busted the two agents out of jail.

    The British have a proven track record of employing double-agent provocation in places like India and Northern Ireland, and American involvement in Vietnam is reputed to have begun with the perpetration of surreptitios “terrorism” geared toward stopping the national referrendum that would have united the artificial northern and southern divisions of that country. Our government is in the business of sowing chaos and reaping the entropy.

    Condi Rice last week let a little neocon cat out of the bag when she cited her philosphical adherence to the conceptual linkage of “crisis” and “opportuinity” via her ala carte dabbling in eastern mysticism, I believe that this is probably a mainstay of the pedantic gobbledygook that characterizes the Straussian seminars from which our stunted philosopher kings have come.

  14. alwayshope Says:

    chilling poem, Again.
    I’ve enjoyed reading these posts, well written and thoughtful.

    “May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house”
    George Carlin

  15. Lord Ichmael Says:

    Er, thanks Chuck and CapnDad. I’ve read 1984, but not the other two; I doubt I could stomach Lord of the Flies. I think what’s going on now is that the citizens of the United States are being manipulated by the government of the United States (that’s a no-brainer), the people of Israel are being manipulated by theirs, and both governments are manipulating each other, both while being aware of the other’s manipulation.

    I’m just guessing here but I think this is why the people here fall for things like this newest Middle East issue: The Bush Administration manipulates the grief and anger from 9/11 to make most Americans biased against Muslims, takes the opportunity to loot whatever oil fields they can, and publicly arranges attempts at peace between Israel and the Muslim countries so they appear neutral, while at the same time selling missiles/bombs/rockets to Israel even though they’re already more armed than all the other countries there put together, exaggerates in reports attacks on Israel and terrorists’ attacks on U.S. troops while suppressing reports on Israel’s own attacks as well as atrocities committed by American troops in Iraq, which increases the peoples’ anti-Islamic feelings; rinse, lather, repeat. They appeal to the prejudices of the far-right with the intent of making them care more about crushing gay/women/religious/abortion/etc. rights then they do about themselves, the unemployed, the troops in Iraq, etc. It’s all a distraction intended to slow down the revelations of the Administration’s corruption until after this year’s elections. I can understand why a lot of the other countries resent us so much, but I don’t like our government anymore than they do. It’s like the U.S. is a country’s equivalent of a school bully.

    As for the Middle East, I support neither side; the Israelis took the Arabs’ land, the Arabs don’t want to give it up, the Israelis don’t want to give it back, so the Arabs respond by attacking Israelis, and Israel counterattacks with much more devastation then the Arabs did to them. I would have supported the Arabs if they weren’t acting so bloodthirsty over it. Hell, from my (atheist) point of view the whole thing in a nutshell is “My imaginary friend’s better than yours!”, and even without an atheistic viewpoint it’s still so ridiculous.

    By the way, if my last comment sounded Anti-Semitic, I apologize in advance; I have nothing against Jews and personally believe that anyone who persecutes anyone else for who they are is a scumbag and a failure as a decent human being. I dislike Israel’s government, not its people; just like the United States.

  16. alwayshope Says:

    Lord Ichmael
    Glad you’ve come to the cafe. Your posts are thought-provoking and extremely well written. I’m far from being an atheist but I appreciate your openness. I have often noted that people who are “Humanists” are more morally responsible than those who wear their religion on their sleeve (and lapel, and bumper).
    By the way, is that nick related to the reggae guy Ichmael?
    Just curious.

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