The fundamental flaw in the world view of neo-conservativism is that it is ideological and non-empirical. Their case for pre-emptive war in Iraq and for the Administration's "democracy movement" deliberately ignored regional realities. Attempting a slight of hand transfer of what they perceived as former President Ronald Reagan's victory over the "Evil Empire", they believed and preached that forceful action designed to tear down the status quo in the Middle East would, by itself, usher in a new and more positive era.Now the Christian fundamentalist do have an advantage over the neocons, it's hard to prove that their snake oil is indeed snake oil. As in Iraq it becomes painfully obvious in a few months or years that it's snake oil the neocons have sold you. As Zogby points out now that their snake oil has turned out to be poisonous they are trying to distance themselves from their number one customer.
There are parallels between neo-conservatism and other similar apocalyptical movements (like Christian fundamentalism). They see the world in Manichaeistic terms - good versus evil. They see a clash between good and evil as both desirable and inevitable. In their world, diplomacy is unacceptable, since it implies compromise with evil. And in the final battle, they see the outcome as assured - with good triumphant. All that is required, they believe, for good to be victorious is a determined act of the will. This was the ahistorical lesson they "learned" from Reagan. And this was the lesson they sought to impart to George W. Bush.
Now four years later, unrepentant, the same neo-conservatives who believed that will and force alone were sufficient to unleash freedom, now blame those who bought their elixir. They are accusing the Administrative of poor execution and incompetence. Some blame Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, once their "darling", some blame President Bush, some blame both.Facts and reality tend to catch up with faith based ideologies when they are about the here and now rather than the life after.
To be sure, a few neo-conservatives appear to be remorseful, but most refuse to accept responsibility and don't want the Administration's failure in Iraq and beyond to discredit their world view. Others have actually been emboldened, advocating a stepped up offensive by fellow neo-cons to reassert their mission. But none are able to acknowledge that their dependence on ideology and refusal to understand reality, is what is principally at fault.
The simple unavoidable fact, however, is that the chaos in Iraq, the deteriorating Israeli-Palestinian situation and the worrisome enmity that many have for toward the US throughout the Middle East is the world the neo-cons gave us. Inspired by their simplistic vision, the Administration went to war in a country whose history and culture we didn't understand, unleashing forces we now cannot control. Emboldened by their view, we and Israel refused to negotiate with what we called, "evil" believing that it could be "stamped out". Instead, the President promoted the absurd idea that the Palestinians had to become a democracy before they could have a state. And because of the neo-cons, the Administration behaved in an unconscionably heavy-handed and unilateral manner exhausting the world's good-will and especially deepening the gulf between us and the peoples of the Middle East.Blame the administration, yes, but the Bush cabal will be gone in another two years so don't stop there. Blame the snake oil salesmen - run them out of town.
I blame the Administration for buying and forcing us all to drink this snake oil, but I can't excuse those who sold it. When it's finger pointing time, it's the "con" men who are to blame.