Be careful what you wish for….

I really loved the opening grafs of Josh Marshall’s latest post:

Old lefties used to opine that you could never say that socialism or communisim had failed since they’d never really been tried. No need now to dip into that debate. But just before the start of the war I told a friend that you’d never be able to say the same about neoconservatism. This was really all their show, pretty much from soup-to-nuts. So at the end of the day the movement would either be vindicated in a very profound way or deeply discredited.

You’ll never again be able to say that the whole cluster of ideas, personnel and tactics never got a good field test.

This is why, quite honestly, I was always impressed with the sheer chutzpah of what Bush & Co. were doing in Iraq. I’m not saying it was good or bad, just that it took big balls. After all, the costs are mind boggling; not just the trillions of dollars, but the political costs and the costs to America’s reputation. Not to mention human lives. Unlike so many goings-on in world politics, it was ultimately going to be a matter of black and white: The neocons’ program would succeed or fail. They assured us they knew what they were doing, and Andrew Sullivan insisted we’d be greeted as true liberators and paradise would be regained.

I’m willing to give them more time, and I sincerely hope they can still pull it off, doubtful though that may now seem. If they do not, history will not be kind, and the neocons will lose just about all of their credibility. (They’ve pretty much lost it in my case.) If it all works, Bush will be utterly invincible. As always, the clock is ticking.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

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