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Romney’s Neocons, Hiding in plain sight

Rabbi Dov Zakheim served as the under secretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the Department of Defense (DOD) from 2001-2004.In addition to serving in several DOD posts since 1981, Rabbi Zakheim was teaching as an adjunct professor at the National War College, Yeshiva University, Columbia University, and Trinity College in Hartford, Ct., He has served on a number of government, corporate, non-profit, and charitable boards and authored number of books and articles.

Will Republicans walk away from this election having learned their lesson? I have my doubts: after all, they don’t call the GOP the Stupid Party for nothing.


by Justin Raimondo


Dov Zakheim, Mitt Romney’s top foreign policy advisor, wants us to know the neocons aren’t in charge of RomneyWorld:

“One of the favorite canards that Obama activists and surrogates hurl at Mitt Romney is that he is surrounded by a group of wild-eyed George W. Bush neo-cons who cannot wait to bomb Iran and bring America into yet another Middle Eastern conflict….”

But these canarddisseminators “have it all wrong,” because:

“None of the staunchest ‘architects and advocates’ of the Iraq war, I repeat, none, is advising Governor Romney. Not Donald Rumsfeld. Not Dick Cheney. Not Paul Wolfowitz. Not Doug Feith. And none of their camp followers. None.”

Zakheim modestly leaves out … himself. Yet he has long been a key link in the chain that has bound Republican policymakers to that noxious little sect known as the neoconservatives.

Alongside the very neocons he denies have any influence in RomneyWorld, Zakheim joined the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, a neocon front group organized in 1990 to support the first Gulf war: in 1998, CPSG issued a new clarion call for an invasion of Iraq addressed to President Bill, with the Usual Suspects (including Zakheim) as co-signers. Zakheim’s career as an up-and-comer in neoconservative precincts continued with the formation of the Project for a New American Century – Bill Kristol’s interventionist pressure group – on whose behalf he signed a series of open letters calling for war with Iraq. As recently as February, Zakheim continued his letter-signing spree, demanding – along with dozens of fellow neocon “camp followers” – that the President intervene in a vague-but-more-muscular fashion in Syria. In 2000, he co-authored a PNAC position paper on defense spending which called for a huge increase on the grounds that “the best defense is a good offense.” He shared credit for this proposal with Wolfowitz, Cohen, John Bolton, and Rumsfeld advisors Devon Cross and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. As Undersecretary of State and Pentagon comptroller during the Bush administration – during which time the Pentagon lost track of $1 trillion — he was a key cog in a foreign policy shop dominated by his fellow neocons.

Aside from that, however, there are plenty of neocon “camp followers” – i.e. fellow travelers, as we McCarthyites used to say – serving the Romneyite cause. I won’t bother compiling a comprehensive list, since others have taken up that task. As Ari Berman noted in The Nation way back in May:

“Romney’s team is notable for including Bush aides tarnished by the Iraq fiasco: Robert Joseph, the National Security Council official who inserted the infamous ‘sixteen words’ in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union message claiming that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from Niger; Dan Senor, former spokesman for the hapless Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer in Iraq; and Eric Edelman, a top official at the Pentagon under Bush.”

And then there’s always this guy. Yes, I have in my hands a list! However, let’s brush aside Zakheim’s disingenuous denial as just another one of those “noble lies” and move along to the really interesting point (you knew we’d get to that, didn’t you?), and it is this: the neocons have gone underground! After lying us into Iraq, and acquiring a well-deserved reputation as irresponsible, arrogant, incompetent war-mongers, the neocons have fled to the catacombs, waiting for the statute of limitations to absolve them of the public’s ire.

This represents progress, of a sort: you’ll recall the neocons used to deny their very existence, disdaining the “neocon” appellation as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory no Serious Person ought to repeat. That clearly hasn’t worked, however, and the record of the Bush years leaves them in the untenable position of Zakheim and his fellow “advisors,” who have to resort to denying the undeniable.

In the public mind, the word “neocon” is unalterably associated with war, and further: with a losing, futile, disastrous war. For any candidate for the presidency to be associated with them and their failed policies is electoral poison. No wonder they’ve gone back into the closet, so to speak, although they certainly have not folded up their tents and stolen into the night: far from it, as their penetration of RomneyWorld underscores.

What the neocons are hoping to get out of Romney is the same sort of hegemony they enjoyed during the Bush era: after all, how hard would it be to fill the empty vessel of Romney’s mind just as they did Dubya’s? In order to get into that position, however, it’s necessary to utilize stealth tactics, and Zakheim (as well as his candidate) understands that. Far from being nonplussed over Romney’s Gandhi imitation during the foreign policy debate, the neocons hailed his performance, with Charles Krauthammer proffering this advice:

“Don’t quarrel. Speak softly. Meet the threshold.”

The bombing will come later.

I’ll say right here and now that Romney is on course to a well-earned defeat, although I’ll refrain from calling it a landslide. I’m with Nate Silver on the numbers. Romney’s personal characteristics and history aside, what might have made a difference for the Republicans was a candidate who deviated from neoconservative foreign policy orthodoxy. It wouldn’t even have to have been a candidate as relatively radical as Ron Paul: someone along the lines of Paul’s faded carbon copy of a son would have sufficed.

As it is, the GOP will be dragged down to defeat by the same neocons whose policies pushed us to the brink of bankruptcy and made us hated around the world. Will Republicans walk away from this election having learned their lesson? I have my doubts: after all, they don’t call the GOP the Stupid Party for nothing.


Check out my contribution to an election symposium published by The American Conservative magazine, here.

I’m getting close to 2,000 Twitter followers, and you can help me make my goal! Follow me on Twitter here.

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of

He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (ISI, 2008), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is a contributing editor for The American Conservative, a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute, and an adjunct scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

He writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

Read more by Justin Raimondo


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Posted by on November 2, 2012, With 0 Reads, Filed under Civil Liberties, Corruption, Foreign Lobbies, Foreign Policy, Government, Legislation, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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2 Responses to "Romney’s Neocons, Hiding in plain sight"

  1. Paul Newell  November 3, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    The people of america should be arrested , for doing NOTHING.

  2. rexw  November 3, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    As Justin has stated, the Neocons are ‘hiding in the catacombs.’

    One has to ask, how can these people be walking around, free as birds, girding their loins for the next effort. Perhaps then they can even exceed the 2 million deaths that they have been responsible for with the Gulf war and the totally contrived Iraq war. 600,000 children just from the sanctions alone before they reached the “Mission Accomplished” stage and the banner went up on the decks of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
    How Lincoln would have rolled in his grave at that little exhibition of stupidity of a fellow President (in name only, of course), this sideshow well engineered by these traitors to America.

    Yes, stiull around, apparently free from prosecution to date.

    Be under no illusion. These men are traitors
    Am I right in assuming that this is yet another act that can be sheeted home to our friends in the Jewish community? I think so. Look at the list. Jumping to the commands of their supreme leader, Netanyahu for whom every act they perpetrate is dedicated, they duck and weave as pro-Israel pimps and stooges. But here is the really sad part. They can do it openly, with Congressional approval, often funded by the US government and waving the US flag, often while holding responsible office as public servants, paid by the state.

    The US should wake up. These people should be indicted for un-American acts.

    in the early fifties such pursuits against the spies, fellow travellers and communist sympathisers was a great event, a sidwhow as only America can produce. It was called McCarthyism…. the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.

    In this case, however, the evidence is everywhere. It is clear, right in front of your face every day, known by anyone who has read a paper, before Zionist control of the media that is, and known by any person who has ever questioned why the US lost 4,000 soldiers in Iraq, killed 1.5 million adults by sanctions and are now able to identify over 2,000 soldiers who have so far died for “Operation Enduring Freedom”.
    It is like a sick novel.

    Sounds like a title from a movie, starring Tom Hanks and produced by the Weinstein Brothers or any of the Zionist owned Hollywood Goebbels-like propaganda centres who learnt their trade well from the master.
    All this, one way or another, can be attributed to those Neocons identified in this article.

    Of course, in those days, the good Senator McCarthy was known as a zealot. So how does one teach people in America in 2012 to be zealots for the long term interests of their country because Communism in 1950, when compared to Zionism in 2012, was as insignificant as a pin-prick.

    Until Zionism in all its insidious forms is expunged from American society, there can be no peace, anywhere. The tentacles are strangling decency, humanity and the very life blood of most of the countries in the world..

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