The Neocon War On Roger Cohen

The viciousness of the ostracism has been apparent for months. Now they are piling on with the usual charge of inconsistency. The reason so many neocons claim inconsistency among their critics (I've been subject to this treatment a few thousand times myself) is that they have no idea what it is to change your mind or to grapple with two competing truths. Try finding any acknowledgment of error or evolution in the writings of Kagan or Kristol or Krauthammer and you'll be lost in Nexis for a very long while. On the question of the Iranian regime, the neocons have a template: it is evil and must be destroyed for the sake of what they see as Israeli and Western interests. So when someone like Roger Cohen actually reports that Iran is a vastly more complex society and polity than fits the neocon imperative for more war, they cannot compute. Their response is to call him a self-hating Jew, to cast him out of neocon society, to smear and distort and ascribe motives that his prose simply doesn't support. If he were not Jewish, they would have called him an anti-Semite by now. Long ago. That's what neocons do when called out. And it works most of the time.

But less and less. Here's a classic piece of agit-prop allegedly detailing Cohen's alleged "inconsistencies."

But it is not inconsistent to point out that Iranian society has been much, much freer and more diverse and more cosmopolitan than most of the other cultures and societies in the region, while also seeing this within the cage of the Islamist regime. This is simply a recognition of complexity. And this complexity is the truth. Without understanding this tension, you can't begin to understand what is happening in Iran. Read this post for a review of how a more moderate Iran and a much more conservative Iran have been advancing on parallel tracks for the past decade or so. If Cohen had been wrong about this, the Mousavi movement would not exist. The public rage would not exist. The last campaign would not have happened. This moment would not have come to pass. Which is why so many neocons didn't see it coming; and refused to acknowledge its existence in the first few days (and openly wanted Ahmadinejad to win).

When you substitute ideology for history, dogma for inquiry, and war for dplomacy, you will end up with what Bush and Cheney gave us. I learned this lesson the hard way. It's time the goons and smear artists on the neocon right did the same.