To the war's critics, and to a majority of Americans, the decision to invade and occupy Iraq was a mistake. But most neoconservatives seem to sincerely believe that Iraq was a glorious victory for the United States (I don't think Chait believes that, but Bill Kristol sure does).
I'm not sure that someone with Kristol's intelligence really believes Iraq was a "glorious victory". But it remains an imperative to say so. Remember: neoconservatism is not about honest assessment; it's about gaining and retaining power, and deploying big lies in that endeavor is, to coin a phrase, noble.