Bret Stephens is one of my very favorite neocon writers. I always look forward to reading his ‘Global View’ column in the Wall Street Journal Tuesdays (the same day of the week as another great neocon, Frank Gaffney, rings his latest alarum over the global shariah conspiracy in the Washington Times). I particularly enjoyed Stephens’ piece today in which he completely undercuts the neocon mantra that Hagel’s foreign policy views are “out of the mainstream” (except on Israel and the “Jewish lobby,” of course). Here he is complaining that Hagel, presumably unlike neocons such as Bill Kristol, Elliott Arams and Richard Perle, never atones or is made to account for his past mistakes, misjudgments or outright lying:
In each case, Mr. Hagel was articulating a view that was exactly in keeping with received Beltway wisdom. In each case, he was subsequently disproved by events. In no case was Mr. Hagel ever held to any kind of account for being wrong. In no case did he hold himself to account for being wrong. [Emphasis added.]
This seems to be a classic case of projection. One would have to ask Stephens when and how it was that neocons like himself ever held themselves to account for their role in abandoning Afghanistan and leading the U.S. to war in Iraq, being played by Ahmad Chalabi for useful idiots, and encouraging Israel to grab more and more territory, thereby further jeopardizing the possibility of a peacefully negotiated two-state solution, just to name a few examples of the utterly disastrous policy advice they offered both in and outside the Bush administration.
Perhaps Stephens could hold himself to account for the bad policy advice he has provided over the years — not to mention the kind of smears he has levelled against Hagel, as the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen noted this week. A good subject for next Tuesday’s ‘Global View’ no doubt. Or maybe Fareed Zakaria could take up the issue directly with Stephens the next time he appears on Zakaria’s ‘GPS’ public affairs program.