The Neocon Fantasy Machine Rolls On


The Kagans – so many you can barely keep track of them – are a particularly Washington clan. Like other neocons – the Podhoretzes and Kristols come to mind – the family occupies various posts and play assorted roles in advancing the idea of US global hegemony, constant interference in other countries (but never Israel!), and warfare. They played a key part in deceiving much of official Washington – wittingly or not – about the situation in Iraq, and thereby bear responsibility for the catastrophe that followed. Their “surge” subsequently failed to achieve what it was designed for: getting a multi-sectarian government with lower levels of mass violence in Iraq. You can see how utterly divorced from reality that pipe-dream was by just reading the news reports daily of the low-burning civil war there every day.

So is anyone surprised they were duped again? Zack Beauchamp (former Dishtern) gives a great account of the sorry story of how the woman who became one of the more conspicuous advocates for full-scale entry into another Middle East civil war was not what she said she was. Elizabeth O’Bagy lied to Kimberley Kagan about her doctorate and Kagan never checked it out before putting her Institute for the Study of War on record behind it:

Over the course of roughly a year, [O’Bagy] went from a graduate student and intern to a pundit making regular appearances on Fox News and being published in Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, and well, The Wall Street Journal. She was promoted to Senior Analyst and then to Syria Team Lead at ISW, and had become known as a go-to expert on the Syrian rebels among foreign policy experts.

It’s a classic example of how dubious actors with vague backgrounds can ascend so rapidly in Washington as long as they are parroting one faction’s preferred version of the truth. This isn’t unique to the neocons, of course. But since they currently hold the world record in being duped and duping others on matters of war and peace, the fact that this is still happening – especially after the lies and bullshit that occurred before the war in Iraq – is instructive that these people never learn.

These were the people touting Chalabi, remember? These were the people telling us there was no serious sectarian issue in Iraq under Saddam and a civil war was highly unlikely if we invaded. These were the people dismissing the notion in advance that we did not have enough troops to secure the country. These were the people – once trapped in their own delusional universe – that sanctioned grotesque and endemic torture of prisoners as a way to get out of it.

It sickens me to see this same propaganda machine wheeled into action again, and to see Washington take it seriously. But it heartens me as well that this unreliable person and demonstrable liar has been exposed. May she be the first of many.