‘Neocon’ is suddenly a bad career move (and Rachel Abrams ain’t helping the Elliott Abrams brand)

Israel/Palestine
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Media Matters has blasted Rachel Abrams for her xenophobic racist rant against Palestinians. Yesterday all my friends were saying, Can you imagine a Muslim uttering such invective, what would happen to her and her politically-connected husband? They’d be finished. Well maybe Rachel Abrams has hurt Elliott Abrams badly, after all. As they say in Israel and Palestine, Inshallah.

I’d note that today Iraq war supporter Leslie Gelb attacks the neocons as warmongerers, at the Daily Beast.

The other night on Chris Matthews, Dana Milbank was attacking them. So this is now the conventional wisdom (from folks who I’m guessing supported the neocon central project, the Iraq war). There was a time when people ran away from the word liberal. Now it’s a pox on neoconservatism. I welcome it.

Oh here is Leslie Gelb supporting the Iraq war for his career:

My initial support for the war [in Iraq] was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility. We ‘experts’ have a lot to fix about ourselves, even as we ‘perfect’ the media. We must redouble our commitment to independent thought, and embrace, rather than cast aside, opinions and facts that blow the common—often wrong—wisdom apart. Our democracy requires nothing less.

Being a neoconservative is suddenly what they used to call a CLM at Goldman, Sachs. (Career Limiting Move).

Update. Justin Logan at the National Interest on neoconservative career-making in Washington, titled, The Neocons Never Left

The irony here is that it was with the help of people like Leslie Gelb that the neocons took over the GOP establishment. When he was at the helm of the Council on Foreign Relations, Gelb brought in a real neocon’s neocon, Max Boot, to be a senior fellow, giving perhaps the most fervid neocon around the CFR stamp of approval—the imprimatur of the foreign-policy establishment. (It should also be acknowledged that Gelb himself supported the neocons’ Iraq project, shrugging afterward in the passive voice that his “initial support for the war was symptomatic of unfortunate tendencies within the foreign policy community, namely the disposition and incentives to support wars to retain political and professional credibility.”)

As Scott McConnell has pointed out, neoconservatism is a career. Or as Bill Kristol remarked in 2005, the neoconservatives have done such an excellent job building institutions and infrastructure for developing the next generation of neocons that “soon there are going to be more neoconservative magazines than there are neoconservatives.” There are dozens of twenty-something, thirty-something, forty-something and older neocons throughout Washington, working at think tanks, editorial pages, in government and elsewhere. I could probably count on two hands the number of youngish national-security types I know in town who I could strain to call realists. This imbalance among foreign-policy elites helps create the mistaken impression that there are lots of neoconservatives in America generally, which there aren’t. Neoconservatism really is a head without a body.

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