I keep meaning to do a post on Robert McNamara's very long persecuted old age and what that example holds for the neoconservatives, who if Richard Perle keeps his lipids down in the south of France, and Elliott Abrams gets ahold of his blood pressure, face an unending groundhogs day of roasting conscience over the Iraq error. Scott McConnell beat me to it:
I am always somewhat interested in the amount of angst the Vietnam war caused Robert McNamara– though he never could quite unambiguously admit he was a key originator of tragic bloody mistake.
Regrets over Vietnam was a major factor in the final decomposition of the Wasp establishment–those men who had supported the war lost their faith in it, and in many cases found it breaking their their relationships with their sons and daughters, even their marriages. Out of it grew an ambivalence about power which the neocons soon capitalized upon–harping on the Wasp "failure of nerve" and presenting themselves as tough-minded enough to lead America during a seemingly dangerous passage of the Cold War. It was an attractive posture–or it certainly seemed attractive to me when I was twenty five or so.
I wonder if Paul Wolfowitz suffers from the same sleepless nights. I doubt it, but don't rule it out entirely. I'm unaware of any major "second thoughts" from the neocons over Iraq, though Lawrence Kaplan has written the war was a mistake, and reached out to some antiwar writers (Andy Bacevich, me) in the magazine he edits, World Affairs.