Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Review: A 'conspiracy' reconstructed

THE FORTY YEARS WAR: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE NEOCONS, FROM NIXON TO OBAMA By Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman Harper/Harper Collins, $27.99 Back in the day, when life was simpler and we were all in it together, Irving Kristol elegantly defined a neoconservative as "a liberal who has been mugged by reality," Bill Buckley invited those politically victimized neocons, still mostly Democrats, to "come on in, the water's fine," and Bob Tyrrell opened up a journalistic training school at the American Spectator for neocon sons and daughters. For a time, it seemed that Frank Meyer's fusionist vision had become reality. But according to Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman, neocons were actually out for power, first establishing themselves in Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson's office, then making alliances of convenience with traditional conservatives and infiltrating government at the highest levels, the ultimate objective being to control American foreign policy, which they believed was being undermined by Richard Nixon's pragmatic policy of detente. Mr. Colodny's best-selling revisionist Watergate account, "Silent Coup," laid the blame for Richard Nixon's downfall on CIA and Pentagon plotting, with an assist from Bob Woodward. Here he and his co-author once again take us through the material covered exhaustively in "Silent Coup," examine neocon success in blocking detente during the Ford and Carter administrations, wrestle with the apparent unity of purpose among most conservatives during the Reagan years and deplore the final neocon ascendancy during the administration of George W. Bush, culminating in what they see as the debacle in more

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