Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Must Have Been A Typo

David Brooks goes after conspiracy theorists today.

The full-mooners fixated on a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, which has a staff of five and issues memos on foreign policy. To hear these people describe it, PNAC is sort of a Yiddish Trilateral Commission, the nexus of the sprawling neocon tentacles.

We’d sit around the magazine guffawing at the ludicrous stories that kept sprouting, but belief in shadowy neocon influence has now hardened into common knowledge. Wesley Clark, among others, cannot go a week without bringing it up.

In truth, the people labeled neocons (con is short for “conservative” and neo is short for “Jewish”) travel in widely different circles and don’t actually have much contact with one another. The ones outside government have almost no contact with President Bush. There have been hundreds of references, for example, to Richard Perle’s insidious power over administration policy, but I’ve been told by senior administration officials that he has had no significant meetings with Bush or Cheney since they assumed office. If he’s shaping their decisions, he must be microwaving his ideas into their fillings.

Actually, “neo” is Greek for “new,” so “neoconservative” means new conservatives, as opposed to the old Barry Goldwater type. The fact that they’re “Jewish” could have been because the letter J is right next to N on the QWERTY keyboard and somebody made a typo – they meant to write a “Newish cabal.” Hey, that’s as good a theory as any.