Roger L. Simon

The New York Times Has NDS (Neocon Derangement Syndrome)

It’s been mired in this syndrome (NDS) for several years, ever since it was determined that the UWSPL (Upper West Side Party Line) was that the Iraq War was a disaster. But oops… along comes this Petraeus character and it may not be a disaster after all. Apparently things are looking up, at least for the moment. As Fred Thompson dryly put it, “You can tell that the news is good coming out of Iraq because you read so little about it in The New York Times.”

Of course, no one can tell what the verdict of history will be – although if you read Timothy Noah’s review of Jacob Heilbrunn’s They Knew They Were Right/The Rise of the Neocons in today’s NYTBR, you wouldn’t know it. Mr. Noah is a true believer in the UWSPL, holding aloft the banner of the NDS with pride. For him, Iraq was a catastrophe equivalent to the flood of that other Noah. And naturally it was the cursed neocons’ fault. Though Bush squeaked out a higher grade average at Yale than John Kerry (acknowledged even by the NYT on page 406 or whatever), Georgie-Peorgie never could have thought of invading Iraq by himself. He needed to be drugged by Richard Perle on a moonlit night.

Needless to say, Noah ignores such inconvenient truths – and others including the fact that Iraq is a functioning (albeit limping) democracy with people in the streets and growing businesses, that it is one of our least violent wars (less than five percent the US fatalities of Vietnam) and at the very least we will be left with bases inside Mesopotamia to help control the expansionist fascisms in Iran and Syria. It could be better than that. Who knows? The Iraqis could turn into real allies for freedom, just like those dreaded neocons hoped.

Of course, for the likes of Noah, the fact that it took a few more years than predicted means all is lost. Not exactly the kind of guy you’d like in your foxhole, is it? Ditto the editors of the New York Times. Not all that long ago (September 2002), Bill Keller wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine – The Sunshine Warrior – quite laudatory of Paul Wolfowitz. Not long after that, the real war was on and Wolfowitz became anathema. The slightest inkling of a sinking ship and it was “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”… everybody overboard.

Now, ironically, some people will have to climb back in again or they will have to – horror of horrors – look at something as frightening as a McCain presidency. So it goes.