Douglas Feith recently spoke here on campus. Chicago, home of Leo Strauss and Albert Wohlstetter, is an important place for Doug Feith to come and defend the assault on Iraq strategy of the administration - and by extension the neocon world view.
Today's NYT (r.r) has an indepth on the three-member crack team (and yes, crack) of Feith, Maloof and Chalabi who were responsible for coming up with lots of nice powerpoint presentations on Iraq, WMDs, al-Qaeda. There is an earlier WaPo (r.r) piece that covered most of this Shadow Squad . Both of these pieces show that post-Sep 11, the neocons were ready to find the intelligence to support their gut feeling: that Saddam had to go, that the Empire had to return, that the World was Dangerous Place. Of course, any kind of intelligence can easily be found if one culled over enough policy and analysis memos and, of course, called a dissident insider who had all kinds of "neat" information. It is a pattern we have seen in every other public policy of this administration: Have a conclusion, find the reasons. And the reasons are all there in those books and memos. God forbid one has to leave the Regenstein.
What is fascinating to me is the way that the neocons have gone around defending themselves. Bernard Lewis, the doyen of Orientalists, was on Charlie Rose last night saying how wonderful a guy Chalabi is and how cruel the media has been to him. Oh yea, the media is sooo bad to them.
The neocons LOVE the spotlight. They do. Have you seen any tabletop lately that did not have Richard Perle perched on it? They know they were right and they thought this was going to be the moment when sheepish intelligentsia would be lining up to shower them with flowers (ha). The fact that it did not happen in Iraq may have given them pause, but no. They want the accolades. They want to be proven right.
In the end they are the quintessential Chicago students: Hungry for approval, utterly convinced of their rightness, and with immutable faith that the text will save us all.
Your final paragraph has validated my decision to continue my studies here.