Why William Kristol is on my Twitter feed I have no idea. Has Donald Trump brought together liberals and neocons? Has it at last gotten to that? Like commies and capitalists uniting against Hitler? Or good and evil scientists against Godzilla? Has some rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouched toward Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to be born? Trump did win there. He won the whole damn Lehigh Valley, in fact, and there went Pennsylvania and, tumbling like southeast Asian dominos, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Minnesota teetered and held. Oh joy. An angry little progressive, twittering like an indignant bird, tells me that Michigan is too close to call. He sees a way out. Chemtrails chemtrails chemtrails. But getting back to William Kristol. One of the brilliant minds of neoconservatism. There he is, on my Twitterfeed, being clever. Oh so clever. You have to hand it to those old neocons. If politics were the Catskills, they’d be a laff riot. Funnier than most progressives, a particularly humorless lot lately. A few old George Carlin memes. Make a joke and you’re a Republican. But there is William Kristol, a conceptual architect of our Iraqi war, cracking wise. There’s John Podhoretz, saying fuck in inappropriate places. And there, on the far left end of the room, is Ralph Nader, no, there isn’t Ralph Nader. Can you blame him? Steve Bannon is a no show, too. Is he even on Twitter? I must look. I have a soft spot for spoilers and renegade nazis.
I’d actually never heard of the Pentagon’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Afghanistan, but it was the heart and soul of Neocon philosophy. It was the office that was in charge of changing Afghanistan into a modern, democratic nation. The idea was simple enough: given enough investment, one could kickstart a free enterprise economy, free of government regulation and control, out of which would come a natural stability and the formation of a democratic system. It was almost a magic trick, taking an economy and society that had not changed appreciably in centuries and with a few hundred million dollars turning it into a market for computers and cars and hamburgers and western concepts of democratic government. But unregulated commerce and democracy went hand in hand in their thinking. The power of the free market. Regime change just naturally followed economic change. It seemed so clear to them and so absurd to us. We, of course, were right, this eight hundred million (and the goats) disappeared into thin air and Afghanistan’s ancient ways are still there. Continue reading