I know a number of the editors of The Weekly Standard, the linchpin journal of neoconservatism, and a more affable, thoughtful bunch of guys promoting more dangerous, maniacal ideas you could never hope to meet. In a series of discussions with them beginning last fall, I noticed that they repeatedly insisted that any serious U.S. debate on the war was already a thing of the past. “It’s a settled question here; the Democrats will go along,” one of them told me last October. In this and other such assessments, it seems to me, they conflated an empirical judgment which has been proven wrong (dissent was only beginning last October) with both a wish (it would be good if dissent died out) and a bit of a diktat (we need to go to war here, so stop your dissenting!). They have applied this same backward reasoning — mixing lack of memory with desire, and prophecy with preference — to the war: We need to overthrow Saddam and build support for the American vision of the world; hence we will overthrow Saddam and it will build support for that American vision.
And Bush bought it. Swell way to run a country — or a world.