I first ran across that phrase in Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love. It was a favorite of the deeply reactionary father of the fictionally comic (though, in reality, pretty tragic) family of eccentrics she described - her own. It described any incursion into the Radlett household that could threaten their insular, privileged, xenophobic and racist upper-class country life. And god knows I have been waiting for a crack to admit the entry of that thin edge in what Billmon has long been calling the Cheney Administration.
The Fitzgerald inquiry looks like it may do the trick, but it's also calling forth voices who have been itching to hammer the wedge home, too. In addition to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson USA (Ret) last Wednesday, Brent Scowcroft is due in the next issue of The New Yorker. These guys are not liberals, and maybe that's what it will take to wake up all of those who have sucked into the PNAC agenda since 2001. Unlike the fantasy Gay Agenda, PNAC's is a very real and pernicious one (and Dan Froomkin helpfully referenced it, regarding Cheney, this last week - read 'em all). I have hopped on their manifesto before, and I think for good reason.
As I wrote Lance the other day, I was engaged in a couple of NSF-funded research projects at my school in the dying years of the Soviet Empire. One was essentially academic, one was more policy-oriented. We went through mountains of published material, ran teams of translators (we had crack Slavic-language editors - that's where my "grisha" nick comes from...), and I don't think any of us could embrace the - by now notorious - Neocon/"Team B"/PNAC assessment of Soviet strength. They were dead wrong, and I think one had to be willfully self-deceived to adopt their analysis, one that inflated perceived strengths and minimized obvious weaknesses, no matter the facts on the ground. And, of course, they were eager to mark anyone who might disagree as "soft," an "apologist," an "appeaser," if not something worse. See Richard Perle and his progreny.
But this crowd missed the clear (certainly in retrospect) evidence that the Cold War hegemonies were fracturing - Solidarity in Poland, the Iranian revolution, the intransigence of religious and tribal factions in Afghanistan for the Sovs, and the cauldron that war became for the West. The Balkan collapse was telescoped for years - you lift up a rock, and there's a lot of teeming underneath. As Digby has said - banging his head against the wall - these guys have been always wrong.
I would really like to have lunch with Doug Feith, just to see how an honors grad of Harvard and Georgetown Law can be such an idiot. I mean, he wouldn't be the first I've met (or the most septic, necessarily), but - I just want to hear the bullshit flow for myself. Be like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. At the same time, my least desirable lunch would be with the Cheneys - anyone who would send a commanding General a Ken Burns documentary collection as a key to battlefield strategy in the middle of a conflict has to have Arrogant Moron inked on his forehead, A wide berth.
Why, after this dismal record, did anyone listen to these turds? Really, it doesn't take that much homework to know more than they do; could it be intimidation and sucking up, or the urge to suck off? The Rude Pundit is acute on the psycho-sexual abuses of power and its mysterious and powerful wank-and-ass-fuck factor, the BDSM of it all. The Judy Miller debacle - 69, all around - should nail both Big Press and Big Government (hiding behind Grover Norquist's merkin, pretending to be small...).
I guess the most disgusting aspect of all of this has been the corruption, deception and abuse of the American people - stoking their fears and prejudices, building straw internal enemies, throwing them off-balance, fostering ignorance and distrust, degrading them in the eyes of the world. It's a New American Century, all right, and it's unforgivable.