Ten Years After Iraq War, Neo-Cons Struggle to Hold Republicans
By Jim Lobe, March 19, 2013
Originally published in Inter Press Service
Ten years after reaching the height of their influence with the invasion of Iraq, the neo-conservatives and other right-wing hawks are fighting hard to retain their control of the Republican Party.
That fight was on vivid display last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) here where, as the New York Times observed in a front-page article, the party appeared increasingly split between the aggressively interventionist wing that led the march to war a decade ago and a libertarian-realist coalition that is highly sceptical of, if not strongly opposed to, any more military adventures abroad.
The libertarian component, which appears ascendant at the moment, is identified most closely with the so-called Tea Party, particularly Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, whose extraordinary 13-hour “filibuster” against the hypothetical use of drone strikes against U.S. citizens on U.S. territory on the Senate floor last week made him an overnight rock star on the left as well as the right.
Republican unity was not helped by the hostile reaction to Paul’s performance by Sen. John McCain, and his long-time ally, Sen. Lindsay Graham, whose national security views tilt strongly neo-conservative and who are treated by most mainstream media as the party’s two most important foreign policy spokesmen.
McCain dismissed Paul and his admirers as “wacko birds on the right and left that get the media megaphone” and charged that Republican senators who joined Paul – among them, the Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell – during his oratorical marathon should “know better”.
Read more at Foreign Policy in Focus…