IN 2000, a close-knit group of about 20 people took their places in the Bush administration, hoping to overthrow Saddam Hussein and spread American ideas of democracy throughout the Middle East. They called themselves “neo-conservatives” and, for two years, no one paid them much notice.
Now the tyrant has gone, and governments around the world are nervously wondering what this much suspected group of men mean to do next. With Baghdad still burning, the neo-cons’ most senior official, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence, popped up to say that “there has got to be change in Syria”. That comment ushered in two weeks of harsh diplomatic pressure from the Bush administration about the other Baath regime, though Mr Wolfowitz quickly added that “change” did not, in this case, mean regime change.
Such talk rattles chancelleries round the world. Those in power try to be diplomatic about their concerns. But Lord Jopling, a former British cabinet minister, spoke for many when he told the House of Lords on March 18th that “neo-conservatives…now have a stranglehold on the Pentagon and seem, as well, to have a compliant armlock on the president himself.”
A 2003 article (with a great cartoon) talking about the importance of change in Syria. The neo-cons just don’t give up, do they?