Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Neocon Re-write of American History

By Robert Parry
July 31, 2010

On Friday, the Washington Post offered up its typical balance on the “Washington FORUM” page – two articles by former Bush administration officials (Hank Paulson and Michael Gerson) and two articles by prominent neocons (Robert Kagan and Max Boot). But Boot’s opinion piece – advocating never-ending largesse for the U.S. military – was perhaps the most insidious.

Read on.


Dennis Byrne... said...

Talk about revisionist history. The actual size of the regular U.S. army when the United States declared war on Great Britain in 1812 was 5,000. The militias that you speak of were a motley crew of untrained, self-armed civilians; many refused to fight outside of their states. The United States Navy consisted of a half-dozen fighting ships (not counting barges), compared with Great Britain's fleet numbered about 900.

This was not some overseas adventure, but actual assault on America's sovereignty not just on the high seas, but in the Northwest territories.

America was lucky to come out of this war with a virtual tie, no thanks to the incompetence of the military as well as Congress, which refused to adequately fund the war effort.

You can read about it in my historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." For more information, check out the web site:

Sean Ahern said...

Appreciate the critique of the rewrite of US history but fear you have introduced a alternate rewrite.

The fledgling Republic did contain more than an element of the militaristic Spartan model. The lifetime hereditary slavery imposed on the African laborers was enshrined in the new Republic's constitution with the 3/5th proviso.
In the name of maintaining white racial supremacy militarism and terrorism were regularly employed to keep the African as the subjugated race.
As for the great lure which the Republic represented for the unwashed masses of Europe, it is important to remember that nearly half returned to their homelands, many more were consumed early in the mines, seafearing, and canal construction. Last of all is what drove them; the famines, pogroms and land enclosures
How many Mexicans today would be flocking to what is left of our "Republic" today if their traditional way of life had not been made untenable by NAFTA?

Dennis Byrne... said...

You've left me speechless.

Anonymous said...

The 3/5 a person proviso in the Constitution was only a way of counting in the Census. It was the NORTH that insisted upon it.

The reason was that Congressional seats were apportioned by Census, and the slave holding states wanted their slaves fully counted, so their state would have more representation. Some in the non-slave holding states wanted the slaves counted not at all, so 3/5 was the compromise.

The 3/5 rule was abou apportioning seats, not necessarily racism as such.

M Henri Day said...

How sad that Mr Boot was not among the Founding Fathers, so that the United States could have been a full-fledged military dictatorship from the very start, with an «army and a navy that commanded the respect of prospective enemies, foreign and domestic» ! No doubt freedom-seeking Europeans and others would have flocked to the new state's shores, enamoured as they were of princes that imposed the burden of massive military spending and conscription on them. But alas, the Founding Fathers, with such people as Franklin and Jefferson among their ranks, not being of Mr Boot's intellectual preeminence, allowed themselves to be misled by their animosity towards King George's and Great Britain's military might, which had been used against them, and so failed to realise how nice it would have been to play the same game with their own pieces. But even if several centuries late, we are fortunate today to have Mr Boot to set us straight in our rush to build a Lacedaemon that stretches over a continent and rules the world. Pity, however, that he doesn't seem to realise - for errors of this type are never deliberate, are they ? - that the US military budget is about twice the size he mentions - over one million million (10^12) USD annually, rather than half that figure, and is, in fact, bankrupting the country. But given the nature of his opinions, Mr Boot will surely never have to wonder whence his next meal will come - the military-industrial-lobbyist-legislator-media complex knows how to reward its own. Ms Kirkpatrick would be proud !...


Anonymous said...

Anonymous regarding the 3/5 compromise is quite mad. The compromise was about nothing but racism from its root and some apologist for slavery simply saying it wasn't is not an answer. Because of racism the United States had slaves. Because of racism the South refused to give up slavery, and when forced to give up slavery subsequently refused to grant civil rights to former slaves due to racism. It is racism from beginning to end, north to south to east to west, and nothing but.

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Anonymous said...

Just how dumb are Americans ????

The Washington Post is full of neocons paid traitors to the USA.

Charles Krauthammer & Michael Gerson chief neocons among them have over 305,00 dead ,crippled contaminated American's blood on their hands.

The best part of the W.P. is the comment section.

We are in Iraq & Afghanistan illegally & these neocons are free to continue promote neocon propaganda.

Check these links out & wake up.

Ethan Allen said...

Who could have imagined such an interesting collection of responses(?) to your observations? You may have inadvertently evoked the outcry of anti-revisionist revisionism cloaked in the oxymoronic guise of historical fiction.
I find that your expressed understanding of the diverse and opposing ideas represented by our founders is consistent with the fact of their own writing. Those that lack the curiosity to read these correspondences, readily available to everyone interested in such history, can not claim them as foundational references for informed opinion.
In modern parlance, both the NeoLiberal and NeoConservative elements were present throughout the colonies before and during our Revolution, and were represented at the Constitutional Convention. They represented, then as now, the oligarchs, the empiricists, the royalists, and the sycophants seduced by their wealth and power. Then as now, after losing their arguments against the Revolution, they even fought the ratification of the Constitution, and were it not for the efforts of the likes of Thomas Paine and others prior to the war, and Franklin and the enlightened progressives throughout the period, there would be no Bill of Rights to erode, by the current crop of NeoPatriots.

mario said...

Reading all the comments, one can't but to be grateful for the amount of knowledge these people display and the chances one gets to share on them.

With regard to these neocons guys and their desire for an ever larger increase in the US military apparatus it's worth noting that it fits well with their notion of America, being at the core, since the very beginning a nation of warriors, given the character of the firsts waves of white anglo saxon coming to these shores. That is to say; Irish and Scottish people.

Anonymous said...


"white anglo saxon"

Hmmm, what other kind of "anglo saxon" is there?, "anglo saxon" is the term given to people who come from Germany and England.

"Irish and Scottish people" are Celts not "anglo saxon". As for being warlike, you have to give that to the "anglo saxon" not the Celts.

You really should read up on these things.

Ethan Allen said...

"M Henri Day" and "Anonymous - Mon Aug 2, 9:09AM", have somehow managed to avoid the temptation to digress into self-promotion, and have actually responded to the issue of NeoCon revisionism put forward in "A NeoCon Re-write of American History"; score two points for continuity. While history couched in fiction and matters of racial bias are certainly topics to which revisionism is and has been applied, neither are the intended focus of Mr. Parry's erudite missive.
Does anyone wonder how it happened that Newt Gingrich became credentialed as a Professor of American History? And, what of the students fortunate enough to have this charlatan interpreting the words and deeds of the founders for them? Or, is this author of "The Contract For America", and ideological progeny of Reagon era anti-Civics education merely a political facilitator of ideas long thought to be dismissed by reason?
For those who prefer a different view of both the past and present circumstance, I commend the recent poem by Peter Dale Scott: Loving America. The poem, along with a brief bio of the poet, can be read at

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