Democracy Languishes, but Neo-Con Strategy Lives

The Project for the New American Century may have effectively closed up shop two years ago and its key neo-conservative allies in the administration, such as Scooter Libby and Douglas Feith, may be long gone, but the group's five-year-old Middle East strategy remains very much alive. This is not the "Wilsonian" strategy of transforming Iraq into a model of democracy and pluralism that will then spread domino-like across the entire benighted region of autocrats, monarchs and theocrats whose oppression and backwardness have, in the neo-con narrative, been the main cause of anti-U.S. Islamic extremism. On the contrary, that "idealist" vision has largely disappeared from the administration's discourse, particularly over the past year as Iraq slipped steadily into sectarian civil war, despite having been enthusiastically embraced by George W. Bush and his neo-conservative supporters after their early justifications for war in Iraq - Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda - proved unfounded.

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