Bastard Neocon’s in Search of a Father

Guess who the Neocon’s are claiming as the founding father of their movement…Winston Churchill.

It was a telling moment. In England right-wing historians are portraying the last lion as a drunk, a dilettante, an incorrigible bungler who squandered the opportunity to cut a separate peace with Hitler that would have preserved the British Empire. On the American right, by contrast, Churchill idolatry has reached its finest hour. George W. Bush, who has said ”I loved Churchill’s stand on principle,” installed a bronze bust of him in the Oval Office after becoming president. On Jan. 21, 2005, Bush issued a letter with ”greetings to all those observing the 40th anniversary of the passing of Sir Winston Churchill.” The Weekly Standard named Churchill ”Man of the Century.” So did the columnist Charles Krauthammer, who in December 2002 delivered the third annual Churchill Dinner speech sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College; its president, Larry P. Arnn, also happens to belong to the International Churchill Society. William J. Luti, a leading neoconservative in the Pentagon, recently told me, ”Churchill was the first neocon.” Apart from Michael Lind writing in the British magazine The Spectator, however, the Churchill phenomenon has received scant attention. Yet to a remarkable extent, the neoconservative establishment is claiming Churchill (who has just had a museum dedicated to him in London) as a founding father.

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