Paleocons and Tragedy
In a post calling the events surrounding Katrina the "Anti-9/11," Douthat wrote, "9/11 was a tragedy well-suited to the neoconservative vision, and Katrina is better suited to a paleoconservative view of the world. The fall of the twin towers was a nightmare, but the lessons of that dreadful day felt bracing - that America was still a great and united country; that we had been too long asleep while threats gathered; that the time had come to put aside irony and drift and experience a new birth of resolve and martial vigor. 9/11 allowed people, and especially writers (myself included), to strike quasi-Churchillian poses, tell "hard truths" and talk tough about what needed to be done to defeat our enemies. It made us feel awful, but it also made us good about ourselves."
In fact, the 9/11 attacks in no way invalidated paleoconservatism, and to describe it as "well suited" to the imperious "neoconservative vision" is a stretch.
While running for the presidency in 2000, the most prominent public paleocon, Pat Buchanan, said, "...how can all our meddling not fail to spark some horrible retribution? Recall: it was in retaliation for the bombing of Libya that Khadafi's agents blew up Pan Am 103. And it is said to have been in retaliation for the Vincennes' accidental shoot-down of that Iranian airliner that Teheran collaborated with terrorists to blow up the Khobar towers. From Pan Am 103, to the World Trade Center, to the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar - have we not suffered enough not to know that interventionism is the incubator of terrorism? Or will it take some cataclysmic atrocity on U.S. soil to awaken our global gamesmen to the asking price of empire?"
Paleocons have been arguing since 1989 for a retrenchment of the garrison state, a retreat of the neocon-inspired "benevolent global hegemon," and for restrictions on immigration.
All of this wise counsel was rejected and the result was 9/11. Our global gamesmen have yet to begin “asking price of empire."