Neocon history misunderstood

To the editor:

If anybody bothered to read the op-ed article about neoconservatives by conservative editor Rich Lowry in Wednesday’s paper, their focus should be on his statement that “neoconservative is a term of abuse.” He also misunderstood the history of that word and the concept it conveys.

The original neocons were ALL liberal Democrats who believed in a strong foreign policy, a well-prepared military and bottomless support for Israel. They were indeed idealistic and believed in a robust government to protect us from the depredations of the Corporate State.

Some familiar names — including Sens. Henry “Scoop” Jackson of Washington state and our own Pat Moynihan, academics such as U.N. Representative Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Defense and Energy Secretary James Schlesinger, and intellectuals like Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz — enlightened us and tried to wean the Democratic Party away from the McGovernite peaceniks who displayed a disturbing tendency to trust the anti-Zionist ravings of the Arab lobby.

These are not negative things at all, and the term did not become an insult until well after Republican anti-communist reactionaries and corporate stooges flooded into the Reagan-Bush administrations. But the neocons gave enough bipartisan oomf to Reagan’s belligerence that we managed to win the Cold War.

However, the new neocons (neo-neos?) are now clambering to help a lunatic destroy decades of our united efforts to make the world safer for democracy.

Rick Gombas

Saranac Lake