Now, they are all upset, at Vanity Fair. At a symposium at NRO, some attack Vanity Fair for being dishonest. Michael Ledeen pushes this argument, claiming to have been the prior victim of a smear piece in Vanity Fair. What Mr. Ledeen does not explain is why, if he was convinced of the dishonesty of Vanity Fair, he agreed to be interviewed by the magazine in the first place.

Several others claim to have believed that Vanity Fair would not publish their burblings until after the election. Another curious defense. If they did not feel that what they said would be seen as betraying the Bush Administration, why would they want their musings kept under wraps until after the election?

Others, such as David Frum, complain that their words have been taken out of context. Such concerns have never before troubled Mr. Frum, who has made a name for himself by smearing paleoconservatives by taking their words out of context. ~Tom Piatak

Tom hits the mark every time in this post.  The bit about Frum is the best, since it was his obnoxious denunciation piece in National Review that was the very definition of an intellectually dishonest hit-job: if you disagree with me and mine on foreign policy, he said, you hate America.  Not bad for a Canadian refugee.   These people seem to have a near-inexhaustible supply of gall.

How is it that we are supposed to believe on the one hand that neocons are worldly-wise, cunning strategists who understand the messy, chaotic world better than we “isolationist” fools ever will, while at the same time we are expected to believe that they are bunch of poor saps who can be hoodwinked by a magazine as lightweight as Vanity Fair?  Certainly no one here is sympathetic to those who engage in deception for political ends, no matter how noble they might believe them to be.  We do not believe that anyone is a “hero in error” or that Presidents can “lie for a just cause.”  We are not the bold and clever thinkers that these people clearly are.  We do not possess the moral clarity sufficient for such things.  So we are all very disappointed in Vanity Fair, I’m sure.   

Now who couldn’t have predicted that their statements would be published selectively for maximum, explosive effect before the election?  To do otherwise would be like releasing Woodward’s book in January ’07, when interest in the political implications of the book would have diminished.  Which sells more magazines: juicy revelations of neocon attacks on Bush before Nov. 7, or dreary, self-exculpatory interviews that threaten to put everyone to sleep after the election?  This is another in a long line of controversies over the “suspicious timing” of this or that revelation, as if there were anything suspicious or unexpected about a magazine trying to make money and get free advertising!  The only thing really suspicious in all of this is the strained defense that the would-be Masters of the Universe have been outwitted by a glorified fashion magazine.  Maybe Vanity Fair did trick these folks into spilling their guts for what was intended to be an election hit-job, in which case the question remains: why would we want such people advising anyone on foreign policy, when they can be outsmarted by Vanity Fair journalists?