He's a conservative, a militarist, and a renowned national security think-tanker and last week he wrote in the Seattle Weekly "Get out of Iraq--now.
Philip Gold has been downright prescient about the war; he predicted it, called it for the dangerous adventurism that it is, affixed blame on the Bushite neocons and has been ostracized for it his former peers.
We went into Iraq to teach the world a lesson. It didn't work. It won't. Perhaps now we should let the people of Iraq do the teaching, and say to them:
"We freed you from a hideous tyrant. We helped you to rebuild your economy, your society, your security forces. We gave you three years to think about what you really want. Now we're leaving. Let's see what you do with your freedom."
In the summer leading up to 9-11, he predicted an imminent terrorist strike. When you read his remarkable Washington Law & Politics piece Jihadistan, published July 2001, you'll need to read more from Philip Gold.
He's no liberal--and he's got all the conservative bona fides. He graduated Yale, got a Ph.D. at Georgetown and taught military history there for 14 years. He was defense consultant for presidential candidate Steve Forbes in 2000. He spent 10 years active and reserve in the Marine Corps, and 10 years as a Senior Fellow in national security affairs at the conservative think tank Discovery Institute (the main perps of the religious right's pseudoscientific creationist 3-card monte, Intelligent Design).
His work has been in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, American Spectator, Weekly Standard, and Policy Review. For 22 years before he was drummed out for the apostasy of opposing the Bush Doctrine, he was a columnist and paid staffer on the very conservative, Moonie-owned Washington Times and its weekly magazine Insight.
Gold has written 5 books, his most recent is Take Back the Right: How the Neocons & the Religious Right Have Betrayed the Conservative Movement (2004), a very personal autobiographical account of his uncommon career and philosophical journey over the conservative river and through the woods.
When conservatives criticize neocons, we listen.
(When Pat Buchanan, the cootish 19th century curmudgeon dumps on the Bush Doctrine, we suddenly find pith and feck in the words of a man we used to love to call a Nazi. We once registered Republican and attended a GOP precinct meeting hopeful to help Buchanan be nominated for President--an unlikely occurrence, true, but one we thought would ensure GOP defeat. Our effort, as you know, was not successful--instead we got Robert Dole, a candidate whose potential as a loser we had no quarrel).
But it's for more than proactive Schadenfreude that we listen to Phil Gold.
Gold says, "I did an initial 'break with conservatism' article called "End of the Road," in Washington Law & Politics in Feb. 2000. This had been building for some time. I'd been on the Forbes 2000 campaign but broke with them via a Washington Times column, The Education of Forbes, in December 1999."
He supported the invasion of Afghanistan and the Bush doctrine of preemption and regime change--if, he wrote, "they were used rationally and sparingly."
They, of course, were not. So Gold pressed further toward the perimeters of the Republican wilderness. In a blistering Seattle Weekly op-ed, An Antiwar Movement of One in the spring of 2002, he became one of the first mainstream conservatives to oppose the Iraqi war--a heresy to neoconic party regulars akin to pillow talk with Hillary Clinton. He wrote:
I've taken to constituting myself as an antiwar movement of one--a man of impeccable conservative credentials and long experience in the national-security field, a grumpy old Marine, who has grown infuriated with and appalled by both the conservative embrace of disaster and the enormity of the smallness of what passes for the antiwar movement today.
Then in Washington Law & Politics, he wrote, Conservatism: Good-bye to All That, a "blow-by-blow report of the dissolution of a political marriage," in which he walked out on the establishment right, the religious right, and the neocons.
Gold's separation from the Discovery Institute was inevitable, amicable and swift.
In 2002, He told the conservative WorldNetDaily:
I look at what conservatism has become, and I no longer recognize the movement. The most important core principles 'limited government, civil liberties and economic opportunity, lighter taxes' are libertarian issues now. I voted for Bush and expect to vote for him in 2004, but there's no pretending that the Republicans aren't one half of the Republocrat system, devoted to keeping the game the way it is. Culturally, conservatism has little to offer except reruns and resentment and moody separatism. As for a foreign policy, unless we're very lucky, we're walking into disaster."
But he didn't vote for Bush in 2004--he couldn't vote for either candidate. He says he can't be a liberal, but it's lonesome and it sucks, being right on the right.
Gold's a man without a wing.
He told WorldNetDaily: "My audience these days is liberals – especially older liberals, who've had it with what the left has become, but still don't want to go right. I've also started hearing from disillusioned conservatives."
He might as well be dead in conservative and Republican circles. Rabbi Daniel Lapin glares at him in the Mercer Island Post Office, the Washington Times stopped returning email and as for talk radio, "They avoid me assiduously," he says.
On Libertarians: "If a conservative is a person who, when told about something going on in the world, answers, 'Yes, but how did it work in the past?' a libertarian is someone who answers, 'yes, but how would it work in theory?'"
Of Rev. Ken Hutcherson, the fire breathing scourge of Microsoft and equal marriage rights: "God made Hutch without waiting for the environmental impact study."
On Iraq: "...the insurgents most likely want us to stay. They know they can't defeat us. But they certainly can bleed us. Death and maiming. Three hundred billion dollars by year's end in direct costs; maybe coming up on a trillion, total. The U.S. Army is imploding and can't replace its ruined people and gear, while the Navy and Air Force are letting people go because they're running out of ships and planes—on a basic defense budget of over $400 billion a year. To borrow from Thomas Jefferson: 'I tremble for my country when I reflect that our enemies can count.'"
He thinks a major political earthquake--a tipping point--may be imminent if the pressures keep building.
"The last president to serve six or more years without a meltdown was Teddy Roosevelt. Bush is facing everything from Iraq to (hopefully) a newly militant labor movement. If the Democrats get control of at least the Senate, a deadlock could ensue that would open the door to major changes within both parties, or to a third party formed by disaffected Republocrats. My goal is to have something to offer, wherever I might end up."