The doors may be closing shortly on the nine-year-old Project for a New American Century, the neoconservative think tank headed by William Kristol , former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and now editor of the Weekly Standard, which is must reading for neocon cogitators and agitators.
The PNAC was short on staff -- having perhaps a half-dozen employees -- but very long on heavy hitters. The founders included Richard B. Cheney , Donald H. Rumsfeld , Paul D. Wolfowitz , Jeb Bush , I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby , William J. Bennett, Zalmay Khalilzad and Quayle.
The goal was to continue the Reaganite, muscular approach to projecting American power and "moral clarity" in a post-Cold War world, the group's manifesto said. The targets were liberal drift and conservative isolationism.
PNAC and its supporters dominated the Bush administration's foreign policy apparatus and championed a policy to get rid of Saddam Hussein long before Sept. 11, 2001.
In its famous 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton , PNAC said "removing Saddam Hussein and his regime . . . now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy." Clinton was urged to use all diplomatic, political and military means to topple him.
Despite the happy chatter before the Iraq invasion about cheering crowds and bouquets and cakewalks and how the war was going to pay for itself, the signatories wrote that "we are fully aware of the dangers of implementing this policy."
There had been debate about PNAC's future, but the feeling, a source said, was of "goal accomplished" and it looks to be heading toward closing. Former executive director Gary J. Schmitt , who had been executive director of President Ronald Reagan 's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, left recently for a post at the American Enterprise Institute. (Not a big move. Actually, only five floors up from PNAC.) Still, seems like a short century.