The great of this world are often blamed for not doing what they could have done; they can reply, "[J]ust think of all the evil we could have done, but did not do." Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.
...[W]e're all hegemons now. Max Boot. [Source: "Doctrine of [the] Big Enchilada", Council of Foreign Relations, 10/15/02.]
Of Ruthless Little Bastards (Cheap Lies and Soothing Falsities)
In one of his last works, The Chronicle of Young Satan, Mark Twain, in what may have been for him a relatively rare moment of serious reflection, this time on the stereotypical inclinations of practitioners of the political arts, astutely observed the following:
"Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities... [and] refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will... convince himself that the war is just, and thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."
There are probably few better exemplars in recent U.S. history of Twain's insight than the folks who concocted the manifesto blueprinting America's hegemonic ambition in the post-9/11 era. Founded in 1997 by arch neoconservatives William Kristol and Robert Kagan, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is a Washington-based foreign-policy think tank. Though little known prior to 9/11, at least outside the Beltway, like many things, that changed on that fateful day. At least it did for those with a keen eye to a deeper perspective on the 9/11 backstory.