Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bill Kristol, Wrong Again

This past Sunday, the "Outlook" section of The Washington Post published an absurd piece by neocon godfather Bill Kristol, who declared the odds are good that George W. Bush will end up a successful president. The Post then invited me to rebut Kristol's delusional thesis. And I did. My counter--headlined (by an editor), "Why Bush Is A Loser"--was posted on Tuesday night. Here's a taste:

Who knew Bill Kristol had such a flair for satire?

How else to read his piece for Outlook on Sunday, in which he declared, "George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one"? Surely Kristol, the No. 1 cheerleader for the Iraq war, was mocking himself (and his neoconservative pals) for having been so mistaken about so much. But just in case his article was meant to be a serious stab at commentary, let's review Kristol's record as a prognosticator.

On Sept. 18, 2002, he declared that a war in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East." A day later, he said Saddam Hussein was "past the finish line" in developing nuclear weapons. On Feb. 20, 2003, he said of Saddam: "He's got weapons of mass destruction.... Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world." On March 1, 2003 -- 18 days before the invasion of Iraq -- Kristol dismissed the possibility of sectarian conflict afterward. He also said, "Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president." He maintained that the war would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. (The running tab is now about half a trillion dollars.) On March 5, 2003, Kristol said, "We'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction."

After a performance like this -- and the above is only a partial review; for more details, click here -- Kristol, a likable fellow, ought to have his pundit's license yanked. But he's back again with a sequel: W. will be seen as a wonderful president. His latest efforts should be laughed off op-ed pages. But in the commentariat, he's still taken seriously. So assuming the joke is indeed unintended, I'll examine Kristol's most recent fantasy as if it's real.

Next, I--point by point--dissected Kristol's argument that Bush has done a fine job on Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, foreign policy, terrorism and other matters. Then came the big finish:

It's remarkable what Kristol leaves out of his bizarro-world view of Bush the Great: Hurricane Katrina, the collapse of the Justice Department, global warming, and much else. An American city was practically destroyed on Bush's watch, but that merits no consideration in Kristol's case for Bush. The Justice Department -- run by Bush cronies accused of corruption, incompetence, or both -- is in tatters. (A former department official tells me the administration is having a hard time finding people willing to fill the vacancies at the top.) And though Bush begrudgingly conceded that global warming is underway and human-induced, he has taken no significant steps to redress this pressing problem. If one wants to peer into the future, it could well be that Bush will be judged a failure more for his inaction on global warming than for his action in Iraq. Vetoing stem cell research legislation, commuting Scooter Libby's prison sentence, rewriting clean air rules to benefit industry, pushing tax breaks for oil companies, suppressing the work of scientists, enhancing government secrecy -- Bush has repeatedly placed parochial interests over the public interest.

The Bush-Cheney years have been marked by ineptitude, miscalculation, and scandal. A successful presidency? Bush will be lucky if he gets a public elementary school in his adopted hometown of Crawford, Tex., named after him. He has placed this country in a hole. Yet Kristol, with shovel in hand, points to that hole and says, Trust me -- we're about to strike oil!

If it's true that history repeats first as tragedy and then as farce, Kristol has short-circuited the process and gone straight to parody. His Bush boosterism -- an act of self-justification -- would be amusing were it not for all the damage he has helped Bush to cause.

Think Kristol will keep the debate going with a counter-reply? You can read the full piece here.

Posted by David Corn at July 17, 2007 10:27 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

You always say what a likeable guy he is?

I head that was true of many of the most evil bastards on the planet. Stalin, Hitler, etc. were all likeable guys unless you were on the wrong side of their insanity.



capt said...

Bill Kristol's wretched cry for help

It's too easy -- nay, inhumane -- to give William Kristol of neocon celebrity what he wants and expects: ridicule. Because what he needs is help. The poor man has enjoyed a rest from reality for some time now, but whoever still loves him should seek court-ordered observation. For his sad condition is peaking, with the acute now mercilessly peppering the chronic.

Kristol's latest and most bizarre op-ed yet, Why Bush Will Be a Winner, which the Washington Post rather cruelly circulated yesterday, is bookended by these pitiable hyperventilations: I suppose I'll merely expose myself to harmless ridicule if I make the following assertion: George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one ; and, If Petraeus succeeds in Iraq, and a Republican wins in 2008, Bush will be viewed as a successful president. I like the odds.

Kristol's seemingly simpleminded prognostications are, in fact, but a clinical study in the Napoleonic complex. Bush and Iraq are his yet-executed and alternative Waterloo; his final and stunning victory against all odds, against all reason, all rationality.

But first he must be ridiculed. His coming and decisive victory would be hollow without it; he would have no ridicule to return with mad, head-flung and staccato laughs.

You'll need to read his scribbling for yourself to get a fully informed sense of his textbook denial of reality, but noting just a few highlights here should quickly lay bare his most serious and urgent condition.

The economy? It's humming right along, thank you -- all due to Mr. Bush's bold insight into the saving graces of death-defying tax cuts. His opponents predicted dire consequences, writes Kristol, who joyfully ignores the massive consequences in the making; dire consequences indeed, and widely forecast with a confidence level approaching certainty.

What about terrorism? he asks. Well, there has been less of it, here and abroad, than many experts predicted on Sept. 12, 2001, he answers.

How did he arrive at that overall less part? Be fair, he clarifies: One must exclude Iraq, you see, from the terrorism-accounting, since there's so much terrorism taking place there. And if we start counting terrorist attacks where terrorism reigns ... well, that sort of thing just throws out of kilter our whole happy world of hoax and hallucination.

If we do count terrorist incidents where they largely occur, the year 2006, according to the State Department, saw attacks up by 25 percent worldwide from the preceding year, including a surge [of 65 percent] in Africa. But for God's sake don't confront Bill with those statistics.

Such disabuse could render him violent. Humor him, till the wagon arrives.
Naturally he saved his best disorientation -- Iraq's sunny future -- for last. And what a whopper it is.

Despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless 'benchmark' report last week, he writes, we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome. The surge is working and political progress is beginning to follow. (As does the thought, psychiatric emergency. )

And no matter how bumpy the occupational ride has been -- which Kristol shrewdly concedes as a tip of the aluminum hat to the sober -- had we not gone into Iraq, he says, Saddam Hussein and his connections with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups would be intact or revived and even strengthened. No emphasis is really needed, nonetheless I enhance his explicit derangement for the purpose of precise worrisomeness.

It was that bit of complete disconnect that made me realize Bill Kristol's train has forever left Sanity Depot. He has surpassed the Go of mere spin and entered that strange and self-destructive realm of utter fantasy. He's mad, I tell you -- quite mad.

Ridicule, Mr. Kristol? I think not. Perhaps a large vial of Thorazine.


*****end of clip*****

Another take on the likeable slug.


capt said...

Bill Kristol: On the Train to Delusionville

I know it's a pretty high bar, but Bill Kristol, the founder of the Project for a New American Century that spawned the Iraq war, the man whose editorials often seem to be inserted directly into the president's speeches, and who once boasted that Dick Cheney does send over someone to pick up 30 copies of [The Weekly Standard] every Monday, has now just written the single most deceptive piece of the entire war.

The charitable view is that he's lost his mind. The less charitable view is that he's now officially surpassed Dick Cheney as the most intellectually dishonest member of the neocon establishment (the highest of all high bars). The truth-shattering piece appeared yesterday on the front page of the Washington Post Outlook section. It is entitled Why Bush Will Be A Winner.

I had a preview of this deluded triumphalist drivel a couple of days earlier -- on Thursday afternoon specifically. Even more specifically, I was on the 4:00 pm Amtrak Acela from New York to Washington.

Kristol was sitting a row behind me, talking on his cell phone with someone who apparently shared his optimism. 'Precipitous withdrawal' really worked, I overheard him say, clearly referring to the president's use of the term in that morning's press conference. How many times did he use it? Three? Four? he asked his interlocutor, and the conversation continued with a round of metaphorical back-slapping for the clever phrase they had come up with.


*****end of clip*****

A little from AH post.


uncledad said...

Howdy Capt,

Question, why when I post a "html" link it don't work? It links to "(what-ever)google.blog" just wondering?

What do you think about our senate "all nighter" pretty cool I think.

Gerald said...

David Corn finally says something. Since David Corn works in D.C., he may want to get along with some of the Nazis. This time he was willing to inform us on a particular Nazi, Bill Kristol. David Corn gave us a good blog.

Gerald said...

Do you think?

Gerald said...

Peace on Earth

Gerald said...

Of Good and Evil

Gerald said...

Ask yourself then: - Those who, from the safety of armoured cars, shout insults at children to provoke them to throw stones, in order then to use said children for target practice. - What does their activity say about their intentions and about them as people?

Gerald said...

The evil is caused by W

Gerald said...

Why is W blathering on about al-Qaeda in Iraq when this informant who obviously doesn't think of himself as a terrorist, but a freedom fighter, states "Any person in the position of the American president, who has drawn himself a certain path, would be very embarrassed to change that track and confess that he has been wrong. Unless he loves his people more than he loves himself. Only then could he confess his wrongdoing for the sake of his people."

W's hubris is why he keeps on conflating the villains who perpetrated the 9-11 atrocity against us and this al-Qaeda in Iraq and why he insists that al-Qaeda in Iraq is our greatest enemy in Iraq, even though everyone knows, including the nameless US official as well as the Iraqi freedom fighter or insurgent, whatever you wish to label him, says W's lack of compassion for innocent Iraqis and our US troops as the cause of these atrocities.

Gerald said...

The reason for Hitler in committing atrocities centers around his insanity. Hitler is a true psycho!!!

capt said...

New Thread