Wednesday, July 18, 2007

That's enough, Gil, don't drag her down with you

I've decided to leave Lawrence and head to Washington DC to ply my trade as a newspaper columnist. What would make me decide to do that, you ask? Well, I figure if Bill Kristol can write crap like this and get it published in the Washington Post I figure that surely I've got a shot.

Of course, it's not that simple. Because Bill is one of those that is already entrenched in the punditry class where we're supposed to take everything they say very seriously and pretend they have some deep insight that the rest of us could only hope to possess but clearly lack the intelligence and ability to attend DC cocktail parties where they can stand around and discuss how smart they all are and what the latest media narrative will be.

First, some background. Kristol is the son of Irving Kristol, considered to be a founder of the neoconservative movement. William Kristol followed in his father's footsteps and founded the Project for the New American Century, the think-tank that came up with the ideas and plans to invade Iraq and Iran, etc. He's been a cheerleader of this debacle from the very beginning and he sure isn't going to stop now.

The title of his column was "Why Bush Will be a Winner." Bush is a winner like Gil Gunderson is a winner, in that he's not at all. In it Kristol starts by saying:
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.

Let's step back from the unnecessary mistakes and the self-inflicted wounds that have characterized the Bush administration. Let's look at the broad forest rather than the often unlovely trees. What do we see? First, no second terrorist attack on U.S. soil -- not something we could have taken for granted. Second, a strong economy -- also something that wasn't inevitable.

And third, and most important, a war in Iraq that has been very difficult, but where -- despite some confusion engendered by an almost meaningless "benchmark" report last week -- we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome.

This is what I really hate about assholes like him (and I'd like to make it clear that there aren't many assholes about whom I can find more to hate than this one). They come up with these bullshit ideas and bullshit justifications for them and then when they go to shit they either say, "oops, guess I was wrong" or say, well, here comes some "harmless ridicule" because I still won't admit when the world can see what a dipshit I am.

Well, you get your "harmless ridicule" while 3500+ soldiers and countless hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lose their lives. You go on the Daily Show and sheepishly laugh when Jon Stewart rips into you and it costs our country over half a trillion dollars that could be spent on any number of things like health care for the millions that don't have it in this country while assholes like you claim it would be just too darn expensive for the rest us to actually bother to give a shit.

What exactly do you see there that leads you to believe we're on course for a "successful outcome"? Are you fucking kidding me? He goes on to point out that there's a lawless area in western Pakistan where a resurgent al Qaeda may be stronger than pre-9/11 but says, "I assume Bush will deal with them, using some combination of air strikes and special operations." Really? Because he hasn't exactly done much in that area since, well, he decided that capturing bin Laden, the man actually responsible for those terrorist attacks, "not a top priority."

In order to answer his critics that say "hey Bill, Iraq is really fucked right now" he says this:
First of all, we would have to compare the situation in Iraq now, with all its difficulties and all the administration's mistakes, with what it would be if we hadn't gone in. Saddam Hussein would be alive and in power and, I dare say, victorious, with the United States (and the United Nations) by now having backed off sanctions and the no-fly zone. He might well have restarted his nuclear program, and his connections with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups would be intact or revived and even strengthened.

Umm, what? Saddam didn't have a nuclear program! He didn't have connections with al Qaeda! Those terrorist groups are still intact and strengthened! What the fuck are you talking about??? That's the whole guys were wrong about EVERYTHING! You saw a few bees and decided to knock down the nest without any idea of how to deal with all of the rest of the bees you just pissed off.

I can't even quote the rest of it so you'll have to read it yourself. It's more of his ridiculous predictions claiming that Bush will win the war before 2008 and a Republican will be elected when people realize they don't want to be led by Democrats, etc. I'd be worried but as fellow Washington Post columnist David Corn points out in his response piece, "Why Bush is a Loser" (much better title, no?), Kristol's pretty much been wrong on everything.
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."

For more of Bill Kristol's greatest hits go here. This doesn't include when he claimed that Barack Obama would have been against Lincoln freeing the slaves on Fox News or pushing for exanding the war to include North Korea. Seriously, magazines and newspapers still want this guy to write for them and Fox News and CNN still fall over this guy to have him on? He should be a joke. We should pull down his pants and laugh at him as he walks down the street if it all weren't so damn tragic that those in power actually listened to him.

Anyway, Corn rips him apart point by point. Iraq, Afghanistan, Terrorism, Foreign Policy, the Economy, the Supreme Court (all things that Kristol claimed were rousing successes) and also points out a few things that Kristol seems to have left out. Hurricane Katrina, the collapse at the Justice Department, and global warming. It's a beautiful thing and no amount of quoting can do it justice but here is his closing:
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.

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Blogger Shawn said...

"He's got weapons of mass destruction.... Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world."

I hate it so much when talking heads on political forums start any sentence with "Look-..."
it is such a demeaning way to start your statement.

In essence, it's telling the viewer that "I have tried to explain this point to you already, but you are just too stupid to understand the more subtle details, so I will lay it out for you in a 15-seconds-or-less overgeneralization that reduces a very complex issue to a black-and-white talking point that you can spit out to your buddies at the bar later in order to perpetuate the stifling ignorance that infects this country."

I would be interested to hear how many times a political "expert" on Fox News starts a sentence with "Look-" in a single day.

I guess the bigger question is: Is this tactic a SYMPTOM of the gross ignorance of the American culture, or a CAUSE?

9:40 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Those are excellent points. These pundits are so used to determining how the news should be analyzed that it drives them nuts that there are so many other voices out there that will call them on their BS.

Then there's the chicken and the egg argument about whether these people are drawn to Fox News or whether they are made...

5:13 PM  

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