The Times has been whining a lot lately about the amount of invective directed at it for making such a heinous decision, declaring critics want to stifle speech.
Mr. Kristol can stand on any streetcorner on a soapbox and bark at the rain all he wants. It appears to me however, that the critics of this decision place a higher value on the product The New York Times produces than those who produce it.
One would hope the paper of record would not have a philosophy of hiring op-ed columnists on the basis of being wrong about their opinions. The Times should aspire to be a collection of the most astute and reasoned journalists and pundits our country has to offer. They have chosen to dip their quill into the cesspool of vile partisan hacks for the sake of controversy over integrity.
Mr. Kristol's has been an unflinching proponent of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and published a recent op-ed in the NYT about the troop surge, kicking sand in the face of Democratic Presidential candidates:
When President Bush announced the surge of troops in support of a new counterinsurgency strategy a year ago, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democratic Congressional leaders predicted failure. Obama, for example, told Larry King that he didn’t believe additional U.S. troops would “make a significant dent in the sectarian violence that’s taking place there.” Then in April, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, asserted that “this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything.” In September, Clinton told Gen. David Petraeus that his claims of progress in Iraq required a “willing suspension of disbelief.”
The Democrats were wrong in their assessments of the surge. Attacks per week on American troops are now down about 60 percent from June. Civilian deaths are down approximately 75 percent from a year ago. December 2007 saw the second-lowest number of U.S. troops killed in action since March 2003. And according to Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of day-to-day military operations in Iraq, last month’s overall number of deaths, which includes Iraqi security forces and civilian casualties as well as U.S. and coalition losses, may well have been the lowest since the war began.
Do Obama and Clinton and Reid now acknowledge that they were wrong? Are they willing to say the surge worked?
Compared to what? The previous four years? How many lives and Billions of dollars and gallons of blood is required to sate the neocon learning curve?
Mr. Kristol tries to make another point:
But Sunni tribes in Anbar announced in September 2006 that they would join to fight Al Qaeda. That was two months before the Democrats won control of Congress. The Sunni tribes turned not primarily because of fear of the Shiites, but because of their horror at Al Qaeda’s atrocities in Anbar.
Well...a little money helps:
AMERICAN forces are paying Sunni insurgents hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to switch sides and help them to defeat Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The tactic has boosted the efforts of American forces to restore some order to war-torn provinces around Baghdad in the run-up to a report by General David Petraeus, the US commander, to Congress tomorrow....
Seems he left out the part about undermining the duly and Democratically elected Iraqi government by funding it's chief opponents. Sunni's, like Saudi's, are the people of Bin Laden and the terrorists that attacked America. How proud Mr. Kristol must be that they are firmly attached to the tit of the American taxpayer.
We are not surprised at Mr. Kristol's scribblings, just disappointed the NYT chooses to publish them. He is not only wrong most of the time, but wrong with disastrous consequences. For example, on the first anniversary of 9/11, when the invade Iraq sales pitch was going full tilt, Billy chimed in, conflating Iraq with 9/11 saying, "we cannot afford to let Saddam Hussein inflict a worse 9/11 on us in the future."
It goes on:
On September 15, 2002, he claimed that inspection and containment could not work with Saddam: "No one believes the inspections can work." Actually, UN inspectors believed they could work. So, too, did about half of congressional Democrats. They were right.
On September 18, 2002, Kristol opined that a war in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East."
On September 19, 2002, he once again pooh-poohed inspections: "We should not fool ourselves by believing that inspections could make any difference at all." During a debate with me on Fox News Channel, after I noted that the goal of inspections was to prevent Saddam from reaching "the finish line" in developing nuclear weapons, Kristol exclaimed, "He's past that finish line. He's past the finish line."
On November 21, 2002, he maintained, "we can remove Saddam because that could start a chain reaction in the Arab world that would be very healthy."
On February 2, 2003, he claimed that Secretary of State Colin Powell at an upcoming UN speech would "show that there are loaded guns throughout Iraq" regarding weapons of mass destruction. As it turned out, everything in Powell's speech was wrong. Kristol was uncritically echoing misleading information handed him by friends and allies within the Bush administration.
On February 20, 2003, he summed up the argument for war against Saddam: "He's got weapons of mass destruction. At some point he will use them or give them to a terrorist group to use...Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world....France and Germany don't have the courage to face up to the situation. That's too bad. Most of Europe is with us. And I think we will be respected around the world for helping the people of Iraq to be liberated."
On March 1, 2003, Kristol dismissed concerns that sectarian conflict might arise following a US invasion of Iraq: "We talk here about Shiites and Sunnis as if they've never lived together. Most Arab countries have Shiites and Sunnis, and a lot of them live perfectly well together." He also said, "Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president." And he maintained that the war would be a bargain at $100 to $200 billion. The running tab is now nearing half a trillion dollars.
On March 5, 2003, Kristol said, "I think we'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction and when we liberate the people of Iraq."
We are not amused by Mr. Kristol stamping his feet demanding someone else admit being wrong when he was a chief cheerleader for death and destruction that was never right. Indeed, few people in modern history have been more wrong about more things of more importance than William Kristol.