George Will has sent to his client list a most amazing article — appearing in tomorrow’s Washington Post — that is a full-throttle attack on The Weekly Standard.
Will blasts The Weekly Standard five times in his short, 770-word piece.
He starts with a powerful critique and rebuke of Condi Rice’s interview with George Stephanopoulos on This Week that aired yesterday morning. He wraps up with a lashing of William Kristol and his cohorts rivalling the intensity of Israel’s latest air raids over Beirut.
TWN published this morning about the strong assaults by Juan Williams and George Will on Kristol and The Weekly Standard, but I did not know at that time that the conservative scribe would be launching such a serious second strike today.
Just so all of those who think that they sent me this article exclusively, four different people sent it to me. I will not run the entire article but will provide some of the zinger parts. As soon as the link is up on the Washington Post‘s site, I will provide that link. (Here is the link to “Transformation’s Toll” by George Will.)
George Will swats Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice first:
“Grotesque” was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s characterization of the charge that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was responsible for the current Middle East conflagration. She is correct, up to a point. This point: Hezbollah and Hamas were alive and toxic long before March 2003. Still, it is not perverse to wonder whether the spectacle of America, currently learning a lesson — one that conservatives should not have to learn on the job — about the limits of power to subdue an unruly world, has emboldened many enemies.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Rice called it “short-sighted” to judge the success of the administration’s transformational ambitions by a “snapshot” of progress “some couple of years” into the transformation. She seems to consider today’s turmoil preferable to the Middle East’s “false stability” of the last 60 years, during which U.S. policy “turned a blind eye to the absence of democratic forces.”
There is, however, a sense in which that argument creates a blind eye: It makes instability, no matter how pandemic or lethal, necessarily a sign of progress. Violence is vindication: Hamas and Hezbollah have, Rice says, “determined that it is time now to try and arrest the move toward moderate democratic forces in the Middle East.”
You will have to see the Washington Post for Will’s powerful prose about an ill-thought out democratic plan serving as the vehicle that has delivered and empowered extremism in the current Middle East make-up, but then in the next section of his startling essay, George Will unleashes full fury on the neoconservative agenda and The Weekly Standard:
The administration, justly criticized for its Iraq premises and their execution, is suddenly receiving some criticism so untethered from reality as to defy caricature. The national, ethnic and religious dynamics of the Middle East are opaque to most people, but to The Weekly Standard — voice of a spectacularly misnamed radicalism, “neoconservativism” — everything is crystal clear: Iran is the key to everything.
“No Islamic Republic of Iran, no Hezbollah. No Islamic Republic of Iran, no one to prop up the Assad regime in Syria. No Iranian support for Syria. . .” You get the drift.
So, The Weekly Standard says. . .
“We might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions — and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.”
“Why wait?” Perhaps because the U.S. military has enough on its plate, in the deteriorating wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which both border Iran. And perhaps because containment, although of uncertain success, did work against Stalin and his successors, and might be preferable to a war against a nation much larger and more formidable than Iraq. And if Assad’s regime does not fall after The Weekly Standard‘s hoped-for third war, with Iran, does the magazine hope for a fourth?
As for the “healthy” repercussions that The Weekly Standard is so eager to experience from yet another war: One envies that publication’s powers of prophecy, but wishes it had exercised them on the nation’s behalf before all of the surprises — all of them unpleasant — that Iraq has inflicted. And regarding the “appeasement” that The Weekly Standard decries: Does the magazine really wish the administration had heeded its earlier (Dec. 20, 2004) editorial advocating war with yet another nation — the bombing of Syria?
George Will gets the “Conservatives with a Conscience Award” today from The Washington Note.
His five-whack, scathing assault on Kristol and The Weekly Standard rises from a frustration and raw honesty rarely seen (but increasingly moreso) among those who count themselves friends of conservative presidents like G.W. Bush.
At least this time around — no matter what happens further in our encounter with Iran and the nations in Israel’s neighborhood — U.S. policy will be debated and fought over.
No more steam-rolling and no more “trust us” duplicity from the White House.
Applause to George Will for this brave and important piece.
— Steve Clemons