I was with Bill Kristol and much of the rest of the world on the legitimacy and crucial need to invade Afghanistan and to crush al Qaeda.
But at the time, the Kristols and Cheneys and Podhoretzes of the world felt that Osama bin Laden was too ephemeral a villain for the American public to remain exercised about for very long. So, the legitimate mission was broadened into an illegitimate one — the toppling of a classic thug, Saddam Hussein, because of non-existent WMDs and historical chips on the shoulder left over from the first Gulf War.
The US invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a disaster for Iraq and America and has the region on the precipice of a potential sectarian convulsion that could undermine the interests of all players.
But as Juan Williams told Bill Kristol last year:
. . .you just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war.
You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran.
Yes, Kristol wants to bomb Iran. He wouldn’t mind taking out Syria in the process. But like John Bolton, Bill Kristol seems ready and willing to propose any number of new wars.
Now, he wants America to attack Burma. This creates a false dichotomy that should be speared to death.
Kristol writes in yesterday’s Washington Post:
What about limited military actions, overt or covert, against the regime’s infrastructure — its military headquarters, its intelligence apparatus, its rulers’ lavish palaces? Couldn’t such actions have a deterrent effect, or might not they help open up fissures in the regime? Have we really done all we can to avert the disaster that is unfolding?
What Kristol is trying to do is set up a foil where those willing to invade and conquer with no regard for consequences and in the name of freedom are life’s true heroes — and those who suggest that there are better pathways to achieving American interests and the expansion of self-determination abroad are immoral and violate the ethics of what America is about.
While I think that all of these challenges are more nuanced and should not be stuck in silly, binary structures — the general opposite of what Kristol suggests is true.
Besides, isn’t it time for Bill Kristol and friends to step back and ask themselves how they could have been so wrong on Iraq and that its time for some serious re-tooling of both tactics and strategic objectives?
I’m with James Fallows on this who writes:
. . .If I had been vociferously, prominently, moralistically, and disastrously wrong on the major foreign-policy issue of the time — that is, if I had been all-out in favor of invading Iraq and had been withering in my dismissal of those not man enough to support that step or who said “what’s the rush?” — then I might, conceivably, be a little hesitant before striking similar cocksure poses about new issues as they came up.
But apparently this is just me. Because there is an emerging overlap between those who were 100% sure about the need to invade Iraq, and the certain success of that endeavor, and those who are 100% sure about the need to teach China a lesson about its coddling of the Burmese junta, and the moral righteousness of getting tough with the Chinese.
Warmonger is taking on a new meaning in this new 21st century of ours.
— Steve Clemons