William Kristol or just plain ol Bill as I like to call him, for those that don’t know is like his messiah George W. Bush another man-child Conservative of a famous Conservative. He is currently very busy as a prince (a duller Nicolo Machiavelli as it were) of pundits at Fox, the New York Times and his own little Pravda-like organ called The Weekly Standard. The WS is where you’ll find other oxygen starved brain trusts such as Fred Barnes, John Podhoretz, Dean Barnett and Michael Goldfarb. The Lost Bill Kristol Tapes
You loved it when Bill said invading Iraq was going to have “terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East”? You have the original recording of him explaining the war would make us “respected around the world” and his classic statement that there’s “almost no evidence” of Iraq experiencing Sunni-Shia conflict? Well, I’ve got something that will blow your mind!
I’m talking about Kristol’s two-hour appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal on March 28, 2003, just nine days after the President launched his invasion of Iraq. No one remembers it today. You can’t even fish it out of LexisNexis. It’s not there. Yet it’s a masterpiece, a double album of smarm, horrifying ignorance, and bald-faced deceit. While you’ve heard him play those instruments before, he never again reached such heights. It’s a performance for the history books — particularly that chapter about how the American Empire collapsed.
To start with, Ellsberg made the reasonable point that Iraqis might not view the invading Americans as “liberators,” since the U.S. had been instrumental in Saddam Hussein’s rise to power: Here’s how he put it:
“ELLSBERG: People in Iraq… perceive Hussein as a dictator… But as a dictator the Americans chose for them.
“KRISTOL: That’s just not true. We’ve had mistakes in our Iraq policy. It’s just ludicrous — we didn’t choose Hussein. We didn’t put him in power.
“ELLSBERG: In 1963, when there was a brief uprising of the Ba’ath, we supplied specifically Saddam with lists, as we did in Indonesia, lists of people to be eliminated. And since he’s a murderous thug, but at that time our murderous thug, he eliminated them…
“KRISTOL: [surprised] Is that right?…
“ELLSBERG: The same thing went on in ‘68. He was our thug, just as [Panamanian dictator Manuel] Noriega, and lots of other people who were on the leash until they got off the leash and then we eliminated them. Like [Vietnamese president] Ngo Dinh Diem.”
Ellsberg here is referring to U.S. support for a 1963 coup involving the Ba’athist party, for which Saddam was already a prominent enforcer — and then another coup in 1968 when the Ba’athists consolidated control, after which Saddam became the power behind the nominal president. According to one of the 1963 plotters, “We came to power on a CIA train.” (Beyond providing lists of communists and leftists to be murdered, the U.S. also gave the new regime napalm to help them put down a Kurdish uprising we’d previously encouraged.) James Crichtfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East, said, “We really had the t’s crossed on what was happening” This turned out not to be quite right, since factional infighting among top Iraqis required the second plot five years later for which, explained key participant Abd al-Razzaq al-Nayyif, “you must [also] look to Washington.”
Bill is one of the leading lights of the Conservative movement. He makes a living dispensing the pure unadulterated uninformed idiocy, infantile attitudes and peevish facial expressions that passes for high minded Conservative intelligentsia wrapped up in cartoonish and alarming imitations of patriotism. He doesn’t have a clue and he makes sure his followers don’t either.
This all is not to say that Cons are not capable of perverse cleverness, a kind of warped intelligence. One Brian Faughnan posting on the WS blog sites a report from The Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Cordesman on Iraq: “Major Progress in Every Area”,Posted by Brian Faughnan at 11:47 AM, Iraq
No one can spend some 10 days visiting the battlefields in Iraq without seeing major progress in every area. A combination of the surge, improved win and hold tactics, the tribal uprising in Anbar and other provinces, the Sadr ceasefire, and major advances in the use of IS&R have transformed the battle against Al Qaida in Iraq. If the US provides sustained support to the Iraqi government — in security, governance, and development — there is now a very real chance that Iraq will emerge as a secure and stable state…
The author Anthony H. Cordesman doesn’t appear to be a complete hack he previously wrote up a piece describing Iraq in June of 2006 entitled, The Quarterly Report on Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq: “Fact, Fallacy, and an Overall Grade of “F”, but he has done work for in Iraq for a hundred years John McCain (R-AZ). The cleverness comes in two parts. Faughnan links to this post from TPM – Iraq Travel Companion Of O’Hanlon, Pollack Reveals: I’m Much More Pessimistic About Iraq and asks if the same blogger will report the “good” news. As always, when Conservatives are not babbling nonsense like the Bill Kristol they just let out little snips of information they would seem to prove a point and cross their fingers that you don’t click over and read the whole report,
Serious threats can still bring defeat or paralysis over the coming years, although this seems significantly less likely than during the fall of 2007:
* A central government failure to move funds to key provinces, improve services, fund development, and employ young men.
* A central government failure to reach out to the Sunni and Shi’ite Sons of Iraq and incorporate many into the Iraq security services.
* Potential Arab-Kurdish-minority divisions over Kurdish autonomy in the north, and creating some form of Kurdish federal zone.
* The risk of Shi’ite divisions and infighting in the south, particularly between the Hakim and Sadr factions, and Sunni-Shi’ite tensions over some form of Shi’ite federalism.
* Continued Iranian support of militias and divisions and growing Iranian influence in Basra and the south.
* The need for local legitimacy through provincial and local elections in 2008, and open lists and local representation in the COR election in 2009.
* Moving towards full development and sustained employment, and for a fair sharing of petroleum wealth a resources.
It may well be possible to help Iraq deal with all of these challenges and the others in the attached briefing, but this will require a US commitment at least through the term of the next President, far better long term planning of our aid efforts and funding, great care in further force reductions beyond 15 brigades, and much more careful attention to dealing with the above challenges rather than simply providing unfocused aid. It also will take significant aid funding in spite of Iraq’s apparent “oil wealth.”
One doesn’t have to be a brilliant Conservative intellectual to have enough in the way of reading comprehension skills to see that the rosy picture Faughnan and the WS are trying to paint. I see several caveats, dire warnings if you will that things are delicate rather then sweeter then Gran Ma’s pecan pie. That Cordesman clearly states Iraq could roll back to being more unstable then it is currently if U.S. forces are reduced. If U.S. troops are an absolute requirement for stability then, guess what, you’re still in the middle of sectarian warfare where the various factions are just taking a break. There is little difference between the Ritzy heights of big Conservative thinkers like Kristol and hate mongers like Ann Coulter and AM radio bulls*it artists like Limbaugh except for little clever deceptions like Faughnan’s.