During a panel discussion on Tuesday’s Morning Joe, neocon torchbearer and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol attempted to make the case that the United States needs to send thousands of troops into Iraq for an indefinite period of time without any clear mission. Essentially, he said that we need to go in and protect the Sunnis, despite the fact that ISIS is a Sunni organization, because Shia factions are now looking to take action against the Sunni population in the country. At the same time, the US needs to take action against ISIS and help re-establish a a stable government in Iraq. Basically, Kristol wants a bunch of US troops to go into Iraq to get into the middle of a civil war with no clear enemy of directive. In other words, create a bigger mess than it it already is, and leave American blood on Iraqi soil.
Kristol’s appearance was on the heels of an article he co-wrote with the American Enterprise Institute’s Fred Kagan on Monday titled ‘What To Do In Iraq.’ In that article, Kristol called for pretty much the same tactics and actions that he advocated for in 2002 in the run-up to the War in Iraq. Back then, Kristol wrote an almost identical piece to this current one with Kagan’s brother, titled ‘What To Do About Iraq.’ Now, 12 years later, Kristol is trying to convince Washington and the American public that we somehow need to listen to him, even though he was monumentally wrong about the aftermath of an invasion in Iraq. However, if we just follow the same advice as back then, it will all turn out really, really well this time.
On Morning Joe, nobody was really having it. While Kristol did find a somewhat friendly voice in the New York Times‘ Nicholas Kristof, and Joe Scarborough said that he feels that some type of action needs to be done, though he isn’t sure what that is, Kristol was taken apart by the tag team of Eugene Robinson and John Heilemann. Robinson started off by showing the contradicting nature of Kristol’s assessment on the situation in Iraq and what the United States should do. Basically, Robinson pointed out that Kristol’s plan was for US troops to stand in the middle and try to separate different factions from warring with each other while taking fire from all sides. Kristol, amazingly, agreed with this take.
Kristol then went on for a couple of minutes about the necessity to send in troops, which even led to an exclamation from Scarborough, who felt that Kristol was talking about 50,000 to 100,000 US troops. Finally, it came to a head when Heilemann stated that Kristol’s plan was “fantastical” and “absurd.” As Heilemann pointed out, there is absolutely no appetite among the American public to jump into another war, especially in a region that proved itself to be a quagmire in the first place. There is no way the President can sell that to the American public. Of course, Kristol thinks Obama, since he isn’t running for re-election and shouldn’t care about approval ratings or public sentiment, should use his “bully pulpit” to do the neocons’ bidding and commit the United States, and tens of thousands of troops, to a war with an undefined mission with no goal in sight.
Below is video of the exchange, courtesy of MSNBC:
Heilemann, for the most part, is a a Beltway equivocator who tends to lean on the ‘both sides do it’ mentality of the mainstream media. He is as milquetoast as it comes. The fact that he was fired up enough to shoot Kristol’s delusions about the need for more war and deaths of US troops in the name of American imperialism shows just how toxic the idea of war has become with the American public. Hopefully, this will also be the start of a pattern where neocon hawks like Kristol, John McCain, PAul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, Dick Cheney and Lindsey Graham will not be listened to or have their opinions on matters like this taken seriously.
I feel that if you’ve been thoroughly discredited over and over again, as Kristol has re: Iraq, Afghanistan and the whole ‘War on Terror,’ then you aren’t allowed to talk about those issues anymore. And, if you decide to speak up on any of them, you deserve to be ruthlessly mocked and ridiculed.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).