During Sunday’s broadcast of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and one of the chief architects and cheerleaders of the Iraq War, was absolutely destroyed over his opinion that the United States needs to deploy thousands of troops to Iraq and re-engage in a combat mission. The Nation’s editor, Katrina vanden Huevel, and Matthew Dowd, a former strategist for President George W. Bush, both took Kristol to task regarding his criticism of President Obama regarding Iraq and his insistence that we need to go back into Iraq and fight another war.
Vanden Huevel got the ball rolling. During a panel discussion, vanden Heuvel pivoted from a discussion regarding House Republicans suing President Obama over his executive orders and directly engaged Kristol on Iraq.
VANDEN HEUVEL: I agree with Matt. You do need a legislative branch which asserts its authority. And it’s not to say one doesn’t have problem with executive authority when it comes to drones, or a questionable kill list of Americans, NSA surveillance.
But the balance is out. The balance is off. For example, the president should go to Congress if he’s going to take military action in Iraq. And that was a part of your interview.
And I think we’re sitting here at a moment, George, where we’re talking about John Boehner. But the central question of war and peace for this country, there is no military solution to Iraq.
And I have to say, sitting next to Bill Kristol, man, I mean, the architects of catastrophe that have cost this country trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, there should be accountability.
We should not — if there are no regrets for the failed assumptions that have so grievously wounded this nation, I don’t know what happened to our politics and media accountability. But we need it, Bill, because this country should not go back to war.
We don’t need armchair warriors. And if you feel so strongly, you should, with all due respect, enlist
BOOM! Knockout blow from vanden Heuvel. Kristol tried to brush it off, though. He dismissed her comment with his trademark smug smirk and attempted to claim that Obama’s pulling troops out of Iraq in 2011 is the sole cause of the escalation of violence in Iraq today.
KRISTOL: That’s a very cute line, Katrina, but people…
VANDEN HEUVEL: No, no. But it’s real…
KRISTOL: A million Iraqis…
VANDEN HEUVEL: … because look at the displaced million…
KRISTOL: Thousands of people are being killed…
KRISTOL: Can I just make a point?
VANDEN HEUVEL: A million Iraqis have been displaced. You gave that…
VANDEN HEUVEL: … humanitarian aid for what we have done to that country is a crime.
KRISTOL: We have done to that country? What we did to that country?
VANDEN HEUVEL: The war…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Katrina, let him respond.
KRISTOL: Yes, let me respond. The president of the United States, President Obama, said at the end of 2011, we have a stable and peaceful Iraq, thanks to the sacrifices mostly of American soldiers and marines, which we did.
President Bush made mistakes. He was punished for those mistakes electorally, as he should have been, in 2006 and perhaps in 2008. He also had the courage to order the surge in 2007 which made up for those mistakes and left things peaceful.
The president — this president pulled out of Iraq in 2011. He let the Syrian civil war explode. And now we have a terrible situation.
At this point, vanden Heuvel, and then Dowd, both called out Kristol for pushing this load of crap. First, vanden Heuvel pointed out that Obama was adhering to the agreement made between President Bush and Iraq in 2008 when he pulled out all of the troops. She also stated that the solution to this situation isn’t going to be reached via endless war, but through diplomacy. Dowd then piggybacked on her statements and suggested that you can’t fix one mistake by repeating that same mistake.
VANDEN HEUVEL: The president signed an agreement in 2008 with the Iraqi government to withdraw. And President Obama tried to negotiate with Maliki, couldn’t get a Status of Forces Agreement that would give immunity to our troops.
The issue now, and we were talking earlier, this country cannot pour more men, women, money into it. It needs diplomacy. It needs tough political resolution, and bringing the region together.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t that what the president is doing?
DOWD: I would like to say, I worked for President Bush in his first election, helped him at the White House, worked on his second election, have a son who served in Iraq, two tours of duty in Iraq.
We all know — most everybody knows that this has been a colossal waste of money and men and women — the blood of men and women of our country, over 5,000 people have been killed, our armed services.
And this is going to end up costing us probably $3 trillion when you add all that into — in the moment of this. We don’t fix a first mistake by continuing to make a second mistake. And if you ask anybody that’s an enlisted person in this, they will tell you that the only way this can be solved is you have to commit troops there for 100 years. Any enlisted person says…
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is not going to happen.
DOWD: That is not going to happen. And what we ought to do — and we’re on the 100th anniversary — we were talking about, we’re on the 100th anniversary of the killing of the archduke that brought us into World War I, where the borders of all of these countries were settled back then by European countries.
We are continuing to reap the problem of that in the Middle East in this situation. And I, for one, don’t think we should send another man or another woman over there in a mistake that was made in the first place.
Thankfully, Kristol wasn’t allowed to peddle his wares without harsh pushback. Obviously, a decade-plus after the first Iraq War, the media, as well as the American people in general, realize it was sold a crappy bill of goods by the Bush Administration and aren’t in any mood to go down that road again. Perhaps it is a good thing that we have guys like Kristol still taking up space on television and pushing forth their awful opinions and ideas. Now that they’ve been proven completely and utterly wrong on Iraq, it is high time they take their public beatings.
H/T Media Matters
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).