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Bill Kristol and the Stink of Fear

Pro-war skunk emits clouds of obfuscation  

by Justin Raimondo

How, in the name of all that’s holy, could a rational human being look at what’s going on in Iraq and hold out any hope of “success” for America’s colonial project? The American and Iraqi casualty rates are soaring, the government of Iraq is collapsing, the Turks are getting ready to invade Kurdistan in reaction to the regional government’s nurturing of Kurdish terrorists on its territory, and the government we are committed to protecting with American troops and treasure is, for all intents and purposes, an extension of the Iranian mullahocracy. The American military occupation coexists with and enables widespread ethno-religious “cleansing” and the imposition of Sharia law in much of the country.

If this is success, then what would failure look like?

In the Bizarro World of the neoconservatives, however, none of this matters: indeed, it merely spurs them on. Since the pursuit of American national interests is unrelated to their foreign policy agenda, the horrific damage to this country and its relations with the world are, for them, quite beside the point. Which is why Bill Kristol’s latest screed claiming that victory is right around the corner is particularly disingenuous.Kristol takes up the case of a recent New York Times/CNN poll of under 1,000 nationwide respondents who were asked, by phone, various questions about the course of the Iraq war. One of those questions – which has been asked continuously by various pollsters for the last few years – is whether, in retrospect, respondents think the Iraq war was “worth it.” Kristol claims that a rise of a few percentage points in the positive replies is proof that “media bias,” and not the facts on the ground, is obscuring the possibility of “victory.”

The Times rechecked the poll results in order to confirm a result that seems, on reflection, “counterintuitive,” as the Times put it. The results stood. Kristol crows that this reveals the media’s “bias” in favor of the antiwar viewpoint – this, about a paper that ran the lies of Ahmed Chalabi and co-conspirator Judy Miller on the front page above the fold, and a “mainstream” news media that abjectly followed in the old grey lady’s wake. In the neocon worldview, however, you’re either a tool or a fool: there’s no in-between.

The neocon methodology is, at least, consistent: they cherry-picked the “evidence” to allege the existence of Iraq’s WMDs and Saddam’s personal responsibility for 9/11, and Kristol employs the same technique when measuring public opinion. On a summer weekend when anyone halfway employed was either away on vacation or otherwise preoccupied, one poll detected slightly less regret among the general population over the decision to go to war. And never mind all those young folks who don’t have land lines: these people don’t count and can be safely disappeared. The War Party has long boasted of its ability to create its own reality, and here we have an instance of such mystic conjuration that not even J. K. Rowling could have conceived it.

Other polls consistently tell quite a different story. A Washington Post/ABC News poll, taken nearly simultaneously, shows 63 percent of the American people think going to war was not worth the price paid, while 36 percent disagree. The regretful majority passed the 60 percent mark in February and has been inching toward 70 percent ever since. Kristol’s protests to the contrary notwithstanding, this is a settled question as far as the American people are concerned: Kristol and his neocon brethren were wrong, their crusade to “liberate” the Middle East has been judged a failure – and the Weekly Standard can sacrifice countless acres of trees to the cause of salvaging Kristol’s reputation, and that of his confreres, for all the good it will do them.


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