Monday, June 30, 2008

What Emerges as the Crank Turns

Andrew Sullivan must have swallowed a bottle or two of strong antiemetics to get through the experience of re-reading a book by Bill Kristol written shortly before the US invasion of Iraq:

So let's be very, very clear: Kristol - not Rumsfeld or Franks or anyone else who bungled the execution - favored and supported a tiny post-war occupation force, less than half what was required even five years after invasion to prevent a metastasizing civil war. The civil war raged with enough ferocity to kill and maim and traumatize millions of Iraqis and thousands of Americans. Kristol sold the war on what turned out to be the preposterous sum of $16 billion a year. The figure has ended up at around $12 billion a month. So Kristol was off in his troops levels by a factor of two at the start of the occupation and by up to 20 today and he was off in his cost levels by a factor of ten. He also predicted "several thousand" troops by 2005, compared with 150,000 today.
In other words, as he propagandized for the invasion, Bill Kristol got things -- big things, small things, damnnear everything to which he dared to attach a definite claim -- spectacularly wrong.

Sullivan goes on to note that Kristol continues to cheer for the Iraq war without pause and without shame, and has been punished for his spectacular failures of judgment by landing a weekly column in the New York Times in addition to his continuing appearances on FoxNews.

The system works. This is the shape of accountability and public discourse in American politics.

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