Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Neo-Cons See Obama Scare Tactics Not Working, Turn to Begging

I don't know how many people read Bill Kristol's recent column in the New York Times on July 28 entitled "Be Afraid. Please." I did, and I was scared. My fear was not directed toward Obama or the Democrats or anything like that. My fear emanated from the two main facts I found in the article: 1) Kristol is a foreign policy adviser to McCain's campaign and this was not mentioned anywhere in the online version of the column, and 2) Kristol has been consistently wrong for the past decade or so and he is still given a prestigious soapbox such as a New York Times column.

In terms of the first point, that the column does not mention Kristol's affiliation with the McCain campaign. This is troublesome because some readers may take Kristol's words as that of a spectator of the 2008 presidential election; a relatively objective observer in that only his personal beliefs seep into his columns and not his desire to gain a spot in Washington should a certain candidate win. Kristol's overwhelming bias towards McCain and his anti-Obama-ness seemed a bit much, so I looked him up and found out that he is on McCain's campaign team. Knowing that by reading it in the column (either before or after the column's text as a small disclaimer would have been more than enough) would have put the column in perspective.

Secondly, the fact that the Times gave him a column is pretty unbelievable. Kristol has proven himself to be one of the more inept of the neo-cons in today's political scene (and that is saying a lot). Kristol has been known to spout such wisdom as the fact that Iraqi Shia and Sunni Muslims do not get along too well as incorrect "pop sociology." It is also reported that in his book, Kristol said that the Iraq War would only need 75,000 troops in the immediate aftermath of the invasion and tha it would cost only $16 billion a year. The number of troops, according to Kristol, would go down to a few thousand after a year or two. One of the latest counts in a July 16, 2008 USA Today article places the total at 150,000 troops. So five years after the invasion, there are 50 times the amount of troops Kristol predicted would be needed after only 1-2 years (assuming that a "few" thousand means three thousand), and more soldiers have died in Iraq than Kristol predicted would be needed to police the entire country after the war. On top of all of this, Kristol's prediction for the annual cost of post-invasion Iraq ($16 billion) is only slightly larger than what we are actually spending per month ($12 billion). Instead of realizing that this guy has no idea what he's talking about, the Times gave him a column.

In his July 28 column, Kristol says that McCain stands up for winning America's wars, as opposed to Obama whose troop withdrawal Kristol sees as a loss. Personally, I would ask the over 4,000 families of the soldiers killed in Iraq how victorious the Bush Administration and the neo-cons (including Kristol) have been thus far. Their arrogant lack of respect for opposing opinions (or fact, for that matter) leading up to the invasion (opinions that turned out to be correct) forced this country and its brave, all-volunteer armed forces into a war that has unjustly claimed the lives of thousands of Americans and even more Iraqis. That, Mr. Kristol, is not what I call a victory.

Kristol also pulls out the age-old fear tactic in classic Republican-Democrat campaigns: taxes. He implies that if elected president, Obama would take more of people's hard-earned money. As opposed to the lenders and banks with their predatory loans and sketchy debt packages sold to investors (all while Washington looked the other way) or the oil companies who have made record profits as gas prices shoot up due to instability in the Middle East (where did that come from?) and Wall Street speculators. But all of a sudden it's Obama who is the boogeyman and will take your money away.

So on the one hand, one almost feels bad for Kristol. He is literally begging (he should have gone with a "pretty please with sugar on top" for his column title) people to be afraid of Obama. He wants another four years of neo-conservatism in Washington (otherwise, people may see his predictions and musings for what they are: wrong). McCain may complain that the Times wouldn't publish his editorial, but why complain when you have a mouthpiece like Bill Kristol writing every week in one of the more respected dailies in the country, if not the world? The only thing people should be afraid of is more Bill Kristol predictions. Peace.

Photos - Bill Kristol (www.nytimes.com), Empty boots representing American fatalities in Iraq as part of an Iraq War exhibit (minnesota.publicradio.org), Kristol's boss (www.britannica.com)


  1. great piece, man. keep up the good work.

  2. You better have given this as feedback to the Times. And if not, do it now.