Monday, January 5, 2009

Kristol Monday: So Close

Reading Bill Kristol's column today, I thought to myself, "Wow, I'm not going to have anything to write about because a) I do not know enough about the Israel-Hamas conflict to say he is wrong and b) he is actually making sense!" But then came his last two paragraphs and suddenly I realized why I'm not a fan of Kristol's writing. While in one breath saying that the United States has succeeded in Iraq - an impossible statement when the stated goals were few and far between and no one in the Bush Administration (or anyone, for that matter) has bothered to define what "victory" or "success" in Iraq would look like - he then begins to beat the war drum for military action against Iran. Damnit, Kristol, do you not learn from your mistakes?

I am going to keep this post brief because the past few ditties I've written have been about Kristol and it is the same thing over and over: either taking potshots at the left while making backhanded compliments to make it look like Kristol is open-minded or being utterly and completely wrong about Iraq while hoping for war with Iran. We all know Bill Kristol's assertions about what war with Iraq would look like: Kristol said that the war would only need 75,000 troops in the immediate aftermath of the invasion, that it would only cost $16 billion a year, and that after a year or two we would only need a few thousand troops in the country. On August 7, 2007 - more than four years after the initial invasion of Iraq - there were 162,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That is more than twice the number Kristol used for the immediate aftermath and 54 times what he predicted would be needed a few years after the invasion. The cost of the war in Iraq so far has been more than $585 billion. Divide that by the five years we've been there, and that's more than $117 billion per year ($9.75 billion per month), which is, needless to say, incredibly higher than Bill Kristol's estimate of $16 billion a year.

So success in Iraq, being undefined, is impossible to gauge. If we define success as meeting one's goals or predictions for something, then, at least in terms of Bill Kristol, Iraq has been anything but successful. More U.S. troops have died in Iraq (4,221) than Kristol predicted would be needed in the years after the invasion. If there is anyone in this country who should not be talking about going to war, it is Bill Kristol. Would you take car manufacturing advice from Bob Lutz? Then why would you take war-waging advice from Bill Kristol? Peace.

Photo - Bill Kristol (New York Times)

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