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Kristol & Co. Got It Soooo Wrong Back in 2003 That It Isn't Even Funny

03/19/2007 07:47 pm 19:47:45 | Updated May 25, 2011

The following comes from The Weekly Standard, the well known conservative magazine that FOX News contributor William Kristol edits.

Back on April 21, 2003 they published "The Cassandra Files" (in full here) to crow about the wonderful success of their Iraq war. The subhead of the piece was "The stupidity of the antiwar doomsayers."

I looked up the date this ran, and just to refresh your memory, it was a mere nine days before President Bush landed on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1 and gave a speech under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished." In other words, the whole neocon Bush gang was in a very serious and well coordinated "strutting" mode at the time, classically counting their chickens before they'd hatched.

The Standard piece quoted what it saw as the most off-the-wall and egregious anti-war predictions, preceding some with their own pithy sarcasm. My favorite example is this one:

They don't call it "conventional wisdom" for nothing. Mere days before the fall of Baghdad, one of America's newsweeklies, the "hip" one, makes a fatuous blunder for the ages:

"Cheney [down arrow] tells Meet the Press just before war, 'We will be greeted as liberators.' An arrogant blunder for the ages."

--Newsweek, April 7, 2003 edition

You gotta love that. The Weekly Standard is saying - with a straight face - that Newsweek calling Cheney's "greeted as liberators" comment a blunder for the ages was, in fact, itself a blunder for the ages.

Here's some other examples of anti-Iraq commentary the Standard cited as inane in 2003 (again, any snarky asides are their own):

"This invasion of Iraq, if it goes off, will join the Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, Desert One, Beirut, and Somalia in the history of military catastrophe. What will set it apart, distinguishing it for all time, is the immense--and transparent--political stupidity."

--Chris Matthews, San Francisco Chronicle, August 25, 2002

"Iraqis hate the United States government even more than they hate Saddam, and they are even more distrustful of America's intentions than Saddam's. . . . [I]f President Bush thinks our invasion and occupation will go smoothly because Iraqis will welcome us, then [he] is deluding himself."

--New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof, October 4, 2002

But being the soul of magnanimity and restraint, we're not going to do any such thing. Instead, THE SCRAPBOOK is going to run through the streets, laughing hysterically at all the people who were so blinded by hatred of President Bush--or general anti-Americanism, or their own sheer foolishness--that they continued to prophesy doom even after the war had begun and was already being won. People like a certain former U.N. weapons inspector turned Baath party apologist turned peace-movement celebrity:

"The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated....We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable. . . . [W]e will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost."

--Scott Ritter, on a South African radio station, March 25, 2003

It takes all kinds, of course. You've got your late-career journalist gasbag, phoning it in from the dinner-party front lines:

"With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made . . . gross military misjudgments. . . . The very term 'shock and awe' has a swagger to it, no doubt because it was intended to discourage Mr. Hussein and his circle. But it rings hollow now."

--New York Times "news analyst" R.W. Apple Jr., March 30, 2003

You've got your war novelist, phoning it in from his experiences in Vietnam, 30 years ago:

"Visions of cheering throngs welcoming them as liberators have vanished in the wake of a bloody engagement whose full casualties are still unknown. . . . Welcome to hell. Many of us lived it in another era. And don't expect it to get any better for a while."

--James Webb, in the New York Times, March 30, 2003