THE BLOG
01/08/2008 05:42 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

William Kristol: Intellectually Dishonest

In his shakedown editorial for The New York Times, right-wing uber-pundit William Kristol wasted no time in shooting his load all over the Democrats. "We don't want to increase the scope of the nanny state," he roared. The "nanny state" to which Kristol alludes makes sure our kids' toys aren't tainted with lead; our pet food isn't poisoned; our mines and factories are safe workplaces; predatory sub-prime lenders are stopped; our food and drugs won't kill us, etc. Only right-wingers like Kristol get a free pass to throw around undefined catchphrases like "nanny state" as if the term's meaning is self-evident.

Kristol goes on: "We don't want to undo the good done by the appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court." The "good done?" Like consistently ruling in favor of huge corporations when they pollute the environment and screw their workers and consumers? Or ruling against African-American voting rights and schools that wish to consider a student's race in their entrance criteria? Or ruling against women's reproductive rights? Or breaking down the wall of separation between church and state? Kristol, like the rest of us, will have the unfortunate destiny of seeing this kind of "good done" by the likes of Roberts and Alito over the next 30 years or more.

(Kristol also quotes Michelle Malkin, who he calls a "conservative writer," about the Republican primary and Mike Huckabee. I found that in itself amusing. William Kristol quoting Michelle Malkin? Isn't that kind of like Genghis Khan quoting Attila the Hun?)

"And we don't want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq," Kristol proclaims. Here Kristol gives us yet again his sage analysis of the Iraq occupation, a set of disastrous policies he helped to foment. Kristol and his right-wing brethren smell victory in Iraq now. How good they must feel that their beloved illegal, illegitimate, murderous invasion and occupation of Iraq has been knocked off the front pages. What better indicator of "victory?" Nearly 4,000 American dead, 26,000 wounded, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed doesn't bother Kristol, nor does the $800 billion price tag and the fatal undermining of the United States in the eyes of the rest of the world.

I don't believe that Kristol does not understand what the U.S. is really doing in Iraq. He knows that the U.S. occupation of Iraq has strengthened, not weakened, the underlying political and cultural causes of international terrorism. And he knows that the fundamental social tensions inside Iraq that produced the civil war and sectarian violence are still percolating just beneath the surface.

Kristol knows that American military power in Iraq has not "won" anything. It's far to soon for anyone to be declaring "victory" in Iraq. And if we have "won" the war then why the hell are our troops still over there?

Kristol also knows a lot about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but he makes sure to play dumb about any parallels it has with the U.S. occupation of Iraq. I do not believe that he really thinks the Arabs in Iraq love the U.S. military's permanent bases on their land anymore than he believes the Arabs in Palestine love Israel's D-9 bulldozers and Apache helicopters.

Unlike some commentators, I don't think William Kristol is stupid or blinded by ideology. He's just intellectually dishonest. And that's why he does not deserve to be an op-ed writer for The New York Times.