Over in the Better Universe, a family has a run-in with Bill Kristol on the subway. The Poors beat reporter David Brooks has the details:
Lisa Miller is a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. One day she entered a subway car and saw that half of it was crowded but the other half was empty, except for a homeless man who had some fast food on his lap and who was screaming at anybody who came close.At one stop, a grandmother and granddaughter, about 8, entered the car. They were elegantly dressed, wearing pastel dresses and gloves with lace trim. The homeless man spotted them and screamed, “Hey! Do you want to sit with me?” They looked at each other, nodded and replied in unison, “Thank you” and, unlike everybody else, sat directly next to him.The man offered them some chicken from his bag. They looked at each other and nodded and said, “No, thank you.” The homeless man offered several more times, and each time they nodded to each other and gave the same polite answer. Finally, the homeless man was calmed, and they all sat contentedly in their seats....
Sadly, over in this Universe, Bill Kristol is not a, eccentric homeless individual shouting harmless nonsense at a few people on the train. Over in this Universe, Kristol is a wealthy, respected, multimedia sociopath, braying malignant drivel at millions of Americans every week.
And while Sean Illings of Salon ably summarizes what longtime readers of this blog have know for years, he makes a fundamental error in juxtaposing Bill Kristol and David Brooks like so:
Bill Kristol’s latest Iraq nonsense: Dumber and more dangerous than David Brooks
The man who laid the foundation for our Iraq blunder is still unbelievably disengaged from reality
Bill Kristol, and his former employee, David Brooks, are neither ignorant nor disengaged nor are they competing in some kind of dumbassery claiming race which Kristol is currently winning by a half a length. Instead, they are both helping the Right to successfully nail down the upper and lower thresholds of the Overton Window for any future public debate of the Iraq war (which they both so eagerly and profitably pimped) in a way that:
A) Insures that none of their neocon fellow travelers or media enablers will ever be held accountable for the catastrophic war they lied us into. And,B) Delivers a set of clear talking points to every GOP candidate running for President in 2016 with which they can weasel their way out of any unpleasant Iraq-based conversations.
Neocon David Brooks' side of the frame is that Operation Endless Clusterfuck was a noble cause undertaken in good faith by honorable men who mismanaged it terribly:
...Which brings us to Iraq. From the current vantage point, the decision to go to war was a clear misjudgment, made by President George W. Bush and supported by 72 percent of the American public who were polled at the time. I supported it, too.What can be learned?The first obvious lesson is that we should look at intelligence products with a more skeptical eye. There’s a fable going around now that the intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was all cooked by political pressure, that there was a big political conspiracy to lie us into war.That doesn’t gibe with the facts...
Neocon Bill Kristol's complementary side of the same frame is that Operation Endless Clusterfuck was a noble cause undertaken in good faith by honorable men who did a great and difficult thing, which was subsequently fucked up by the Kenyan Usurper (emphasis added):
William Kristol: We were right to fight in IraqObama threw away hard-earned gains.We were right to invade Iraq in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein, and to complete the job we should have finished in 1991.Even with the absence of caches of weapons of mass destruction, and the mistakes we made in failing to send enough troops at first and to provide security from the beginning for the Iraqi people, we were right to persevere through several difficult years. We were able to bring the war to a reasonably successful conclusion in 2008.When President Obama took office, Iraq was calm, al-Qaeda was weakened and ISIS did not exist. Iran, meanwhile, was under pressure from abroad (due to sanctions) and at home (due to popular discontent, manifested by the Green uprising in the summer of 2009).The Obama administration threw it all away...
This is aggressive neocon pincer movement designed to drive any discussion of the lies and liars who marched us into catastrophe -- any discussion of accountability and atonement -- the hell off the table.
And from presidential candidate Lindsey Graham (emphasis added) --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: You want to be president of the United States. You're running for the Republican presidential nomination. Was the Iraq War a mistake?SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): No. I don't think so......BLITZER: But, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11.GRAHAM: Well, he had a lot to do in terms of destabilizing the region. He had invaded his neighbor (Kuwait), he was violating U.N. mandates about inspecting sites as part of the ending the first Gulf War, he was shooting at American aircraft patrolling the skies over Iraq as part of a no-fly zone, he was gassings the Kurds. I am glad he is gone. At the end of the day, I blame President Obama for the mess in Iraq and Syria, not President Bush.
-- to presidential candidate Scott Walker (emphasis added) --
Any president would have likely taken the same action [President George W.] Bush did with the information he had, even Hillary Clinton voted for it, but knowing what we know now, we should not have gone into Iraq. President Bush deserves enormous credit for ordering the surge, a courageous move that worked. Unfortunately, President Obama and Secretary Clinton hastily withdrew our troops, threw away the gains of the surge, and embarked on a broader policy of pivoting away from the Middle East and leading from behind that has created chaos in the region.
-- to presidential candidate John Ellis "Jeb,The Smart One" Bush (emphasis added) --
Jeb Bush's new Iraq strategy: Blame ObamaJeb Bush is back on offense against President Barack Obama’s strategy in Iraq, following a difficult week in which the likely presidential candidate struggled to clean up his answer on whether he would have invaded Iraq knowing what he knows now.“It got a little bumpy, but all is well now,” Bush said at a roundtable event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Wednesday. “The ship is stable.”Perhaps a better focus, Bush posited, is “Knowing what we know now, Mr. President, should you have kept 10,000 troops in Iraq?” Bush said that Obama “abandoned” Iraq and lamented the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State terrorists, saying that “ISIS didn’t exist when my brother was president” and that Al Qaeda was decimated under his brother.
-- this is exactly what is happening.