The Madness of Bill Kristol

Arianna Huffington has a great op-ed today which discusses the madness of Bill Kristol. Ms. Huffington was seated in front of Mr. Kristol on the Amtrak from New York to Washington, and she overheard a disturbing conversation. Apparently, ol’ Bill is pleased as punch that he has found yet another ad slogan to terrify Americans into supporting an endless U.S. presence in Iraq:

Kristol was sitting a row behind me, talking on his cell phone with someone who apparently shared his optimism. “‘Precipitous withdrawal’ really worked,” I overheard him say, clearly referring to the president’s use of the term in that morning’s press conference. “How many times did he use it? Three? Four?” he asked his interlocutor, and the conversation continued with a round of metaphorical back-slapping for the clever phrase they had “come up with.”

Of course, like so many of the neoconservatives’ greatest hits (“stay the course”, anyone?), this phrase is neither original nor clever. Ms. Huffington goes on to explain:

…It’s actually not all that new: back in January 1969, Richard Nixon used it again and again in his famous “Silent Majority” speech: “The precipitate withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace.” Again and again throughout the speech, Nixon used the phrase to paint the nightmarish consequences of a “precipitate withdrawal” from Vietnam. Almost forty years later, George Bush is using the slightly tweaked “precipitous withdrawal” to paint his own nightmarish scenario of what will happen if American forces leave Iraq. And for that, apparently, we have Bill Kristol to thank. At least partially.

What Mr. Kristol fails to realize is that the American people have made up their minds. We changed the majority of Congress in 2006 for two main reasons, according to the post-election polling: 1) so that we can hold the Administration accountable for their crimes, and 2) so that we can get out of Iraq completely. If he truly thinks the 800th bumper sticker from the Department of Propaganda will bring America back to Bush’s side, he’s quite simply cuckoo.

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