Bill Kristol Is Getting the Band Back Together

Back when George W. Bush was president, William Kristol—editor of the Weekly Standard, former Dan Quayle chief of staff, and general conservative man-about-town—co-founded something called the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, whose purpose was to beat the war drums until the American government and public saw the wisdom of an invasion. Kristol was eventually mocked not only for his status as a "chickenhawk"—like nearly all the war's most visible boosters, he was eager to send other people to fight and die, but had avoided military service during the Vietnam War—but for his confidently offered yet comically wrong predictions about Iraq, like "This is going to be a two-month war" or his immortal assertion that there was no reason to think there'd be any conflict between Sunnis and Shias since "Iraq's always been very secular." In the end, Kristol and his allies got what they wanted, and that Iraq thing turned out great for everybody involved.

And now, in case you were on the fence about whether the American government should take military action in Syria, Kristol has returned with an open letter urging President Obama to get bombing post-haste, and go big. You can find the letter on the Weekly Standard's website, where it runs under the not-sarcastic headline, "Experts to Obama: Here is what to do in Syria." Among the "experts" are not only Kristol himself, but a whole bunch of folks with a nuanced grasp of the subtleties of Middle East politics and a track record of wise counsel on matters of war. People like Iran-Contra criminal Elliot Abrams, evangelical leader Gary Bauer, former seat-warming senator Norm Coleman, French gadabout Bernard-Henri Levi, foreign-policy genius Karl Rove, and presidential laughingstock Tim Pawlenty, not to mention the hilariously named Arch Puddington, who apparently is an actual person and not a character from a children's book.

Bombing Syria may or may not be a good idea; I'm extremely skeptical, but it isn't as though there's no reasonable case you could make for it. But when these clowns start advocating for it, it becomes very difficult to think it would be anything but a disaster.

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