Friday, February 15, 2008

The Lost Kristol Tapes

What the New York Times Bought
By Jonathan Schwarz on AntiWar

Imagine that there were a Beatles record only a few people knew existed. And imagine you got the chance to listen to it, and as you did, your excitement grew, note by note. You realized it wasn't merely as good as Rubber Soul, or Revolver, or Sgt. Pepper's. It was much, much better. And now, imagine how badly you'd want to tell other Beatles fans all about it.

That's how I feel for my fellow William Kristol fans. You loved it when Bill said invading Iraq was going to have "terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East"? You have the original recording of him explaining the war would make us "respected around the world" and his classic statement that there's "almost no evidence" of Iraq experiencing Sunni-Shia conflict? Well, I've got something that will blow your mind!

I'm talking about Kristol's two-hour appearance on C-Span's Washington Journal on March 28, 2003, just nine days after the President launched his invasion of Iraq. No one remembers it today. You can't even fish it out of LexisNexis. It's not there. Yet it's a masterpiece, a double album of smarm, horrifying ignorance, and bald-faced deceit. While you've heard him play those instruments before, he never again reached such heights. It's a performance for the history books – particularly that chapter about how the American Empire collapsed.


So, sit back, relax, and let me play a little of it for you.

To start with, Ellsberg made the reasonable point that Iraqis might not view the invading Americans as "liberators," since the U.S. had been instrumental in Saddam Hussein's rise to power: Here's how he put it:

"ELLSBERG: People in Iraq... perceive Hussein as a dictator... But as a dictator the Americans chose for them.

"KRISTOL: That's just not true. We've had mistakes in our Iraq policy. It's just ludicrous – we didn't choose Hussein. We didn't put him in power.

"ELLSBERG: In 1963, when there was a brief uprising of the Ba'ath, we supplied specifically Saddam with lists, as we did in Indonesia, lists of people to be eliminated. And since he's a murderous thug, but at that time our murderous thug, he eliminated them...

"KRISTOL: [surprised] Is that right?...

"ELLSBERG: The same thing went on in '68. He was our thug, just as [Panamanian dictator Manuel] Noriega, and lots of other people who were on the leash until they got off the leash and then we eliminated them. Like [Vietnamese president] Ngo Dinh Diem."

More after the click.

My comment:

Actually, the list of "our" dictators is quite long. Pick a trouble spot almost anywhere in the world and we've had our thumb on the scale, benefiting our short term commercial interests at the expense of our long term geopolitical interests, our reputation, our credibility and our honor.

Vietnam - we supported Ngo Dinh Diem until it became inconvenient in 1963.

Iran - We replaced the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in order to protect the UKs oil monopoly in Iran in 1953.

Argintina - In 1976 we engineered takeover by a military junta.

Chile - We replaced Allende with Pinochet in 1973 because Allende believed the natural resources of Chile should benefit the people of Chile rather than multi-national mining and agricultural corporations.


and on and on and on ...

And then enter the Law of Unintended Consequences. It seems that invariably we live under the mistaken impression that if we put "our guy" in charge of "their country" it will be good for "our businesses". But if "our guy" was worth anything he wouldn't need our support to become a leader in his country. They don't hate us for our freedoms, they hate us for our sense of license. When those on the right point to our entitlement programs as the source of all our domestic problems they neglect to consider their own sense of entitlement on the global stage and it's contribution to the list of problems we face around the world.

Winston Churchill once said, "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing ... after they've tried everything else."

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