Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Kristol off the reservation

In watching conservatives pick apart Obama's Iraq speech last week, I was struck by this thought: They can't stand the sight of the guy.


It was no surprise that folks on the right believed that O should have given more credit to Bush, whose 2007 surge made the pullout possible. But the criticism was more visceral than that, with Charles Krauthammer and others saying the president regards Iraq as a mere "distraction" from his main goal of remaking America. The general tenor reminded me of liberals who winced every time W. opened his mouth.

After all, by withdrawing all but 50,000 U.S. military advisers, Obama was following a blueprint set out by his predecessor; almost no one is suggesting that he should have left more troops in Iraq. What's more, by escalating the war in Afghanistan, Obama is basically in accord with the right (although its members don't like his 2011 withdrawal target) and increasingly at odds with his own party.

Bill Kristol is no Obama fan, but he broke with the conservative criticism in the Weekly Standard:

"President Obama opposed the war in Iraq. He still thinks it was a mistake. It's therefore unrealistic for supporters of the war to expect the president to give the speech John McCain would have given, or to expect President Obama to put the war in the context we would put it in. He simply doesn't believe the war in Iraq was a necessary part of a broader effort to fight terror, to change the Middle East, etc. Given that (erroneous) view of his, I thought his speech was on the whole commendable, and even at times impressive...

"In sum, the president seemed to me to go about as far as an anti-Iraq war president could go in praising the war effort."

Much of the left detests Kristol as a zealous backer of the Iraq war. But on this occasion, he gave the president his due.

By Howard Kurtz  |  September 1, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  Latest stories  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sportswriter benched by bogus tweet
Next: The Obama conundrum

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company