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A war president

In his Monday open letter/cri de coeur to the man he supported for president, Michael Moore asked Barack Obama:

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple.... Please say it isn't so.

Well, it is so. President Obama went to West Point, said it was an honor to be with young soldiers who embody what’s finest about our country, described approvingly and patriotically America’s historic achievements in the “noble struggle for freedom,” and spoke as a war president. A good thing, too. Because when you’re at war, you need a war president.

There were unfortunate aspects of Obama’s speech: the foolish eagerness to tell us he’s as eager as can be to get us out of Afghanistan as soon as he can; the laying down of a pseudo-deadline for beginning a process of transitioning our forces out in July 2011, combined with the claim that the pace and duration of the withdrawal is to be conditions-based – a typical example of Obama trying to be too cute by half; the silly harrumphing that “it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country,” as if we were there to help the Afghans become “responsible for their own country” again, as opposed to fighting for reasons of vital national interest.

Still: By mid-2010, Obama will have more than doubled the number of American troops in Afghanistan since he became president; he will have empowered his general, Stanley McChrystal, to fight the war pretty much as he thinks necessary to in order to win; and he will have retroactively, as it were, acknowledged that he and his party were wrong about the Iraq surge in 2007 -- after all, the rationale for this surge is identical to Bush’s, and the hope is for a similar success. He will also have embraced the use of military force as a key instrument of national power.

At the press briefing this afternoon by two senior administration officials, a questioner pointed out that the government of Iran “regards the U.S. government's policy of surging forces as following Bush policy” and that the Iranian regime sees “no change in U.S. policy.”

One senior administration official responded:

One reason that this policy may seem to Iran as consistent with previous policies is that it's founded on the same national interest, and that is that, fundamentally, at the very core of this, is the U.S. national interest to protect America and America's allies. And the threat that emanates from this region, centered on al Qaeda, persists.

So that's why there -- it's easy to understand Iran's perspective perhaps that there is some continuity here in the U.S. policy. That's because the interest is consistent.

“The interest is consistent.” That’s the heart of the matter. It’s encouraging that Obama seems to understand this fact.

On Jan. 20, 2009, in his inaugural address, President Obama said, “And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, ‘Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.’” He might have repeated that confident assertion tonight. Perhaps he can repeat it in his next speech as war president.

By William Kristol  | December 1, 2009; 9:06 PM ET
Categories:  Kristol  | Tags:  William Kristol  
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Next: A long haul -- continued -- in Afghanistan

Comments

To call President Obama a war president is unfair. Bush's successor, no matter who he/she could have been, would have inevitably been a war president. Afghanistan is an inherited war, and one we are actually justified in fighting. Had we been more responsible with it, President Obama may have had the choice to start bringing soldiers home. However, how can a President bring soldiers home when those who plot our demise are still at large, still funded, and still growing in strength.

To Democrats who oppose this plan, you must have lived in a fantasy world every time he talked about the legitimacy of the Afghanistan war.

To Republicans who oppose this plan, you're just doing so because the plan was presented to you by President Obama. Grow up.

Posted by: MissRed | December 1, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Because no one cares what Kristol says.

Posted by: baseballguy | December 1, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

To the best of my knowledge this is the first time a Nobel Peace Prize winner has ever announced an expanded war before an audience tasked to carry it out.

Posted by: slim2 | December 1, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

When will Kristol and the other disgraced neocons acknowledge that they and their party were wrong about the Iraq invasion to begin with.

The aggressive foreign policy of so called "neo-conservatives" is anything but conservative and has wasted more than $1 trillion on nation building and billions more on foreign aid.

Posted by: David77 | December 1, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Where is the Republican response?

After every major speech Obama has made as president, a confident-looking Republican has stood before the cameras and spoke on behalf of his party, letting the country know how silly they thought Obama's policy was and how they somehow had better ideas.

Yet after the Obama Afghanistan speech, no word from the Republican party. A smattering of commentators, criticizing this or sniping at that, but no alternative policy presented from America's opposition.

Why is that? Is it because Republicans have no coherent ideas on Afghanistan? Is it because the party is splintered and divided on the issue? We know it's not because the party defers to the President on national security matters - the GOP had no problem smacking Clinton on Bosnia, after all.

It smells a bit fishy; almost as if the Republicans have made great sport of those policy positions where their narrow ideology has an answer - small government and less taxes. Health care? Economic collapse? Small government and less taxes.

But the war in Afghanistan? Well, that's hard. And the last thing the GOP, now completely bereft of ideas, wants to do is take on a hard, complicated issue. Much more fun to snipe from the sidelines without taking responsibility, isn't it?

Posted by: Buddydog | December 1, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Shorter William Kristol: "I didn't like anything about the speech except the possibility of more violence and glorious killing by the military that I decided I'd rather analyze than join".

Posted by: marknesop | December 1, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

WOW! I really do HATE Kristol!!! He's such a tool. I really really hate this MF!

Posted by: kurthunt | December 1, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

William - Irving Kristol is doing high-speed 360's learning what a fool his son has become.

Posted by: philasportsphan | December 1, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I really enjoyed the comment from the guy who thought he was the first to comment but was actually the second to comment. Not only were you just a wee bit too late but you also called yourself a "no one."

Posted by: HookInMouth | December 1, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

my wish for the new year is that kristol joins daddy and ronnie.

Posted by: donaldtucker | December 1, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Krystol and his band of anti-American globalists who want to bankrupt America while the war profiteers get richer and richer are very happy that Obama is keeping the corrupt money going the way of his buddies.

In fact, I'm sure Krystol is all the more happy that this money will bankrupt America. I don't think you'll find a more America-hating bunch than Krystol and his globalist band of traitors. Of course, he has the right to gloat. Obama is carrying the water for him pretty darn well.

Posted by: santafe2 | December 1, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Bush called himself the War President who was a coward and ran out like a little girl when called to duty. He invaded Iraq with no plan free spending of taxpayers money and left Afghanistan without troops. The GOP Law Makers themselves cowards who never served during Vietnam like Mr. Kristol all had the answers. We saw thousands of soldiers die with no media attention and we weren't allowed to even see these brave soldiers come home. Bush mangled the English language let Bin Laden go free and make jokes about everything we hold dear. Cheney's only interest was oil and greed as he to was a coward with 5 deferments even using his wife to skip the draft. President Obama was 2 years old during the Vietnam War and even stupid Republicans say he should have served. Now we have an educated intelligent President who has a plan and cost as he's looking out for our soldiers and all the American people.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | December 1, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Another filthy jew arguing for never ending war. Nothing new here folks!

Posted by: playa_brotha | December 1, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

How quickly some forget:

"President Obama has argued the troop surge in Iraq has caused the situation in Afghanistan to deteriorate. He says the United States should redeploy troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. He has said he would send at least two more combat brigades to Afghanistan and will "use this commitment to seek greater contributions—with fewer restrictions—from NATO allies." He has also proposed an additional billion dollars in nonmilitary assistance per year, "with meaningful safeguards to prevent corruption and to make sure investments are made—not just in Kabul—but out in Afghanistan's provinces." Obama said in an October 2008 interview with TIME magazine."

http://www.cfr.org/bios/11603/barack_obama.html

Michael Moore must have been chowing down at Old Country Buffet. And Kristol? Well he is a GOP political hack after all!

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | December 1, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing more infuriating than this kind of "commentary" by mealy-mouthed pundits like Bill Kristol, a man who has so far been wrong about virtually everything and yet takes no responsibility for anything he says or does (much like Dick Cheney). Thanks to cheerleaders like him, we've wasted so much blood and money in Iraq and squandered whatever ground we gained in Afghanistan. No acknowledgment from these jokers that they're the reason we're at this dispiriting juncture. And yet, this is "Obama's war" now. Please.

He can't even write the smallest piece of claptrap without being insulting and condescending about the president: "silly harrumphing" and "foolish eagerness," etc. This is all some political game of words to Kristol and his fellow creeps. Party before country, all the way.

The worst thing that could happen to them is that Obama might actually find a decent way out of this wreckage. This is a salvage mission, not a push for victory.

Of course, it's my fault for even bothering to read this. This is, after all, the guy who helped hoist Sarah Palin out of obscurity, where she belonged. His instincts are golden.

Washington Post editors, can't you please find someone intelligent and relevant for your opinionists? He's one of the reasons your paper is hemorrhaging credibility by the bucket.

Posted by: BlueDog1 | December 2, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama = War President

William Kristol = War Criminal

Posted by: arsubscriberfor30years | December 2, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm trying to remember whether William Kristol ever served his country, or does he merely get some kind of sexual charge out of encouraging policies that send young men and women to die so that he can feel good about his nonexistent manhood.

By the way, Mr. Kristol, criticizing a president during wartime is unpatriotic and anti-American. Remember those attitudes, you hypocritical, lying accessory to murder?

Posted by: greenm1 | December 2, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

http://americansun.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/obama-can-you-really-blame-him/

here is my say

Posted by: brautry | December 2, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

See how easy it is to make a Jew War-Monger Republican happy, all you have to do is say you are going to kill people. You're only evil if you want Health-care for everyone.

Posted by: orionexpress | December 2, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Obama is doing most of what his generals requested & that is a good thing b/c the goal of this surge is to stabilize as it did in Iraq. What is their to criticize with that? To Buddydog & other partisan & bitter libdems it's comical how uncomfortable you seem knowing that Harry & Nancy have been in charge for the past 3 yrs & now you own most of our Fed government's dysfunction & avg Americans dissatisfaction w/their policies. Change is coming unless your party quits whining/blaming & at least gets unemployment down to the 4.7% average of the past 10yrs. It looks alot easier to campaign tirelessly than to govern effectively huh?

Posted by: terps77 | December 2, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Why does the Times publish anything by this never-served idiot? He is just another Bush coatholder who talks alot and says nothing. He pushes war,only with other people's members,not his. This guy's columns are not worth the paper they are written on.

Posted by: walkman1956 | December 2, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

What is Up with all you so called Progressive "communists"?? Kristol didn't say one negative thing about our naive inexperienced so called President! He actually complimented him and quoted from his Inauguration speech. Aside from campaigning and reading from a teleprompter as well as every other B actor out here in Los Angeles what actually made you believe that Obama was different from any other politician?? A Jon Favreau speech?? Obama understands the "Real" world now - it's more real and more dangerous than the violent crimes that occur everyday and every hour in our own cities. I can't wait until you see how Obama is going to HAVE TO DEAL with the Iran/Israel conflict that is on the horizon. Support the President and his continuing education of the real world. It's time for Progressive Naivity to end once and for all. We are the United States of America, the Greatest Nation in human history.

Posted by: PatriotInLA | December 2, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

The way you slobber every time you say the words "war president" is not just a little bit creepy.

Posted by: sembtex | December 2, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

We should not be going there with armed forces to kill people. Everyone knows that there are massive pockets of abject poverty all throughout that region that serve as a destabilizing force open to all sorts of undesirable pressures, including corruption. We need to promote and support civil society institutions and make sure that they grows in a manner that enhances the aspirations of all people living there as an asset, not a liability. All the groups, including the warlords, must feel valued and respected and encouraged to contribute to the goal of national development. We also need to promote pluralism which is essential for peace; if it's anyone -- it should be us -- that promotes diversity weather it's cultural, ethnic, or religious. That's who we are!

Posted by: ladhak | December 2, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

A column by William Kristol the neocon that was wrong about everything from 2000-2008? But made those pronouncements simply because it was a Republican making those mistakes?

bwahaaaahaaaaaaa

Posted by: somnamblst1 | December 2, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Typical Kristol, where's the substance; easy to stand on the sidelines and throw rocks. Party of No.

Posted by: tjconnor | December 2, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Obama is in over his head; his inexperience is showing.

Posted by: Jmacaco4 | December 2, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

To acknowledge he was wrong about the Iraq surge he would first have to acknowledge that we had any business being there in the first place.

Posted by: Left_of_the_Pyle | December 2, 2009 2:34 AM | Report abuse

Billyboy as I'm sure your old frat-bro called you until he thought of something more denigrating. How much money have you and your neocon buddies made off these wars? If you don't put that on the table I will know you as a liar, thief and traitor. These are the words of a convicted felon who never came close to betraying his community, let alone the country as you have shamelessly done. Sorry for you; your espousal's during the recent administration completely contradict your new view.

Posted by: PeterODay | December 2, 2009 4:00 AM | Report abuse

God I loath Kristol. (Maybe not for him as a person, but for the kind of garbage he is willing to spew.)

Some points:

-In the TEN MONTHS since he took office Obama has more than doubled US forces in Afghanistan. Kristol makes the BOGUS CLAIM this will happen in 2010, by 2010 they will have TRIPLED and far exceeded in other ways, anything the Bushies did for the eight long years this crock was festering on the back burner.

-The "foolish eagerness" to talk about withdrawal has MULTIPLE points in it's favor, not the least of which is one of the most important lessons of Iraq. The Bush administration invaded with the intent of establishing a permanent military presence in Iraq. If there was any one single reason for Iraqis to fight and kill US troops, the specter of being a permanently occupied puppet state was it. It likely cost us a few thousand lives. A second purpose is that it serves to focus any military campaign to achieve what we can, without going down the hellish and well-worn path to a Vietnam like war-of-attrition scenario.

Posted by: pclement1 | December 2, 2009 4:22 AM | Report abuse

Billy,

I hope that you soon join your equally crazy and incompetent father in hell.

Posted by: wiatrol | December 2, 2009 5:03 AM | Report abuse

Billy,

In case that you forgot; Mr. Obama became a "war president" on 20 January 2009 when he inherited TWO mis-managed wars from the neo-cons.

Posted by: wiatrol | December 2, 2009 5:06 AM | Report abuse

Another PNAC/JINSA/AIPAC coward and chickenhawk echoing the sentiments of his late, unlamented father:

"Jews don't like big military budgets. But it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States... American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don't want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel." ~ Irving Kristol.

Like father, like son.

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | December 2, 2009 5:10 AM | Report abuse

The smirking Kristol has found a new "war president," which will give hims something to jerk off over for another four years.

Posted by: Marcaurelius | December 2, 2009 5:12 AM | Report abuse

To paraphrase William Kristol:

"President Obama should be mildly and grudgingly complimented for escalating war, but he should be chastised for any indication that the war is not a permanent one."

Because as we know, the Neoconservatives thrive on Orwell's Permanent State of War, as if they were characters written by Orwell himself.

Yes, escalation of war is good, in Kristol's mind, but any talk that war may actually end some day is "foolish".

Permanent war, ex vi termini.

They love it.

Posted by: Billy_Pilgrim | December 2, 2009 5:18 AM | Report abuse

Thanks WAPO for insulting our collective sensibilities by yet again giving a platform for this Neocon traitor to the American people.
He has a lot of blood on his dear little Neocon hands.
I don't care what he has to say. I suppose He'll be on CSPAN to give his Neocon views also.
The nation does-not-need this individual's destructive views shoved down its throat.

Posted by: Minka | December 2, 2009 5:19 AM | Report abuse

Why are these anti-semitic idiots allowed to post comments?:

Another filthy jew arguing for never ending war. Nothing new here folks!

Posted by: playa_brotha


See how easy it is to make a Jew War-Monger Republican happy, all you have to do is say you are going to kill people. You're only evil if you want Health-care for everyone.

Posted by: orionexpress

Agree or disagree with WK. Love him or hate him. But the anti-semitic trash is over the line.

Posted by: gadlut | December 2, 2009 5:25 AM | Report abuse

PatriotInLA wrote:

"What is Up with all you so called Progressive "communists"?? Kristol didn't say one negative thing about our naive inexperienced so called President!"

Really? Did you actually read the column?

Here are some of the "negative things" that you must have missed in your zeal to cheerlead for Kristol:

Kristol wrote:

"There were unfortunate aspects of Obama’s speech: the foolish eagerness..."

and

"...a typical example of Obama trying to be too cute by half; the silly harrumphing that..."

So William Kristol, being as adolescent as ever, called President Obama "foolish" and "too cute by half" and commented on his "silly harrumphing". And some right winger writes in to claim that "Kristol didn't say one negative thing about Obama" in this piece.

Perfect.

By the way, your attempt to smear "liberals" with the "B movie actor" comment was deliciously hilarious in its utterly unintentional and clueless irony.


Posted by: Billy_Pilgrim | December 2, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Mr Kristol makes sense...that's why the Post pays him. He is one of the out-of-favor (some say disgraced) neocons. The neocons had a Kissingerian view of how things really work in the middle east. It was a policy fiasco mainly because the man in charge, President Bush, never said no. He, Bush, bought it all and rolled the dice in Iraq.

As for President Obama, a question: If the desire is to have President Karzai "go straight", why not simply convey to him quietly--diplomatically, of course--that there will be no airplane to convey him to a luxurious exile; that Karzai's failure will involve his singing soprano in the Taliban glee club, or whatever it takes to get Mr. Karzai to recognize our seriousness.

Then make the speech that should have been made to assure the Afghans, Pakistanis, our allies of our commitment without setting a definite withdrawal date. Too late you say? Mr. Obama did promise transparency. Our enemies will make the most of the exit date; let us hope that our generals will do the same.

Posted by: sanfran6003 | December 2, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
02 December 2009

Yes, Bill Kristol, is right: President Barack Obama has to be a "War President" because he has to "finish the job" there, an adventure which President George W. Bush recklessly mishandled by diverting resources away from Afghanistan and waging his illegal "War of Choice" in Iraq.

Had George W. not diverted those forces to Iraq, many experts agree that U.S. and NATO forces would long ago have destroyed Osama bin-Laden and his al-Qaeda.

As it happens Osama and his al-Qaeda have long left Aghanistan and sought haven in Pakistan where they have many friends and protectors.

The bitter irony is that in Afghanistan U.S. and NATO forces are now confronting the Taliban, their "new" enemy, who were once upon a time, between 1979 through 1989, the U.S.'s allies and friends in the successful effort to dislodge Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

This is the context in which President Obama's role as a "War President" should be viewed objectively and in a nonpartisan and non-ideological way.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | December 2, 2009 5:55 AM | Report abuse

At least Obama thought this through before making a decision. Bush went on a wild goose chase attacking the wrong country and let Afghanistan, where the 9/11 attack on the United States originated, go to hell so he could run a war he could never explain in Iraq.

Posted by: orange3 | December 2, 2009 6:41 AM | Report abuse

The big difference between President Obama and the Texas Moron is BRAINS.
President Obama is not a war president but a president who inherited a war initiated by an alcoholic idiot who launched a war with the wrong country, for the wrong reason, at the wrong time.
As a comedian, I prefer your cousin 'Billy Cristal'.

Posted by: analyst72 | December 2, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Last night Mr Kristol, I listened to a true Commander in Chief, not only give instructions to his military chiefs, but a time frame in which to achieve them, if that had been done 8 years ago, how different the world might have been, Mr Kristol, your time is up, go away, retire, the world is a better place if we do not hear from you, but be sure of one thing, you will be called to account, one way or another Mr Kristol.

Posted by: fimclennan | December 2, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

By expending more American lives, instead of fewer, this surge will allow the United States to "save face" by leaving Afghanistan under improved conditions, rather than under deteriorating conditions.
And, no matter how well or poorly we do in the coming months, WE WILL HAVE TO RETURN to this battleground of global Jihad, in some form or fashion.
Then, we will be asking ourselves, "What were all those lives, all those years and a mighty effort...for?"
Whatever answers our leaders give, whatever the lessons learned, will soon be forgotten. The Pentagon's collective memory has a half-life of only ten years. Politicians will forget at the next election. Since most Americans never remember, they will have nothing to forget.
We will have done everything we could really afford.

Posted by: elfraed | December 2, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr Kristol and his neocon buddies who led us into the disastrous Iraq adventure are doing their best to pin Afghanistan on Obama. Their method? That of Goebbels, who correctly insisted that by repeating a falsehood often enough and, especially, energetically enough, people will come to view it as truth.
Obama's job is to dig us out of the strategic hole in which Bush left him and, especially US (yes, remember the American people?!), in these two unhappy lands. The fact that we cannot just pull out lock stock and barrel overnight may be interpreted by the neocons as confirmation of their anti-American beliefs, but it is their "analysis" of Iraq that led us into that disastrous war in the first place. Why should people listen to Kristol and his friends now??

Posted by: traducteur49 | December 2, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Whenever there is the smell of Muslim blood in the air, we can count on Billy the Bad Clown to show up on the pages of the near defunct Washington Post. Such a brave neocon freak.

Posted by: branfo4 | December 2, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

It is significant that Kristol is showing support for Obama on this one, albeit lukewarm.

I don't know if Afghanistan is the next Vietnam or not, but Obama is the next LBJ- an over ambitious domestic agenda coupled with splitting his party over a war.

Note to columnists from the right who write for the Post: "Too cute by half" is a used up expression that has now become a cliche. Will uses it too much as well. Let it go please.

Posted by: prawson | December 2, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Yes Mr. Kristol, it is because you are a man without conviction or principle that you can attempt to ridicule the president for saying “it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country,” as if we were there to help the Afghans become “responsible for their own country” again, as opposed to fighting for reasons of vital national interest. Yet Kristol was at the forefront of all the different B.S. reasons we went into Iraq. Why anyone would give you a platform, Sir, to espouse your bull crap is beyond me especially after your dismal failure as prognosticator. Maybe it is because the Post wants to be truly fair and balanced.

Posted by: Shampoo436 | December 2, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I like a party that is against sunset laws and policies. Bush Tax cuts to the rich- sunset but no sunset
help for katrina victims- no start, no sunset, still not much done for many...

Now Afghanistan, where have you people been for the last seven years? How did you make the war have a hangover? Obama inherits a perilous situation among others and you throw stones?

Compare the real surge in Iran to the real surge in Afghanistan. America paid the people shooting at us to stop for a while with monthly American tax dollar payments that were never reconned in our budgetary process for a temporary cease fire. Iraq is to take over making those payments as we draw down? Guess who will be revving up as the payments dwindle and stop- thats right the insurgents will, give that man a prize.

In Afghanistan the Karzai government stands to reap all of the money it can as America falls over itself to send more of our loved ones and many of our loved tax dollars to support what, opium production?

Fight the war, reform health care yes, but, wean our country off of the stream of oil imported each day that makes paying attention to this region a neccessity, now, now, now!

We are not yet utilizing all that our maker has given us in the country, the sun, the wind and the water. We need to change our energy priorities in a safe and clean way that ends this madness.

Posted by: mtstewart1 | December 2, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Comments by Bill Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer for that matter, are exhibit A in the case against America's attention span. These were the cheerleaders, the Cheney/Bush aiders and abettors in the drive to war in Iraq which prolonged America's involvement in the Afghan conflict. They were as wrong as any opinionmakers have ever been in this country, partisan and dishonest. Yet every week, we're gifted with more of their useless blather. Obama is doing what he can with what Cheney (who still won't shut his toxic mouth) and Shrub left him, dual wars and a near-wrecked economy. Obama can only begin to clean up the mess the GOP's chosen ones left. The clean up will go on for many, many years. This is how you judge a presidency. In the amount of time it takes to undo the damage.

And they want us to take Sarah Palin seriously. What a joke of a party.

Posted by: curtb | December 2, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Buddydog wrote:

Where is the Republican response?

After every major speech Obama has made as president, a confident-looking Republican has stood before the cameras and spoke on behalf of his party, letting the country know how silly they thought Obama's policy was and how they somehow had better ideas.

Yet after the Obama Afghanistan speech, no word from the Republican party. A smattering of commentators, criticizing this or sniping at that, but no alternative policy presented from America's opposition.

Why is that? Is it because Republicans have no coherent ideas on Afghanistan? Is it because the party is splintered and divided on the issue? We know it's not because the party defers to the President on national security matters - the GOP had no problem smacking Clinton on Bosnia, after all.

It smells a bit fishy; almost as if the Republicans have made great sport of those policy positions where their narrow ideology has an answer - small government and less taxes. Health care? Economic collapse? Small government and less taxes.

But the war in Afghanistan? Well, that's hard. And the last thing the GOP, now completely bereft of ideas, wants to do is take on a hard, complicated issue. Much more fun to snipe from the sidelines without taking responsibility, isn't it?
_________________________________________

What an absolutely dopey post. You heard no Republican response because they support the policy. They will support this president in his decision to follow what was the Bush policy, plain and simple.

Obviously you haven't been listening, because there have been MANY conservative ideas on REFORMING the COSTS of health-care, which was supposed to be the objective in the first place. The problem is, Dems aren't listening and never intended to. The only way the Republicans were ever going to get a seat at the table on this issue was to defeat this massive government intrusion - which is the liberal way. The fact is, both sides are rolling the dice on this...

Posted by: wearedoomed1 | December 2, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I had no idea that this was a high school newspaper!
The childish tantrums, the immature insults, even the anti-Semitic vitriol is indicative of hormonal teenagers!
It must be, because no intelligent adults would spew hatred, such as this.
Perhaps these readers need to deal with their acne, finish their education....THEN attempt an intelligent post.

Posted by: marveljrjr | December 2, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

William Kristol is a liar. A nepotist. A coward. A cheerleader for murder, torture and kidnapping and therefore a war criminal. A tool of Likud and therefore a traitor. And a shallow polemicist and a bad writer to boot. The Washington Post gives him a forum to its everlasting shame.

Posted by: paul10 | December 2, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Who listens to your chicken hawk opinions anyway? Clearly you have shown yourself to be consistently wrong on so many levels.

I support our presidents plan but only because I trust that in 18-24 months we will be gone from there having completed our true mission - destroying OBL.

BTW Mr. Krystol, would you care to speak out on the fact that GWB has his chance to take OBL out shortly after the 9/11 attacks and CHOOSE NOT TO. Care to comment on that one? Could it be that GWB had other plans with his Saudi buddies? You know, an agreement to NOT hunt down and kill OBL? Could it be? Is it possible?

Posted by: Kathy5 | December 2, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I guess if you're a liberal, 9/11 never happened, or at least the US should have apologized for it. Liberals are abject cowards

Posted by: jimbevan | December 2, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the Republicans had
a response, besides; YES YES YES!

Obama has given Bush/Cheney a huge
pat on the back.

Did we elect a Ronald Reagan Protege'?

I am surprised he did not tell the chinese
to TEAR THIS WALL DOWN!!!!

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 2, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

No surprises. I didn't watch President Poser. Didn't need to. I KNOW who, and what he is. Espescially where the ARMED FORCES are concerned. "They make good props", don't ya know.
He blamed the previous Administration. That's what children do. They BLAME other people. ADULTS get things done. ADULTS take responsibility. ADULTS keep their word. This little boy does none of these things. And where these Wars are concerned, why would he? He's learned well from his Teachers. John Marshall Davis: COMMUNIST. Jeremiah Wright: WHITE HATING, JEW HATING, AMERICA HATING Pastor: MARXIST. William Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn: ANARCHISTS, TERRORISTS, BOMBERS OF POLICE STATIONS, RECRUITING OFFICES, and the PENTAGON. Rasheed Khalidi: PLO TERRORIST, AMERICA HATER, and all around JEW KILLER.
He doesn't care about the Troops. Why would he? He HATES them. His HATRED for them is ingrained on his soul. He's spent his entire adult life HATING THEM. He hates the COPS. He hates the BOY SCOUTS. The AMERICAN LEGION. The VFW. And who does he love? The UNIONS. The RADICALS - (ACORN) - The SOCIALISTS and the MARXISTS. The MAOISTS. The ANARCHISTS. He LOVES the MUSLIMS. HIS WHOLE FAMILY IS MUSLIM. He is a MUSLIM BY BIRTH. They want to run around and kill the Jews and the Gentiles? He's fine with that. Read his books. Look at who his friends are. See who he fills his Administration with.
So why would he want to go out of his way, to stop a bunch of Arab Taliban Guys, from doing the same thing, that he's trying to do here? Remember, it's the CONSTITUTION that he has a problem with. NOT the Muslim Psycho Butchers.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | December 2, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

For the first time, I agree with Billy: Obama is now a war president. He should not be excused with the claim that he inherited the war. He joins the ranks of presidents who send men and women to kill and be killed, with nothing to show for it. He, like Bush, is turning otherwise gentle and caring men and women into killers in an unjust war to defend a corrupt government. I voted for Obama because I hoped that he was not a neo-con so would not pursue the policy he threatened during the campaign. I was wrong. He is a neo-con. Congrats, Billy, you and your black-hearted compadres on the right have a new hero: Barack Obama.

Posted by: douard1 | December 2, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama has made the Neo-Cons gleeful.

The anti-war movement betrayed again, by a peace-talking, war-walking, Democrat President.

Those who opposed this war, those who know Afghanistan isnt vital to American interests, ought to remember that in 2012.

Ron Paul 2012

Posted by: MDD1 | December 2, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Such an ugly little man. I don't bother with his columns, just jump straight to the comments. When is the Post going to wise up and drop this fool like the Times did(now there is a newspaper).Itty bitty Billy belongs on Fox with all of the other warmongering draft dodgers.

Posted by: estockton | December 2, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

This is the essence of Bill Kristol's punditry. As a critical resonance point in the war-hawk media echo chamber, his approach is to label something - "liberal," "anti-American," "anti-Israel" - and say it over and over again until the claque of know-nothings begin to repeat it. This is a guy who hasn't been correct on anything in anyone's memory and who led the band in giving us Sarah Palin. "War President" my ass.

Posted by: PaulfromNorthernVa | December 2, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

You're the one who's cute. The only problem you and the neonazicons you represent have with Obama is that he's competent. That scares the sh*t out of all of you. You say it's his policies, but it's not; it's that he can be successful where Bush/Cheney could never be. Because he is smart and not a neonazicon puppet that you and your backers can manage,you find fault with trivial details that you believe will mean something to the morons you appeal to. I pray for the day when you no longer have a voice.

Posted by: whenwillthisnightmareend | December 2, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"and he will have retroactively, as it were, acknowledged that he and his party were wrong about the Iraq surge in 2007 -- after all, the rationale for this surge is identical to Bush’s, and the hope is for a similar success. He will also have embraced the use of military force as a key instrument of national power."

I think that Mr. Kristol is so desperate to rehabilitate his reputation on the many incorrect calls he made on Iraq that he is willing to spin Obama's decision on Afghanistan out of all recognizable shape.

Posted by: tunkefer | December 2, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Get lost you cowardly warmonger.

Posted by: LifeBeforePrinciple | December 2, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

BIG difference between the definition of "war president" in regard to Bush and Obama:
Obama inherited the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - one was an obligation after 9/11 (Bin Laden) and the other was an elective war based on lies to the American people (Iraq).

What would you hve him do? Just say "Okay - wars are over - bring all out roops home NOW"? We are caught between a rock and a hard place and his decisions will be shown to be good or bad in the future.

Posted by: Utahreb | December 2, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Kristol never met a war he didn't like. Even if he never fought in one. The President gave the right want they wanted and they're still complaining.

Posted by: jckdoors | December 2, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The key point is not that Obama's actions now in Afghanistan validate the surge in Iraq he orignally opposed; instead, it is that the surge in both places came so late into the process! Our country should have gone into both decisively at the start, rather than the inadequate approach pursued by Mr. Rumsfield.

Posted by: wflood1 | December 2, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

He's a war president. You are the sum total of your actions, escalating the troop level to be able to attack in Southern Afghanistan is a war action.

Posted by: camasca | December 2, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

What is it with chicken hawks like Kristol, Limbaugh, Cheney, O'Reilly, Coulter, Palin . . . Wait a minute! I've only got a total of 5000 characters in this comment, so I'll stop there naming the warmongers who love war, profit from war, but refuse to fight them and, even more disgusting, criticise those who take a considerable amount of time before pursing war. In this case, a war started by their hero, George "Mission Accomplished" Bush.
I once saw Kristol on a panel where one of the talking heads brought up the point that Billy-Boy was, indeed, a chicken hawk and that because of this position he had no right to lambaste those who would seek different, peaceful ways to resolve international conflicts. I'll never forget Kristol's response: 'Sat there in total silence, staring at the person who made the statement. Only when the moderator finally broke the silence did this unabashed coward finally halt his glare at his nemesis. Of course, not a word was said by Kristol in response because there could be none that wouldn't make him look like the foolish coward that he is.
That's what we have here, folks. Lilly-livered cowards whose fangs drip with blood at the thought of armed conflict yet hide behind their mother's skirts when they receive a draft notice or if someone suggests to them that they should take up arms and go join their fellow soldiers on the front lines.
Dicky-Boy Cheney said it best when asked why he didn't get directly involved in fighting the Viet Nam War: "It wasn't a priority of mine."
Yeah.

Posted by: hyjanks | December 2, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Spin it how you like, but Obama is just doing what Bush SHOULD have done,

Considering Iraq had no ties to Al-Quada, no plans to attack us, and no weapons of mass destruction that it was a colossal waste of resources while we didnt commit enough to Afghanistan.

Posted by: kreator6996 | December 2, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

The people leveling these ad hominem attacks are gutless, disgusting, shameful cowards.

Like Mr. Kristol, I oppose this President on most of his policies. Like Mr. Kristol, I applaud the President for making the correct and responsible decision regarding Afghanistan.

There is still a water's edge in American politics.....at least for those of us who love our country and want to protect our citizens and interests.

Those of you creating revisionist histories, leveling truly disgusting racist slurs and otherwise spewing irrational bile should take a moment to reflect on the fact that there are parts of the world where you are executed for such things. Without the US and our allies fighting this fight, Afghanistan is one of those places. And without the US and our allies fighting this fight, the next 9/11 the West will experience will be a mushroom cloud from a Pakistani nuclear weapon.

Posted by: etpietro | December 2, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

These comments are some of the most hate filled/stupid ever posted. You people are LOSERS.

Posted by: dbunkr | December 2, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Advice and criticism from one of the cheerleaders of the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan? Thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: NotFooledTX | December 2, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The insurgents are winning, not on the battlefield, but by driving the United States into bankcruptcy. Time is on their side. At $1,000,000 per soldier per year it won't take too long.

Posted by: robfield | December 2, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations, war monger. When will your lust for blood be sated? Health care? Gnash your death. War? no budget problems here.

Posted by: SarahBB | December 2, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, teeth, not death. War is the ultimate death panel though. I'm sure we'll read all about it on Sarah Palin's facebook page.

Posted by: SarahBB | December 2, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I considering myself one of the biggest neocons to walk the face of the earth, yet I find myself siding with Michael Moore in this case. It seems so unbecoming to see President Obama morphing into Bush. The big O was supposed to be the AntiBush, yet he is proving to be more and more like Bush in reckless spending and war making as the days go by. M. Moore and those like him cried tears of happiness when O won the election and now are crying tears of sadness. Even from a Neocon viewpoint it's a sad story. Not that alone, but if you think the libbers are sad now, wait until the 2010 and 2012 elections. Oh! The rage...

Posted by: donclampett | December 2, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Like John Kerry, Barack Obama is a flip-flopper, except he was against the war before he was for it…uh…then he was against it again…and then he’s…uh…for it…uh…maybe.

Now, he is both for the war and against the war.

It’s great shell game for the flimflam man. Obama sends in more troops to appease conservatives, but promises to have them out to appease liberals in a few years…uh…right after the next presidential election. How convenient.

Now all of us can vote for Obama, but remember when a politician promises everything, we end up with nothing.

Posted by: Jerzy | December 2, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Kristol - you conservative opinionators just never stop throwing the stuff against the wall to see what sticks. You are no better than Beck, Hannity, Coulter, O'Reilly, Gerson, Krath, Goldberg - all of you should have your tongues cut out and your hands severed. That will allow the rest of us some peace of mind.

Posted by: ScottChallenger | December 2, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

it is sickening to see the anti-semitic
underbelly of America -
post racial?
I think not.

Posted by: suzannesl | December 2, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Herr Kristol. First let us state the obvious. Your an idiot.

The Afghan War was the right war in response to 9/11. You and the traitors the Dick Cheney, GW Bush, Rumsfeld, etc. then decided that we would abandon Afghanistan in favor of an illegal war based on trumped up evidence instead of fighting the enemy we KNEW was responsible. In doing so you and your gang of traitors allowed Osama to escape in Tora Bora and have the Taliban & al Qaeda grow in power again. Now, because of YOU and your gang of traitors the Taliban is expanding into Pakistan which could lead to a Nuclear Islamic State. The Afghan War is the right war to be fighting. Omaba inherited this mess that was orchestrated through incompetence, ignorance, bravado and treason. Yes he is a war President. He became one on Jan. 20th 2009. Billy, you are a dumb a55.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | December 2, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party has never been anti-war. Yes, there have been contenders for the presidency, such as Eugene McCarthy, who have taken that mantle, but the two most serious wars of the 20th century were fought during Democratic administrations, and the third and fourth most serious (Korea a d Vietnam) were initiated by one. The charge that Democrats as a group are too soft to wage war is a Republican red herring. In fact, the bush administration demonstrated that Republicans may talk the talk, but don't always walk the walk; Bush supporters like to tout the surge, but it took six years of terrible mismanagement before Bush took away the management of the war from Rumsfeld and his neo-con cronies for this to happen. Also Republicans fail to acknowledge that the resurgence of the Taliban and the unraveling of the early success in that arena took place during the Bush administration; also the failure to snatch or kill Bin Laden during a ripe opportunity is a Bush administration failure. Be that as it may, Obama cannot eagerly accept the mantle of "war president." He is a politician, and politicians have to stay in the good graces of their constituency (the continual yammering about politicians making decisions based on politics is so disingenuous); for this effort he has the support of the Republicans, but they will not vote for him. He has to make this decision palatable for as many liberal Democrats as possible to retain their support. It may be a sad fact, but any decision made by a politician must factor in political realities. In democracies a consensus must be reached for any course of action.

Posted by: csintala79 | December 2, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama is in over his head; his inexperience is showing.

--------------------------------

Thank you for the insight, general.

Posted by: sr31 | December 2, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Kristol... what a whiner.

Posted by: ked22 | December 2, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

As usual, Kristol can say nothing without a partisan bite (i.e., the claim Obama implicitly acknowledges he was wrong on the Iraq surge implemented by the Bush administration after the 2006 election). The balance of Kristol's comment is devoted to supporting his claim Obama's war strategy is "consistent" with Bush's policy.

What Kristol fails to point out is Obama's policy is consistent with Obama policy both pre and post election. Right or wrong, Obama campaigned on a claim Bush fought the wrong war at the wrong time. Obama's position was consistent in the claim that Bush allowed our war effort in Afghanistan to be diminished and diverted by an unnecessary war in Iraq. Had Bush followed the policy advocated by Obama, we would still have Saddam Hussein, a murderous butcher. Yet, he was contained and never presented the danger Al Qquaida did and does. Moreover, had Bush followed the policy of Colin Powell at the start of Iraq war, and the strategy for which General Shinseki lost his job (the need for double the troops and force sent to Iraq), there is a reasonable claim the surge would never have been necessary.

If Kristol wishes to recount positions on war strategy, he should do so accurately and honestly. We are left with a question with an unknown and probably unknowable answer. Had Bush devoted the same resources to defeating Al Quaeda in Afghanistan (something every conservative now pounds daily, but seemingly forgot for the last five years of the Bush administration), would the war have been won long ago?

If Kristol wishes to criticize Obama and Democrats for opposing the surge effort in 2007, he should do so honestly and accurately. He should include the whole of the war record of the prior administration and explain to all of us why Bush took from the start of the Iraq war in March of 2003 until following a miserable election performance by Republicans in 2006 to adopt a surge stategy that was not much different than that advocated by Senator McCain and others long before Bush adopted it. He should acknowledge our present predicament in Afghanistan and Pakistan grew out of war strategy that long preceded the 2008 election.

Posted by: kermit5 | December 2, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Charles Krauthammer's birth name was Shecky Schlomo Krautheimer, why did he change his name. Charles , Bill Kristol, Bernie and Jonah Goldberg along with Podhoretz, Kagan, Frum,Ben Stein and all of the American Enterprise Institute's War Mongers are having an orgasm this A.M. over Obama's War escalation . It is the Neo-Cons main agenda and then they plan on Nuking Iran soon as they can get enough power . AIPAC will one day run America if they are not stopped.

Posted by: orionexpress | December 2, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Another Neocon pushing this warfare state further into bankruptcy. Iran and/or Venezuela is next.

Posted by: FatLibertarian | December 2, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

1) You can not fight a war based on George W Bush's Big Lie -- a lie that Billy Kristol has gone out of his way to create and promote: that Sept 11 occurred because "they hate our freedoms".

2) The Post's own archives has Bin Laden's TV interviews from 1997 in which Bin Laden said why Al Qaeda was declaring war: that the US government killed 600,000 children with sanctions during the 1990s --forcing them to drank water polluted with diseases, that the US Government has long supported Israeli massacres of the Palestinians (by bombing Gaza apartment buildings in the middle of the night with US F16s, for example) and that the US Government has propped up the puppet dictators of Saudi Arabia for decades in order to steal the oil of the Saudi People.
Yet --as Harvard professor Ernest May admitted to New Republic -- the 911 Commission could not tell the families of the 911 victims why the attack occurred because it was too hot politically.

3) Al Qaeda ranks somewhere around the Crips in military power -- but we have wasted $Trillions fighting them because of a massive coverup of WHO in the USA provoked Sept 11.

If we want to destroy Al Qaeda we have to isolate them from 1 billion Muslims -- so that someone will place phone calls telling us where the leaders are, for example.

4) But we can't do that --because the Islamic world knows that the US Government is run by liars in service to the billionaires of the Israel Lobby and Big Oil. Liars who have not only killed several hundreds thousand Iraqis but also 7000 plus Americans with their deceit.

5) If some grieving parent who lost a son in Iraq blew Billy Kristol's automobile 50 feet in the air -- with Billy Kristol inside of it -- I would not convict that parent if I was on the jury.

And if Al Qaeda promised to plow a 757 airliner into the Washington Post building, you could make a hypothetical argument that it would be in the National Interest for the American People to buy Al Qaeda the plane tickets.

Posted by: DonWilliams1 | December 2, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I hope Mr. Kristol doesn't have children. It would be a travesty to procreate & pass on the "idiot genes" to the progenies...not fair for the progenies either. I haven't seen a singularly clueless "jounalist" who is able to make a living out of it. God save America!

Posted by: sarvenk63 | December 2, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

DonWilliams1- there are some sickos who pop up on these threads from time to time but you win a prize.It will probably be presented by some FBI guys who will want to have a little chat when they knock on your front door....deservedly so.

Posted by: bowspray | December 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Bin Laden is in Afghanistan. For anyone interested in justice for 911, this is a great day. For people who have forgotten 911 already, this is not.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | December 2, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Kristol and other chicken hawk neocons,would have us in Afghanistan for how long, to what end? Bring the troops home now and if Kristol, et al. feel so strongly about US interests there - in that barren, alien, godforsaken place - then strap on a weapon and go. Don't count on it though - they prefer others to fight and die for THEIR bankrupt causes.

Posted by: winston686 | December 2, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

To bowspray at 11:42:

So did Billy Kristol and the Washington Post find Saddam Hussein's nukes yet?

The "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

Curious phrase, that. VERY vague re exactly what "weapons". Almost looks like it was a phrase crafted specifically for political deceit.

Sounds very alarming but is largely fact free when you actually examine it.

Posted by: DonWilliams1 | December 2, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Well written analysis.

Those who would like to cast dispersion on it, do so with a lack of any coherent logic.

Face it. Obama is essentially embracing the strategy employed in Iraq. This is a Defacto acknowledgment that the surge was the correct move in Iraq.

He is also saying that the war in Afghanistan is important for American and world security.

Those who like Michael Moore would choose to play partisan politics with this are running a fool's errand.

Posted by: postfan1 | December 2, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

whatever you think of Obama's decision certainly should NOT be influenced by Kristol who's "expertise" on military matters exists only in his mind; remember Iraq?

Posted by: michael5 | December 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

obama's cinderella war

the war against al qaeda is a "vital national interest" obama says

and he is right

but then obama says the "vital national interest" disapppears in 18 months--july 2011 --just like cinderellla's coach turns into a pumpkin at midnight

it must be a coincidence that this is just before his reelection

obama does not understand--war is for keeps

war is not like cinderella's midnight curfew

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 2, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Amazing...a politician acknowledging that his campaign ideas do not represent reality...Good idea from Obama...better late than never...One question for the lefty loonies on this page...When is Obama gonna get Osama? I thought that was why we were fighting in Afghanistan. What a bunch of lapdogs.

Posted by: rockinravenmaniac | December 2, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Bill, but you can't equivocate Iraq and Afghanistan. There was a clear reason to go into Afghanistan. There was no reason, clear or unclear, to go into Iraq. There were no WMDs; the so called "evidence" was a work of fiction. Powell was lied to and his reputation intentionally sacrificed by the neocons. Bush could have gotten the job over and done with in Afghanistan; Bin Laden could have been captured and could have now been rotting in solitary confinement-no longer a threat, and also no martyr.

Instead, W. wanted revenge against the man who put a contract on his pappa's head. Iraq was "contained" and would have remained a counterbalance to Iran if left alone. As it is, Al Qeda, which wasn't in Iraq, now IS in Iraq. Further, Iraq is now highly vulnerable to Iranian ambition.

Please, Bill, do not make false equivocations. They lead to wrong perceptions and bad decision making.

Posted by: tharriso | December 2, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Barry is as phony as is so called man caused Global Warming.

All the Libs believe in, support or have as a cause de jour is based on Lies, Deceit and Snake Oil.

Posted by: jas7751 | December 2, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Liberal Democrats warn us how terrible it would be if we do nothing about the health care or global-warming problems. But about Afghanistan they feel no such urgency. The rest of us Americans remember that Al-Quada terrorists trained in Afghanistan under the Taliban before and if the Taliban succeeds they could do it openly. What is it about the liberal mind that closes when issues of national security arise? I did not vote for Obama but he is at least partly right on this decision. He was wrong to announce exactly when we will begin to withdraw. That is no way to wage a war.

Posted by: mhr614 | December 2, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I share the disgust with Kristol's usual gloating...but he's got a point. Obama has been a fan of the Afghan conflict for the duration and now he's stuck with it. But his assertion that McChrystal could fight the war as he chooses "in order to win" is certainly just another of his neocon fantasies. Counter-insurgency, wherever it is tried, is an open ended commitment intended to force the will of one entity over another. That is exactly why Obama used a vague deadline rather than a specific exit strategy. He's telling the generals to "get-er dun" and get the hell out. That ain't open ended.
There's that question again. What is winning anyway? Wars seldom end in anything but muddled circumstances. WW2 may have had a signature ceremony on a carrier but led immediately into the cold war. The civil war had the ugly reconstruction. Vietnam...well, maybe Nike is winning the war now...that took a while. Kristol needs only look to his beloved Israel. How's "winning" in that area of the world working out?

Posted by: mfkpadrefan | December 2, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Young soldiers who embody what’s finest about our country"........finer than our teacher, nurses, doctors, social workers, etc? We are such an militaristic imperialist nation and we are going broke from it.

Posted by: truthdog | December 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Of course, what Mr. Kristol and other conservatives conveniently fail to mention while comparing Obama's policy announced yesterday to "the surge" is that contrary to Afghanistan, there was no justification for the war in Irak (WMD??); therefore, there should not have been any need for "the surge." Perhaps then, Mr. Obama would not have inherited this mess.

Posted by: earreaza | December 2, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse


Not profitable to be furiouis with this nasty sneering little punk, is it?

For those of us who think he's not really American.

He's an Israel first zionist. Trying to ruin anything that doesn't pander to Israel...and Obama doesn't. And Americans and the whole world are sick of Israel.

That Kagan writes today in the same paper,
is no surprise. Where's Wolfowitz?

And did we miss the little sneak paragraph that always accompanies such....a reason to bomb Iran...or at least hate anything Islam.

Posted by: whistling | December 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I am over 60 years old and there has NEVER been anything but war (large and small) Presidents in my life time. I had hopes that Obama would at least slow that trend. I was wrong.

Posted by: mitlen | December 2, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse


gadlut

so...no one can say anything anti-semitic even if it's true? Particularly if it's true?

Given the tenor of conclusions and feelings, in America and in Europe, for example,

you'd better get used to it! The phony PC that was humped on us by the jewish owned media for these three or four decades is
over...

Madoff,
the Wall Street blowup which the world blames, according to polls, on "American Jews" and Wolfowitz, Kagan and Kristol, to name just a few.

Or keep screeching your same old stuff and
exaberate the situation.

Posted by: whistling | December 2, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo has almost a full complement of Neo-Cons commenting on the President's speech announcing more troops for Afghanistan (we are just missing the vile Charles Krauthammer). And not a single one of them has a single comment to make about the failure of the Bush Administration to conduct this war. Not one. That's how blinkered and hopeless they are.

Posted by: gposner | December 2, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Obama War Strategy--per Groucho Marx:

Hello, I must be going.
I cannot stay,
I came to say
I must be going.
I'm glad I came
but just the same
I must be going.

For my sake you must stay,
for if you go away,
you'll spoil this party
I am throwing.


I'll stay a week or two,
I'll stay the summer through,
but I am telling you,
I must be going.


It's either that or "Do the Hokey-Pokey"

You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out,
You put your right hand in,
And you shake it all about,

You do the hokey pokey
and you turn yourself around
That what it's all about.

What a goofy to prosecute a war!

Posted by: h3j2c2t1a | December 2, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

WAR from a Nobel Peace Prize president. WAR does NOT make PEACE!!!!

Those of us who were around for the whole Vietnam horrific WAR, say HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF for those that do not learn from it.

Yes, President Obama is a WAR PRESIDENT. Too bad this president does not spend OUR BILLIONS upon BILLIONS to FEED our 1 out 8 STARVING AMERICANS. I guess a WAR ON POVERTY HERE!!! is not for Obama. One could say THIS president is NOT in touch with the American people.

Posted by: librairie | December 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's remember the campaign of 2008: obama has done EXACTLY what he said that he'd do, so feigning outrage just means you were looking at him and not listening to him.

That said, ANYTHING that Kristol thinks is a good idea is, by definition, the absolute wrong way to go. He has been on the wrong side of every debate over the last decade, and any examination of his columns and comments over that time illustrate it. I do NOT get the warm tinglies when Bill the Boob decides something is just a boffo idea.

Posted by: bklyndan22 | December 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse


Kristol's readers detest him, mostly.
Explicitely.

Isn't it interesting. Must be unique even among the neocons now so rejected.

To understand, read the words of the nasty little PUNK:


"FOLISH EAGERNESS
"PSUEDO DEADLINE
"WITH THE ClAIM
"TOO CUTE BY HALF
"SILLY HURRUMPHING..."

The words of a serious journalist or a petulant brat. Who brought forth Sarah Palin, he and Lieberman.
Sounds as tho they believe they are losing.

Posted by: whistling | December 2, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

No, Obama is far less a war president than a former candidate who, to win the presidency accused the Republicans of neglecting Afghanistan. but he would make it the central front in the war on terror, and fight it to victory. That was Obama's gambit for smothering the mistake of calling Iraq unwinnable and the surge worse than useless. He out-hawked McCain on Afghanistan to sound tough and secure the election.

That is how we got to yesterdays' speech. Expanding the Afghan fight won't make the US more safe or defeat terror. Al-Qaeda does not need Afghanistan or the Taliban. It does not even need Pakistan. There are plenty of other places where Osama's boys can make their HQ, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Mauritania, etc. In fact, terror does not need al-Qaeda. The terror bombings of the London subway and the Madrid train occurred independently of al-Qaeda, Afghanistan or Pakistan. So too Sunday's bombing by Muslim terrorists of a train outside Saint Petersburg which killed 29 people.

Afghanistan is about a promise Obama made in order to get elected. He did not agonize or wrestle over that tack. He jumped at it as a way to get the hawk's vote. That is why American blood and taxpayer money will now be spent, prodigiously.

But people like Kristol, who should be exposing this scandal, are happy. Because their idea of being conservatives means supporting every war. Such foolishness.

I backed Iraq. There the US had a huge stake. In Afghanistan we have no vital interests. Even if we prevail, it won't make us safer, richer, more respected. It will merely back up the selfish campaign promise of a narcissistic politician.

Posted by: nacllcan | December 3, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

It is impossible to take the Washington Post seriously with Bill Kristol as a columnist.

Posted by: gipper01 | December 3, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"and he will have retroactively, as it were, acknowledged that he and his party were wrong about the Iraq surge in 2007"

Oh you wacky neocons, always trying with the revisionist history and false equivalences.

Just as you will never stop your dishonesty about the Iraq war, the majority of Americans will not let you nor anyone else forget how the 42nd administration lied, cajoled, manipulated through fear and harassed any detractors into supporting an invastion of Iraq.

We had no business being in Iraq especially considering the woefully inadequate measures taken by that time against the powers who attacked the United States - al Quaeda and the Taliban.

Posted by: washpost18 | December 3, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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