On Fox News this morning, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol said that the escalation in Iraq should be extended at least “another six months” or even “another year or so.” “Is the cost of losing in Iraq great enough that we need to stretch our Army and Marines for another year or so,” asked Kristol rhetorically. “I think the President’s gonna make that decision.”
Kristol also attempted to spin the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released yesterday, which described a failure of the escalation to successfully provide sufficient security for Iraqis, heralding it as proof that “the surge clearly is working” and that current troop levels should be maintained for “another six months or so.” Watch it:
Kristol’s hawkish desire to “stretch our Army and Marines” for “another year or so” is in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff, whose outgoing chairman, Gen. Peter Pace, “is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military.”
But disregarding the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is nothing new for Kristol. In December 2006, when the Bush administration began arguing for the current troop escalation, the Joint Chiefs unanimously disagreed with the strategy. For his part, Kristol has never served in the military and was one of the most cocksure voices pushing for the current escalation strategy.
Additionally, Kristol’s interpretation of the NIE is dishonest. While the report observed some “measurable but uneven improvements” in Iraq’s security situation, it also cautioned that violence will remain high, the national government will become more “precarious” and the refugee crisis will continue to worsen due to sectarian violence. Hardly a situation that can be deemed as “clearly working.”