Last night in New York, ABC News correspondent John Donovan moderated a debate between the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, former Bush aide Karl Rove, Slate editor Jacob Weisberg and Guardian columnist Sir Simon Jenkins. The most contentious part of the debate came during discussion over the invasion of Iraq, in which Kristol proclaimed outright that the United States has won:
But [Kristol] and Mr. Rove both maintained that while the initial occupation was mismanaged, the surge of troops begun in 2007 has placed the U.S. on the cusp of victory in Iraq.
“We’ve won the war,” Mr. Kristol said.
Kristol did not say if this meant that all U.S. troops could now come home.
The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss notes, “I suppose if one redefines ‘won’ as ‘completely failed to produce any of the positive effects I previously insisted would be forthcoming, but avoided the very worst imaginable outcome,’ then Kristol’s is a plausible statement. Here in the world of words with agreed-upon meanings, however, there is simply no defensible calculus by which the Iraq war can be judged to have been a success for U.S. foreign policy.