Weekly Standard editor and neoconservative leader Bill Kristol is fed up with America’s loss of appetite for war and he wants Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) — who is running for the U.S. Senate in Arkansas — to help him out.
“American war-weariness isn’t new,” Kristol wrote in a piece published on Monday. “Using it as an excuse to avoid maintaining our defenses or shouldering our responsibilities isn’t new, either. But that doesn’t make it admirable.”
On this anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, which Kristol and his friends whole-heartedly championed, he called on Republicans to rally Americans into believing that using military action to solve the country’s problems can be acceptable again. “A war-weary public can be awakened and rallied. Indeed, events are right now doing the awakening. All that’s needed is the rallying. And the turnaround can be fast,” he implored.
Exactly one year ago, Kristol published what is essentially the exact same plea he made this week. “The task of GOP political leaders is to educate the public about the dangers of the world and to inspire people to rise above their [war] weariness,” he wrote in a March 18, 2013 Weekly Standard article.
The man for the job? Tom Cotton. “He’s not stale or moss-covered,” Kristol said at the time. “A combat veteran, he understands real war weariness. But he also understands it needs to be resisted and overcome.”
It’s no secret that Kristol prefers the military option in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. Perhaps that’s why he’s re-launching his war-isn’t-so-bad campaign: the U.S. and its international partners (the P5+1) are closer to resolving the nuclear stand-off with Iran diplomatically than they were a year ago and polling continues to show that Americans prefer diplomacy over war with Iran.
On Iran, Cotton is on Kristol’s page. Last November, when Iran and the P5+1 reached their first step nuclear agreement in Geneva — one the American public, experts and most on Capitol Hill widely praised — Cotton called it a “humiliating defeat” for the U.S. and a “total victory” for Iran. And Cotton called for imposing additional sanctions on Iran even though doing so would violate the terms of the Geneva agreement and push the U.S. closer to war with Iran.
Last May, Cotton even introduced legislation to punish the family members of people who violate Iran sanctions, a measure that was widely panned as unconstitutional. The Arkansas Republican quietly withdrew the measure after discussions with the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Will no brave leader step forward to honorably awaken us from our unworthy sleep?” Kristol asked in his piece this week. But if Cotton loses his Senate bid, who can the neocons enlist to rally Americans away from their war-weariness? Marco Rubio? Or perhaps Duncan Hunter.