Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and fellow neoconservative Frederick Kagan have consistently been wrong in their predictions about Iraq. Last year, Kristol claimed an escalation would “improve our chances of winning.” Kagan proclaimed at the end of April, “We are turning a corner in Iraq.” But May was the deadliest month this year for U.S. soldiers.
This week, Kristol and Kagan renewed their calls for a defense of the status quo in Iraq. Writing an op-ed in the Weekly Standard, Kristol and Kagan call for unbridled support of the failing escalation:
This is no time to hedge or hesitate. Now is the time to put everything behind making the president’s strategy — which looks to be a winning strategy — succeed.
Recycling the talking point that debate over the war “undermines the efforts of our commanders in the field,” they respond to reports suggesting increased conservative dissatisfaction by calling on Bush to authoritatively squash all dissenting opinion on Iraq:
Congressional battles calling into doubt our commitment to winning in Iraq have been the major threat to progress since the president began pursuing the right strategy in January. The president, supported by congressional Republicans, has beaten back that threat. Now he needs to deal with his own administration, which has not made up its collective mind to support the president’s strategy wholeheartedly. Mixed messages from Bush’s advisers and cabinet undermine the efforts of our commanders in the field.
Calling the State Department’s recent talks with Iran and Syria “fantasy diplomatic solutions,” Kristol and Kagan instead advocate that “[d]iplomatic engagement by itself is a trap,” suggesting, as they both have before, that America should only deal militarily with Iraq’s neighbors. Such a policy would likely accelerate nuclear development in Iran and has been swiftly rejected by top U.S. military commanders.
Kristol and Kagan aim for a single objective: more war. As Glenn Greenwald noted, “What they [Kristol and Kagan] seek — by their own acknowledgment — is a conflict with Iran and Syria, and they want to stay in Iraq because that is how that goal can be achieved.”