Bill Kristol Self-Parody Alert

America's all-purpose hawk


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The editor of The Weekly Standard wishes we would all just get over World War I already. You can't really appreciate his editorial on the subject unless you experience the inanity in full, but if I had to pick out a representative line, it would be this one: "perhaps a century of increasingly unthinking bitter disgust with our heritage is enough."

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  1. In WWI news: Cool story of melting glaciers releasing dead soldiers in the Alps.

    Also, Bill Kristol is an ASS.

    1. Are they getting up and eating brains?

    2. How did they get buried by a glacier? Were they killed, then the glacier advanced, then now it’s receding exposing them? Or were they killed on the glacier and then somehow sunk into it?

  2. Bill Kristol:

    “Why, o why, won’t people once again embrace the beauty of dying for one’s country?…Other people, I mean, of course.”

    1. Bill Kristol’s piece wasn’t very well written, but he might have a point or two. Doesn’t the idea that nothing is worth dying for kind of cheapen life a little bit? Do people still believe in things bigger then just themselves?

      1. Yes, but those things are decided individually rather than thrust upon people thanks to majoritarian culture.

      2. I would suggest that there’s a wide gulf between the general philosophical concept of “what’s worth dying for” vs. it’s very specific application in regards to nationalism.

      3. Doesn’t the idea that nothing is worth dying for kind of cheapen life a little bit? Do people still believe in things bigger then just themselves?

        I didn’t see that as his point. He seemed to be lamenting the fact that people take skeptical eye toward dying in the latest greatest statist adventure.

      4. If you thought life was not cheap, you might not be in such a hurry to die (or kill) for someone else’s vision of society.

      5. Isn’t the idea that anything is worth dying for, as long as our betters give it a sprinkling of magic government fairy dust pretty disgusting and evil?

  3. I liked him in City Slickers.
    What’s that?
    Bill Kristol?
    Never heard of him.

    1. The one you are talking about hasn’t been funny since Soap, or maybe that SST movie.

      1. Come on, the search for Curly’s gold. Classic. Jack Palance had an identical twin he never bothered to mention. Perfect plot device.

        1. I like when he did those one-handed push-ups at the Oscars or wherever.

      2. -1 Princess Bride

  4. Key was talking about defending the United States not intervening in every pissant feud between semi-barbarians, royalists, and bullies itching for a fight.

    1. Unless he was talking about marching on Washington what the hell does he plan to defend the US from? Yugoslavia?

      1. Isn’t Yugoslavia one of the countries that did not exist in WWI, and no longer exists now?

        1. It came into existence due to the war and was in fact the initial spark of the war.

        2. Depends. What year is it currently?

    2. Key was talking about defending the United States not intervening in every pissant feud between semi-barbarians, royalists, and bullies itching for a fight.

      Bill Kristol’s definition of defending the United States is getting involved in every pissant feud, though. For him, it’s not enough that our government tries to control every aspect of its citizen’s lives, but it has to control everyone else as well. For their own good, natch.

  5. “Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

    It is to our ancestors’ great credit that they neglected that part of “The Star Spangled Banner”.

    1. And it’s one, two, three,
      What are we fighting for ?
      Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
      Next stop is Vietnam;
      And it’s five, six, seven,
      Open up the pearly gates,
      Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
      Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

  6. Last I looked World War I didn’t lead to a rejection of nationalism and patriotism. The US fought both World War II and the Cold War after it. Moreover, to the extent that it did, it was the UK not the US that this happened to. But even the UK still fought nearly to its breaking point in World War II.

    If there was a lasting effect of World War I, it was that it left Europe broke and unable to continue to dominate the world. Europe dominated the world when it fought limited wars with limited objectives. When it embraced total war of the kind fought during the Napoleonic era and most disastrously in the 20th Century, it could no longer dominate the world.

    I think Bill is learning the wrong lesson

    1. von Clausewitz said that “War is…the continuation of politics by other means.”

      In their World Wars (including the Napoleonic Wars) the Europeans forgot this. They got swept away in an orgy of hate, ideology, and nationalism – completely forgetting why they were killing each other and what they hoped to achieve.

    2. There’s a stronger moral argument for involvement in WWII than WWI. But I don’t think even in the modern context Kristol would have too much trouble scaring up volunteers for a worthy fight. Look at the enrollment swell after 9/11. There’s still a sense of honor and patriotism. Just not a foolhardy optimism for every international hobgoblin the government decides to make its official business.

    3. I think Bill is learning the wrong lesson

      That could pretty much sum up every thing he’s ever written.

  7. Doesn’t the idea that nothing is worth dying for kind of cheapen life a little bit?

    Doesn’t the idea of throwing yourself on the pyre for the benefit of a bunch of self-aggrandizing politicians cheapen life a whole fucking lot?

    1. Gotta die of something. Given the choice of dying in say a car crash and dying killing the Nazis or some crazy fuck wanting to blow himself up, the latter sounds better to me.

      1. And you should be free to do so. And I should be free to stay home and take my chances on the highway.

        1. Sure. But I am not sure how you can say either of us wasted our lives.

          And of course, you might not get a choice about chancing it with the Nazis. They get a vote on whether you have to deal with them.

          1. I’d say your odds in trench warfare are probably worse than on the highway, and dying in pursuit of your own goals and desires is vastly preferable to dying in pursuit of your president’s goals and desires. With no disrespect intended to the soldiers who signed up for it, do you think any American who died battling for Fallujah wasn’t a wasted life in light of what’s happening there now? Do you think a single one of them wouldn’t have been better off taking their chances commuting on the highway to work every morning?

            1. WWI is a great example of lives wasted for not very much. How many wars, especially these “total wars,” are actually necessary? I get the situation in WWII was fairly unique, but how many other wars were like that?

              1. Particularly from the American perspective. Not even any national pride at stake.

  8. War glorious war, your kids are going, so open the door.

  9. Kristol really is just making a vague, general, ambiguous pro-war argument. It’s pretty obvious that no one very close to him has ever been murdered senselessly. Good for him. But maybe he could try to exercise a little empathy and muster a modicum of moral imagination?

    Which war? To defend against which enemies, which threat?

    “Oh hell,” Kristol solemnly intones, “who the fuck cares? Any one will do.”

    This guy should be outfitted in fatigues and positioned on the front lines. He makes Teddy Roosevelt seem utterly genuine.

    1. I’ve seen him on the street before. He’s a soft little man with a wobbly gut. I saw John Bolton on the street too and he looked thin and fit, so he’s ready. (I regularly walk past the AEI.)

  10. If just one of these guys with perpetual war boners had ever actually bothered to put on a uniform, that would be nice.

    1. I agree. Presidents should have to at least walk the battle fields and look at the men they got killed. Maybe then they wouldn’t rattle their sabers so often. I imagine pictures and reports don’t convey the true horrors of war.

      1. I’d prefere they made rational, emotion-free decisions. Bloogy rags are can’t be a part of that.

    2. Kennedy and Bush were both veterans. Just sayin’

      1. Bush sr fought in war and waged a restrained war, bush jr was in the guard and gave us the two long wars. Just saying maybe being in actual combat makes you less willing to send people to fight and die.

        1. Maybe – or maybe they were were just in totally different situations a decade apart.

          1. That’s it exactly. Jr. found himself in the situation of being a disastrous idiot.

          2. A valid point. But I have to think facing war personally has to take some of the fantasy out of it. Most Americans grew up watching action movies about war Heroes. I doubt that is anything like reality.

            1. Nope – “Generation Kill” may be most accurate war program ever made. Its accuracy freaked me out.

        2. ush sr fought in war and waged a restrained war, bush jr was in the guard and gave us the two long wars.

          Actually, Bush Sr gave us the long war that his son finished off.

      2. I’m talking about Kristol’s neocon ilk. Seems like the ones who are most eager to blow shit up are the ones who most ostentatiously avoided enlisting (Cheney).

        1. What difference does it make if commenters with no power to send people to war wear a uniform? The people who order men to combat should be the ones to face the reality of their decisions.

          1. I guess I’m just interested in the psychology. Let’s call them war geeks. Far too delicate to fight themselves, but bizarrely obsessed with the idea of making others do it, and not even for any reason they can articulate. They just have a boner for it.

        2. I’m talking about Kristol’s neocon ilk.

          Both Bush’s would fit that description. And as Floridian mentions, the decision ultimately falls on them, not their advisers. Blame ultimately falls on the president and congress.

        3. Tony|1.15.14 @ 10:57AM|#

          …Seems like the ones who are most eager to blow shit up are the ones who most ostentatiously avoided enlisting (Cheney)


          Its almost identical to those spoiled, middle-class effetes who think they know whats best for the poor and vigorously institute policies making their lives even MORE miserable, then spend the rest of their lives patting themselves on the back for being so *socially conscious*.

    3. Many did serve in the military before becoming president and saw plenty of gore” i.e. Grant at Cold Harbor. Only one I can think of offhand to serve afterwards is Vice President John Breckenridge joining the ranks of the Confederacy and leading troops into battle throughout the Civil War.

      1. How dare you bring up The Shame of Kentucky.

        1. I thought Lexington was the Shame of Kentucky.

          1. Breckenridge was from Lexington. Double shame.

          2. inb4 Tony makes a Rand Paul reference…

        2. Rick Pitino’s salary?

    4. Uh, McCain wore the uniform. Not in the same league, but Rumsfeld did, too. So what?

  11. Can’t we acknowledge the meaning, recognize the power, and learn the lessons of 1914 without succumbing to an apparently inexorable gravitational pull toward a posture of ironic passivity or fatalistic regret in the face of civilizational decline?

    Someone missed the fucking point. Ironic passivity? I’m sorry, but you break out the WWI love and you get one response: fuck off, slaver.

  12. Shameless self promotion of me on WWI and the knowledge problem (and a really great book).

    1. “Goodbye to All That” also recommended

        1. yep

          I recently went ballistic on a woman who appropriated the title to describe her profound feelings of conflict *leaving Manhattan for the boroughs*.

          her ‘defense’ was, ‘well I never actually read the book’.

          1. That’s about where most people’s intellectual weight is today, regardless of education level: “I read the title or someone else’s three-line summary.”

          2. She should’ve called it My Struggle.

      1. a wonderful book – if you want to examine horrors of war.

        I also recommend Siegfried Sassoon’s “Memoirs of an Infantry Officer”

  13. Comment from my boyfriend: “Someone needs to watch the fourth season of Blackadder. Or maybe that’s what set him off.”

  14. Nothing says “I love my country!” quite like old men reinstating the draft.

    1. Bully for you sir!

  15. No really = Bill Kristol would be there in the trenches, with the bodies of 75% of his peers floating in blood and shit around him, going, “Really, I think you people fail to see the bright side in all this… Think of the Queen! Doesn’t that just get your heart pumping?! How about another song then?” ohhhhhh We don’t want to fight, but by Jingo if we do, We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too!!…

    1. First song I thought of on reading the piece.

  16. “William Kristol (born December 23, 1952).”

    Hmm. If he was born in 1952, he would have become 18 in 1970. Wasn’t there a war going on in 1970? I could swear there was, yet that can’t be the case, because his Wikipedia biography doesn’t list his Army service.

    1. I don’t know what you’re implying, but I remember when he gave that WWI speech at the Oscars, and I for one am glad he saved himself for that.

    2. He was busy preparing for the gritty life of a public intellectual.

    3. His only regret is that he had but one opportunity to hide @ Harvard.

    4. December 23rd? Fuck, I share my birthday-of-the-year with that guy.

  17. Is the patria in question Israel or the USA?

    1. j0000000000000000000s

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