(Daniel Ellsberg debates Bill Kristol on C-SPAN, Mar 28, 2003)
Now that all of the neocons are worked up over the possibility that former Sen. Chuck Hagel might be nominated to be our next Sec. of Defense, it seems there's a little dust up going on between documentary film maker Michael Moore and Iraq war cheerleader, Bloody Bill Kristol.
I just sent this to Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard magazine and one of the most influential advocates of our invasion of Iraq. He posted something this morning about my post where I found an old quote from Chuck Hagel about how the Iraq War is all about the oil. I'll let you know when Bill gets back to me. (If you don't know much about Bill, you can find a good introduction here about his pre-war debate with Daniel Ellsberg.)
Thanks for your post mentioning me! I didn't realize you visited my website so early on Saturday mornings. Man, I wish we had cleaned up after the party last night.
Anyway, I see you're mad that back in 2007 former Sen. Chuck Hagel said that we were obviously "fighting for oil" in Iraq. You explain this was "vulgar and disgusting" and "could be the straw that breaks the back of Hagel's chances" to be Obama's next Defense Secretary.
Since you feel so strongly about this, I wanted to make sure you heard about four other prominent people who've said the same thing. (I should have mentioned them yesterday with the Chuck Hagel stuff, I apologize.)
• "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." – Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, in his 2007 memoir. (Read about it here. Greenspan then lamely tried to walk this back, when he found out just how politically inconvenient it was…while admitting a Bush White House official told him "unfortunately, we can’t talk about oil.")
• "Of course we should go to war for oil. It's like saying, you're going to war just for oxygen, just for food. We need oil. That's a good reason to go to war." – Ann Coulter, author, April 11, 2011. (Watch her say that here at 37:30.)
• "Of course it’s about oil, it's very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that. From the standpoint of a solider who's now fought in the middle east for six years – my son-in-law's fought there for four years, my daughter's been over there, my son has served the nation – my family has been fighting for a long time." – Gen. John Abizaid, former commander of CENTCOM, October 13, 2007. (Watch Abizaid say this here.)
• "We're not in the middle east to bring sweetness and light to the whole world. That's nonsense. We're in the middle east because we and our European friends and our European non-friends depend on something that comes from the middle east, namely oil." – Midge Decter, author, May 21, 2004. (Listen here, at 35:55.)
I like to think the best about people. I know all you're looking for is an open, honest debate about Chuck Hagel's qualifications – with absolutely no smears or bullying. And because you feel that way, I'm sure you'll want to update what you wrote about Hagel with these quotes, and explain that Alan Greenspan and Ann Coulter and John Abizaid and Midge Decter are vulgar and disgusting and far-left too. Read on...
Digby has more on Moore's post and Midge Decter here: All the neocon Hippies:
In case he forgot, Michael reminds him that Midge was a founding Neocon and that Kristol was with her on the broadcast where she made that remark. You've gotta love it.
But maybe that was too obscure. So many war drums, so little time. Perhaps he'll remember Midge's famous breathless homage to her manly idol:
What Rumsfeld's having become an American sex symbol seems to say about American culture today is that the assault on men leveled by the women's movement, having poisoned the normally delicate relations between men and women and thereby left a generation of younger women with a load of anxiety they are only now beginning to throw off, is happily almost over. It's hard to overestimate the significance of the term "stud" being applied to a man who has reached the age of 70 and will not too long from now be celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary.
She also seemed to think he might precipitously lose his precious bodily fluids at any moment:
He works standing up at a tall writing table, as if energy, or perhaps determination, might begin to leak away from too much sitting down.
I suppose it's possible that Midge was so addled by Rumsfeld's oozing testosterone that she didn't know what she was saying about oil back in 2004. But what do you suppose was Alan Greenspan's excuse?
And here's more on the segment above and Kristol's appearance on C-SPAN which Moore had linked in his post, just nine days after Bush launched the invasion of Iraq: Tomgram: Jonathan Schwarz, Bill Kristol's Obscure Masterpiece:
As Eric Alterman has written, he's the "journalist" of "perpetual wrongness" (as well as an "apparatchik" of the first order and a "right-wing holy warrior"). And for that, he's perpetually hired or published: Fox News, the Washington Post op-ed page, Time Magazine, and most recently, the New York Times where, in his very first column, he made a goof that had to be corrected at the bottom of column two (and where, with his usual perspicacity when it comes to the future, he predicted an Obama victory in the New Hampshire primary). Liberal websites devote time to listing his many mistakes and mis-predictions. In a roiling mass of neocons, right-wingers, and liberal war hawks, he's certainly been in fierce competition for the title of "wrongest" of all when it came to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. ("Iraq's always been very secular") I hardly have to spell out the name of He Who Strides Amongst Us, the editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard. But, okay, for the one person on the planet who doesn't know -- it's Bill Kristol. The notorious Mr. Kristol, the man whose crystal ball never works.
But isn't it the essence of American punditry that serial mistakes don't matter and no one is ever held to account (as in this primary season) for ridiculous predictions that add up to nothing? As New York Times editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal put it after his paper signed Kristol to a one-year contract, "The idea that The New York Times is giving voice to a guy who is a serious, respected conservative intellectual -- and somehow that's a bad thing How intolerant is that?"
How intolerant indeed! Since no one in the mainstream is accountable for anything they've written, the management of the Times can exhibit remarkable tolerance for error in its gesture to the neocon right by hiring a man who's essentially never right. His has been a remarkable winning record when it comes to being right(-wing) by doing wrong. Former Saturday Night Live contributor Jonathan Schwarz pays homage to that record in what follows. Tom
The Lost Kristol Tapes
What the New York Times Bought
By Jonathan Schwarz
Imagine that there were a Beatles record only a few people knew existed. And imagine you got the chance to listen to it, and as you did, your excitement grew, note by note. You realized it wasn't merely as good as Rubber Soul, or Revolver, or Sgt. Pepper's. It was much, much better. And now, imagine how badly you'd want to tell other Beatles fans all about it.
That's how I feel for my fellow William Kristol fans. You loved it when Bill said invading Iraq was going to have "terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East"? You have the original recording of him explaining the war would make us "respected around the world" and his classic statement that there's "almost no evidence" of Iraq experiencing Sunni-Shia conflict? Well, I've got something that will blow your mind!
I'm talking about Kristol's two-hour appearance on C-Span's Washington Journal on March 28, 2003, just nine days after the President launched his invasion of Iraq. No one remembers it today. You can't even fish it out of LexisNexis. It's not there. Yet it's a masterpiece, a double album of smarm, horrifying ignorance, and bald-faced deceit. While you've heard him play those instruments before, he never again reached such heights. It's a performance for the history books -- particularly that chapter about how the American Empire collapsed.
At the time Kristol was merely the son of prominent neoconservative Irving Kristol, former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle (aka "Quayle's brain"), the editor of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard, and a frequent Fox News commentator. He hadn't yet added New York Times columnist to his resumé. Opposite Kristol on the segment was Daniel Ellsberg, famed for leaking the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam era. Their discussion jumped back and forth across 40 years of U.S.-Iraqi relations, and is easiest to understand if rearranged chronologically.
So, sit back, relax, and let me play a little of it for you.
Lots more there with transcript and description of the clip above.