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Bill Kristol Still Really Upset You All Don’t Love War as Much as He Does

Kirell: Bill Kristol Still Really Upset You All Don't Love War as Much as He Does

Bill Kristol really doesn’t do much to disprove the adage that he’s never met a war he didn’t love.

Two months ago, we witnessed Kristol take to the web space of The Weekly Standard to lament how Americans just need to grow a set of cajones and stop being bitter about World War I so that we, as a country, can get back to kicking ass and taking names worldwide.

“[P]erhaps a century of increasingly unthinking bitter disgust with our heritage is enough,” he implored back then. But clearly you ungratefully dovish Americans haven’t listened in those two months, because Kristol’s at it again today:

[E]ven though the two world wars of the last century had more satisfactory outcomes, their magnitude was such that they couldn’t help but induce a significant sense of war-weariness. And history shows that they did.

So American war-weariness isn’t new. 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.

Kristol went on to cite a “courageous” Wall Street Journal letter-to-the-editor, which bemoaned defense budget cuts as stemming from “a reluctance to face unpleasant truths—one of which is that power, like nature, abhors a vacuum.” The cuts, this humble laywoman wrote, “ensure that we will be woefully unprepared to face the next test. We are so weary that we are falling asleep.”

“Well said,” Kristol wrote in response. “If only Republican elected officials were half as clear-minded and nearly as courageous as Ms. Szrom in taking on the claim that we all need to defer to, to bow down to, our own war-weariness. In fact, the idol of war-weariness can be challenged.”

Yes, the “idol” of reluctance to commit trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives, and countless precious resources to spreading democracy at gunpoint can be challenged. And how? Kristol beseeches our nation’s leaders to “awaken” and “rally” the war-weary public.

“Will no brave leader step forward to honorably awaken us from our unworthy sleep?” he asked, grieving that a future crop of Republicans may compete over who can say “I assure you nobody ends up being more war-weary than me” the loudest. Heaven forbid!

It really sounds as though Kristol is nostalgic for those idyllic days when his magazine was able to advertise itself as the preferred reading of the Bush White House.

Meanwhile, back in reality, it’s important to remember that war-weariness is not isolationism; and that defense cuts are not the end of the world. Even if Bill Kristol and his cohorts deeply want to scare you into believing as much.

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