Memory Lapse

William Kristol complains that’s “Alex” ad is a slap in the face to soldiers.

The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve — and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.

And the sole responsibility of others.

Can someone remind me when Kristol served in the military? I’m drawing a blank (she said, snarkily).

Just a few days ago, Kristol explained to Faux Nooz audiences that if Barack Obama becomes a clear favorite in the presidential race, President Bush would be forced to go ahead and bomb Iran. Otherwise, the job could wait for President McBush.

I think that if Kristol is so fired-up eager to attack Iran, we should give him a helmet and rifle and a plane ticket to Tehran. Go for it, dude. Let us know how it turns out.

Kristol conflates a reluctance to fight in Iraq with a reluctance to defend America. This is the same claim righties made during the Vietnam years — that those opposed to the war were opposed to defending America. But of course, “fighting in Vietnam” and “defending America” were two entirely different things.

As I’ve said before, we Boomers were raised to be idealistic and naive. The first wave of Boomers were children during the hyper-patriotic post World War II era, remember. We were taught to revere the flag and John Wayne. Boys in particular spent their childhood re-fighting Iwo Jima in surburban back yards. Had there been a genuine threat to America, and a genuine need to go to war, I believe my brother Boomers would have responded at least as well as our fathers did.

Instead, for many muddied and ignoble reasons, our idealism was betrayed with Vietnam, a war I’m sure Kristol supported enthusiastically as an undergraduate at Harvard even as he managed to avoid fighting in it.

So who’s being selfish and infantile, Bill?

Young people today seem a lot more grounded than we were back then. They are much less naive, at least. I can’t speak to the idealism issue; that’s hard to measure. But this may be the first generation since those of 1776 and 1860 that will be called on to re-evaluate the entire issue of nation, and why we have one. Good luck with that.

Update: See Mustang Bobby.

11 thoughts on “Memory Lapse

  1. I agree with your sentiments in this posting. I saw the title of the column this morning and didn’t bother to read it. I’m very tempted to send a letter to the editor though, asking just that question… when did Kristol ever wear a uniform.

  2. Leave it to a vainglorious chickenhawk like Kristol to completely misunderstand the ad. His continued presence on the NYT editorial page is a disgrace.

  3. So that’s your reply to the substance of Kristol’s piece?
    “You never served in the military! So there!”

    How incredibly shallow and sophomoric.

    Is it your contention that only those who have served can have an opinion on matters of war?

  4. Is it your contention that only those who have served can have an opinion on matters of war?

    Of course not, and only a brainwashed rightie — but I repeat myself — could have misread what I wrote to come to that conclusion. How incredibly stupid and hypocritical.

    Hypocrisy is the issue, child. Kristol is calling other people selfish for not wanting to fight in a pointless war, when he himself managed to avoid service in another pointless war. He has no moral right to complain about people who think fighting war is “the sole responsibility of others” when he’s never done it himself.

    Anyone with even average critical thinking and reading skills could have seen that, but you’re a rightie. So you couldn’t see it.


  5. Kristol wrote a letter to Clinton in ’98 advising him to take military action in Iraq. The same Kristol is now all ‘gung-ho’ for the same being meted out in Iran.

    There is a school of thought which suggests that men who have chosen not to serve in the military in the time of war – think Kristol, Bush, Cheney… – carry in them a self-imposed sense of guilt. How they ‘deal’ with that guilt is to become hawks of the first order. I can’t put together the guilt of not serving with being a hawk, but maybe someone else can.

  6. If nothing else, Maha, Kristol’s thinking, what little there seems to be of it, is amazingly sloppy given the ‘billiant’ label bequeathed him by his fellow righties. By calling others selfish for not wanting to fight in a pointless war, he has of course admitted the same of himself having opted not to go to Nam.

  7. …the bad Billy Kristol is a True Defender Of The Faith. He probably feels a deep sense of personal investment in the Iraq occupation – even though that investment, in the sense of any actual tangible loss potential, is so miniscule as to be undetectable to the most sophisticated measurement techniques. As a result, he will engage in whatever degree of fabulation necessary to combat attacks on The Faith like the Moveon ad. Rather than misunderstanding the ad, he is intentionally misrepresenting the underlying premise in order to Defend The Faith. On the political battleground that is the Iraq occupation, this sort of drivel is all we have heard or will ever hear from Kristol and the rest of the pro-invasion gang…

  8. Here’s a weird creepy thought for you; that right now there’s some young college Republican, who is now choosing not to go to Iraq, but will favor some other imperial adventure several decades from now.

    But fear not; in the dorm room next door is a future maha.

  9. At the Personal Democratic Forum today there was an interesting talk about generations from Morley Winograd entitled “The Rise of a Civic Generation.” I don’t know if this is going to be posted anywhere, but he feels that there is a “Civic Generation” every 80 years, and we are about to get another one starting now.

    Digging a little, I find that there is a book about this and a web site – .

  10. I think that if Kristol is so fired-up eager to attack Iran, we should give him a helmet and rifle and a plane ticket to Tehran.

    Kamikaze pilot training doesn’t take too long. Let’s see how dedicated he really is.

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