February 16, 2008
Schwarz on Kristol
At TomDispatch, Jon Schwarz uses a particularly foolish performance from William Kristol shortly before the Iraq War as a template for recounting the sorry history of the United States' relations with Saddam Hussein, and the debacle of the subsequent war. I particularly liked this next bit, but it's all good.
Back in 2003, Kristol was also quite certain, almost touchingly so, that the Bush administration would be well served by relying on Iraqi exiles:
"KRISTOL: We have tens of thousands of Shia exiles [who] have come back to help contribute to the liberation of Iraq.This lesson of history goes back a long way. Book II, Chapter XXXI of Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy is titled "How Dangerous It Is to Believe Exiles":
"ELLSBERG: I'm afraid the people who propose this war have failed one lesson of intelligence history, which is not to rely too much on the knowledge of people who have left the country... The people who've come to this country may very well underestimate the desire of those people not to be governed by foreigners."
"It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their country... such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself... A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left either with shame or very grave injury."The Weekly Standard's archives show Kristol has published quite a few articles on how political correctness in elite U.S. universities is strangling the teaching of the Western canon. And you can understand where he's coming from: While Kristol himself received a PhD in government from Harvard, it obviously was during a period when radical multiculturalists had completely expunged Machiavelli from the curriculum. When will the PC brigade ever learn? Teaching Toni Morrison starts wars.