I've seen way too many extremely obnoxious interviews with chickenhawk neocon Bloody Bill Kristol over the years, and lately he's not just been isolated to the Faux "news" channel or the pages of his National Review. He's been all over cable "news" and network television as well, in what looks like a concerted effort by our corporate media to mainstream him and his far-right agenda.
As bad as most of those segments I've watched have been, this one has to take the cake for being either the worst, or one of the worst ever. First of all, we've got the fake balance between Bill Kristol and The Atlantic's Peter Beinart. Beinart was a supporter of our invasion of Iraq and has since apologized for the error of his ways, but as Bob Dreyfuss noted in his piece at The Nation last year, that doesn't mean he's quite done attacking liberals for their criticisms of neocons just yet.
So he's just exactly the type they love to bring in for supposed "balance" on a show like this one. That said, Kristol's rantings about our troop withdrawal from Afghanistan were too much for even Beinart to take, and things got heated pretty quickly.
Here's the worst of some of the screaming match between the two of them:
JONES: I'm sure that you actually agree with this assessment, and furthermore, it seems to me that Republicans, in particular, love beating up on this president, saying he's not doing enough, but the American people are tired of war. And they don't want us to be more involved. You look at the polling on Ukraine. People don't want us to do more on Ukraine.
Isn't it, in fact, the case the president is right with the American people on being less interventionist?
KRISTOL: The president is supposed to lead. Do you think the president was right in 1994 not to go into Rwanda? I'm sure the polls showed not to get involved. So what if a billion people were slaughtered? The intervention in the Balkans weren't popular. Bill Clinton did it, to his credit. We supported it at "The Weekly Standard." Some Republicans opposed him. They were wrong in that case.
Look, the announcement today on Afghanistan is unbelievably irresponsible. It's one thing to draw it out to 9,800 troops. That's on the low side. Maybe that's enough to sustain the training and counterterrorism mission.
To announce ahead of time we're going to zero troops except for the troops guarding the embassy at the end of 2016 is beyond irresponsible. It's totally crazy. You're telling them we're getting out. What are they going to -- Wait a second. What is wrong with saying -- leaving it and saying, "I'm going to make a judgment based on conditions on the ground."
JONES: What's wrong with open-ended commitment for this country?
KRISTOL: We have sacrificed -- we have sacrificed blood and treasure in that country, and President Obama sent tens of thousands of troops there, and now he is making their sacrifice in vain. I find it sickening.
BEINART: I actually think President Obama was wrong to send additional troops to Afghanistan. And it was wrong. Ii think it was the single biggest failure of his presidency, Obama, because the truth is, we went to Afghanistan...
KRISTOL: How can you support a man who sends tens of thousands of troops to fight...
BEINART: How did you manage to support a man so successfully that sent hundreds of thousands...
KRISTOL: I support that war. Afghanistan was a disaster.
KRISTOL: War in Afghanistan wrong?
BEINART: The war in Afghanistan against the Taliban, yes, against the Taliban, yes, against al Qaeda, no. It was a very important distinction. We don't have enough money in this country to pay people who are unemployed unemployment benefits, according to the Republican Party. Yet we have -- we can continue to send -- to afford tens of thousands of more troops in Afghanistan. When we see what's happening to those troops when they come back, the incredible...
KRISTOL: That's pathetic.
BEINART: That's pathetic?
KRISTOL: You're talking about the veterans as victims.
BEINART: No, I'm not talking about the veterans.
KRISTOL: That's what you said, we see these troops when is they come back. The troops are proud. President of the United States sent them there. The president of the United States -- let me finish -- sent them there, and now he is running a huge risk of undercutting all they achieved.
BEINART: Bill, my sister-in-law served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm very full aware of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of people who served in both wars. She left her small children to do so.
But the fact that our soldiers served honorably wherever they are sent does not mean wherever they are sent is wise in the national interest. The cost to the families and those people has been enormous. And there is nothing in Afghanistan, save preventing another attack on the United States, that is worth it.
JONES: Let me ask a question. How many more years would you be willing to have his relatives, my relatives, your relatives, serve over there? Five more years, ten more years, 30 more years, until -- until Afghanistan looks like Manhattan?
KRISTOL: How many more years do people serve in Korea? How many more years do we leave troops in Japan?
BEINART: There's no insurgency in Korea still.
KRISTOL: It's not clear that there's much of an insurgency left in Afghanistan right now. Very limited American casualties this year, thanks to the surge. And thanks, we just had a successful election in Afghanistan. You correctly touted the successful election in Ukraine. We just had a successful election in Afghanistan. For all the troubles of Afghanistan, it's been a very difficult war. There were mistakes made by Bush and by Obama.
Pretty successful election and what the president of the United States does right on the heels of that election is say forget it, we're gone. What signal does that send to anyone around the world who wants to...?
CUPP: Are you concerned, Peter, what will happen in Afghanistan is what has already happened in Iraq? You know, we successfully went in with a surge. We pulled our troops out too soon. We told them we were going to do so, and it has collapsed yet again into a den of terrorism. Why not commit to the job and leave when the job is done?
BEINART: There is no way that 10,000 more American troops in Afghanistan can defeat the Taliban insurgency and make that a unified country.
CUPP: Well, not when we tell them we're leaving in eight months.
BEINART: It doesn't matter. The reality is...
CUPP: Of course, it matters.
BEINART: It is far beyond America's capacity to build a unified Afghanistan, and I find it remarkable that, when people say we don't have the resources to do basic things like rebuild our infrastructure in the United States, they are willing to say that we should be doing that in Afghanistan. We don't have that capacity. Our focus should be on keeping America safe and rebuilding our alliance.
KRISTOL: I think it's sad -- sad for a spokesman for American liberalism to just wash hands of responsibilities around the world like that.
BEINART: That's exactly not what I'm doing.