George Will savages neocons, dog bites mailman

The chattering classes are salivating over George Will’s assault on the Weekly Standard in his WaPo column today. Now, I must confess that one of my pet peeves in life is how everyone treats it as news when Will criticizes the neoconservatives. Will has never been a neocon and has been being critical of them ...

607805_GeorgeWill5.jpg
607805_GeorgeWill5.jpg

The chattering classes are salivating over George Will's assault on the Weekly Standard in his WaPo column today. Now, I must confess that one of my pet peeves in life is how everyone treats it as news when Will criticizes the neoconservatives. Will has never been a neocon and has been being critical of them for years. Obviously, this doesn't invalidate his criticisms--it just means that it is no more surprising when he attacks them than when his fellow WaPo columnist Richard Cohen does. 

In June 2003, as the neocons celebrated the rapid military victory in Iraq, Will wrote: "Some say the war was justified even if WMDs are not found nor their destruction explained, because the world is "better off" without Saddam Hussein. Of course it is better off. But unless one is prepared to postulate a U.S. right, perhaps even a duty, to militarily dismantle any tyranny--on to Burma?--it is unacceptable to argue that Saddam's mass graves and torture chambers suffice as retrospective justifications for preemptive war." Then in August of that year, he laid into Tony Blair's speech to Congress which had been met with a resounding standing ovation by both Congress and the punditocracy. Discussing Blair's belief that Western values are universal, he opined that "[n]eoconservatives seem more susceptible than plain conservatives are to such dodgy rhetoric and false assertions."

Anyway, I doubt that the facts will get in the way of the narrative here. Get ready for a thousand columns that begin "Even conservative commentator George Will thinks the neoconservatives have gone too far"--except, that is, in the Weekly Standard, where you probably won't be reading Will any time soon either.

The chattering classes are salivating over George Will’s assault on the Weekly Standard in his WaPo column today. Now, I must confess that one of my pet peeves in life is how everyone treats it as news when Will criticizes the neoconservatives. Will has never been a neocon and has been being critical of them for years. Obviously, this doesn’t invalidate his criticisms–it just means that it is no more surprising when he attacks them than when his fellow WaPo columnist Richard Cohen does. 

In June 2003, as the neocons celebrated the rapid military victory in Iraq, Will wrote: “Some say the war was justified even if WMDs are not found nor their destruction explained, because the world is “better off” without Saddam Hussein. Of course it is better off. But unless one is prepared to postulate a U.S. right, perhaps even a duty, to militarily dismantle any tyranny–on to Burma?–it is unacceptable to argue that Saddam’s mass graves and torture chambers suffice as retrospective justifications for preemptive war.” Then in August of that year, he laid into Tony Blair’s speech to Congress which had been met with a resounding standing ovation by both Congress and the punditocracy. Discussing Blair’s belief that Western values are universal, he opined that “[n]eoconservatives seem more susceptible than plain conservatives are to such dodgy rhetoric and false assertions.”

Anyway, I doubt that the facts will get in the way of the narrative here. Get ready for a thousand columns that begin “Even conservative commentator George Will thinks the neoconservatives have gone too far”–except, that is, in the Weekly Standard, where you probably won’t be reading Will any time soon either.

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

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