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William Kristol gives thousands of Americans hope. He shows us that a mediocrity can find a home as a columnist at The New York Times. His latest column, discussing—well, what exactly is it discussing? It’s hard to make any sense of it. It starts as a justification of Israeli operations in Gaza and quickly transforms itself into a call for war against Iran. The Gaza operation is, after all, just a warm-up. I just came across Joe Klein’s dissection of Kristol’s column in Time:
Kristol is a cagey guy. He benefits from the delusion of Iranian potency. The more menacing and evil Iran seems, the stronger the arguments for the war that Kristol and many other Jewish neoconservatives really want: a U.S. attack on Iran to make the world safe for Israel (as if such a war could or would accomplish that). He comes very close to endorsing that in his last paragraph…
In the end, Kristol’s saber-rattling is the death rattle of a simplistic, extremist ideology that has caused the U.S. great damage. A more sensible, centrist approach to international affairs won’t have the bang or melodrama of military kinetics. It will take time to work, if it works. But it also won’t have the bloodshed and torture that have stained our nation’s history these past eight years.
There are two weeks left. The Neocons may yet get their cherished war—not this silly skirmish in Gaza, but the real war they’ve always wanted, the one with Iran.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”