Rarely do I write merely to rant. I work to comment, calmly, and yet, in this moment, I must rage against a political machine, the neo-conservative machine. Tonight automaton Bill [William] Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, chairman, and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, was among the guests featured on the News Hour. He spoke in his typical controlled and composed manner. He attempted to be jovial and conversant. However, when when the topic of Cindy Sheehan was posed his demeanor changed, instantly.
When asked of the anti-war phenomenon Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant offered, what for me, is a truth. He said, “Cindy Sheehan became a metaphor for America’s impatience, frustration, and ambivalence about the continuing American involvement. However, “It’s much bigger than her.”
Kristol rebuffed this assessment, stating, “I think it’s grotesque. I think the left has found a new weapon to oppose the president and the war, and that weapon is martyrdom, and they are using the death of a soldier in this case and the mother’s grief over that death to try to, obviously, rally support, as Mrs. Sheehan has made perfectly clear to get the troops out of Iraq.”
All this was fine; I was enjoying the exchange. I am very familiar with Bill Kristol and none of his comments were unexpected.
It was his later statement that compelled me to write. Kristol extolled, “She’s the leader of the antiwar movement now.”
The look on his face as he made this claim could have killed. Being a man that believes in bloodbaths, I feared where he might do. He was livid; his voice cracking, and his face flushed.
Earlier, he made mention that Sheehan joined the antiwar pressure groups approximately a year ago. Actually, his exact words were “Mrs. Sheehan has been active in antiwar activities for a year. She’s a member of an antiwar group. She was on Nightline eight months ago arguing against the war in Iraq.” I wonder; how does this make her a leader?
Mr. Kristol. I acknowledge that you are a well-educated man, a [supposed] scholar, a graduate of Harvard University, and a man who has achieved much. Your pursuit and receipt of a doctorate degree is impressive. You have attained more eminence than most, and this is inspiring. Yet, when you conclude as you did I wonder. Do you really believe the antiwar movement began only a year ago or that Cindy Sheehan is its leader?
As a person that has been protesting these Middle Eastern wars since before the first bomb fell, I beg to differ. There are millions of us that have been against the mayhem for many years. Cindy Sheehan is not our guide; we are not following her. We are supporting her, the soldiers, and those whose lives we honor. Those of us that want peace revere humanity. We wish you and your President did as well!
• Mr. Kristol has published numerous articles and essays on topics including constitutional law, political philosophy, and public policy. He has co-edited several books. William Kristol composed The Neoconservative Imagination, with Christopher DeMuth. This book was published in 1995. He has also co-authored, Bush v. Gore: The Court Cases and the Commentary with E. J. Dionne, Jr., 2001, The Future is Now: American Confronts the New Genetics with Eric Cohen, 2002. Bill Kristol is well known for co-authoring, the best-selling book The War Over Iraq with Lawrence Kaplan.
Kristol is renowned among the “right.” He regularly appears on Fox News Channel and the neo-conservatives consider him an eloquent and leading political analysts. He serves on the boards of the Manhattan Institute, the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs, and the Shalem Foundation.