Bill Kristol doesn't need me to defend him from Mark R. Levin, but I'll do it anyway. Just 'cause.
Levin predictably assails Kristol for having the temerity to question the infinite wisdom of "The" Donald Rumsfeld. In many corners of Bushworld, the president's nectar of infallibility trickles all the way down to SecDef.
The crux of Levin's argument is: "At no time does Kristol, or his Senate friends McCain and Hagel, explain where the additional troops will come from. It's very odd that those who supported the war from day one now complain about troop strength, when surely they knew at the time that we didn't have another 100,000 to 150,000 troops to deploy to Iraq."
Kristol has, of course, been agitating for more troops since five minutes after the dawn of time. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but Levin should peruse it nonetheless:
* November 19, 2001: "Right now we simply do not have enough troops or weapons to carry out these missions. We will need to recruit more soldiers and procure more weapons--or risk losing the war on terrorism. But more troops cost money. As Thomas Donnelly of the Project for the New American Century has noted, recruiting, training, and equipping an additional 50,000 active-duty soldiers for the Army alone will cost an additional $15 billion per year. Right now, the president's total request for an increase in defense spending is $20 billion. There will have to be much more."
* February 4, 2002: "In the coming months and years this war will require the U.S. armed forces to fight wars both big and small in a variety of different theaters--in East Asia and Central Asia, in the Persian Gulf, in the Horn of Africa, and who knows where else. . . . Victory in the larger war will require not only that the United States rid other countries of dangerous terrorists and the governments that support them, but that we also take on the difficult task of providing long-term security afterward, to allow nation-building to proceed in those countries where terrorists once found haven. . . . It will require increasing the number of men and women under arms."
* September 1, 2003: "It's true that, unfortunately, we don't have many troops to spare. . . . We should have begun rebuilding our military two years ago. And it is true that increasing the size of our forces, both in Iraq and overall, is unattractive to administration officials. But this is the time to bite the bullet and pay the price."
There's more where that came from.
In fact, Kristol was urging more troops way before 9/11. In July 2001, Kristol and Robert Kagan wrote an editorial calling on Rumsfeld to resign so as to focus attention on "the impending evisceration of the American military."
All hail the blogosphere. Spout first, think second, research some other time. [Okay, now that's out of bounds; Levin's a great guy. --ed I know, I already feel guilty about it. Sorry Mark.]
6 hours ago