The self-aware Bill Kristol

In his latest column, the influential neoconservative pundit bemoans those who think only other people's kids should serve in the military.

Published June 23, 2008 2:21PM (EDT)

Bill Kristol's a busy guy. Not only is he the co-founder and editor of the Weekly Standard, a neoconservative magazine, he's a contributor to and regular guest on Fox News, an adjunct lecturer at Harvard and a columnist for the New York Times. So you can sort of understand why the guy might forget to proofread his column before it's published -- both for errors and for things that make him sound slightly ridiculous.

Truth be told, he actually makes some decent -- if obvious -- points in his latest column for the Times, which is about the "Alex" ad produced by and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and which hit John McCain on Iraq. It's true, as Kristol notes, that the baby shown in the ad wouldn't even be close to military age by the time McCain finished his second term. And it's true that the U.S. has an all-volunteer Army at the moment, so it's not like baby Alex stands a chance of being drafted to fight in Iraq -- well, at least not yet. (But as Kristol himself admits, no one should be surprised at this point when a political ad is produced using something less than a slavish devotion to reality.)

But Kristol might have wanted to stop there. Instead, he went on to explain why he found the ad "creepy":

The MoveOn ad is unapologetic in its selfishness, and barely disguised in its disdain for those who have chosen to serve -- and its contempt for those parents who might be proud of sons and daughters who are serving. The ad boldly embraces a vision of a selfish and infantilized America, suggesting that military service and sacrifice are unnecessary and deplorable relics of the past.

And the sole responsibility of others.

Of course, Kristol -- one of the most prominent advocates for war in Iraq -- did not serve in the military, even though he was born in 1952.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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