Jonathan Chait

Bill Kristol And Neocon Newspeak

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William Kristol, editorializing in the Weekly Standard, insists that the United States has never invaded a Muslim country:

The president didn’t want this. He’s been so unhappy about such a possibilityso fearful of such an eventualitythat first he tied himself in knots trying to do nothing. ...After all, nothingnothing!could be worse than the perception that the United States was “invading” another Muslim country.

Rubbish. Our “invasions” have in fact been liberations. We have shed blood and expended treasure in Kuwait in 1991, in the Balkans later in the 1990s, and in Afghanistan and Iraqin our own national interest, of course, but also to protect Muslim peoples and help them free themselves. Libya will be America’s fifth war of Muslim liberation. 

Now we have to purge all those apparently crypto-Nazi history books describing the "invasion of Normandy" during World War II.

The point, of course, is that invasion is a neutral, descriptive term, one that can describe military action for either positive or negative ends. Kristol demands that we banish neutral terminology in favor of propagandistic terminology.

I would really like to see Kristol expand upon his argument here. Has the United States ever conducted an invasion? Is it even possible for the United States to conduct an invasion, or is any armed attempt to depose a foreign regime undertaken by the U.S. by definition a liberation?

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