Happy Krauthammer Day

by Henry Farrell on April 22, 2014

The day has rolled around again when we celebrate Charles Krauthammer’s linking of his, and his administration friends’ credibility to a confident prediction about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

bq. Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.

We’ve had over twenty five five month periods since then. There have been lots, and lots of words from Charles Krauthammer in the interim (most recently – pushing against “disclosure”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-the-zealots-win-again/2014/04/17/ac0b6466-c654-11e3-8b9a-8e0977a24aeb_story.html of political funding because people might be mean to rich donees). Discoveries of Iraqi nuclear weapons? Not so much.



MPAVictoria 04.22.14 at 5:45 pm

What drives me really crazy about Charles Krauthammer is that he is routinely held up by “sensible” liberals as an example of an intelligent/thoughtful conservative commentator. When in fact he really isn’t any better than Erik Son of Erik or William “the Bloody” Kristol.


Main Street Muse 04.22.14 at 5:48 pm

The first sentence in the 2003 AEI link:

“Victory in war has been achieved; victory in peace seems less certain.”

So many things to ponder with these two sentences. Of course, the content continues:

“AEI will conclude its [2003] war-time series on Iraq with a look at the mistakes of the past and the challenges for the future. Will the Department of State snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Will the Security Council hold the Iraqi people hostage in order to assert “international” control? And what about the Iraqi people themselves? How will they recover from the terror of Saddam’s rule and the trauma of war?”

I guess it’s the State Department’s fault that defeat was snatched from victory in that region. Of course we can blame Obamacare, if we wished.

I am related to people who love Krauthammer dearly.


godoggo 04.22.14 at 5:48 pm

Oh, for god’s sake, it isn’t about Krauthammer at all. It’s just one of these cheap stupid jokes that have completely taken over this piece of shit blog.


js. 04.22.14 at 6:07 pm

Well, godoggo’s evidently not having a happy Krauthammer Day.

Anyway, the best thing about this announcement:

Please join us at 9:00 a.m. on April 22 for analysis of military actions in Iraq, hard-hitting analysis, thoughtful criticism, and free-flowing strong black coffee.

is that I’d bet a small amount of money the coffee wasn’t that strong.


mrearl 04.22.14 at 6:09 pm

I think you mean “donors” instead of “donees.”

Next up, Ted Nugent, who is still not dead or in jail, as another April rolls by.


politicalfootball 04.22.14 at 6:23 pm

Accountability to the facts is a key issue of our time – perhaps the key issue of our time. I’m afraid that I, too, am not having a happy Krauthammer day, given that the SOB still has his job, and our smirking former SecDef can tell Errol Morris that we still don’t know whether Iraq had WMD.


tsam 04.22.14 at 6:27 pm

Is Krauthammer implying that he didn’t have a credibility problem already? HAHAHAHAHAHA that’s funny.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 04.22.14 at 6:36 pm

Krauthammer is happy?

That must mean some hapless foreign people were bombed, imprisoned, and/or tortured.

The cherry on his ice cream would be cutting Social Security to pay for it.


Lex Icon 04.22.14 at 6:37 pm

Why haven’t the clowns responsible for the illegal wars been tried, convicted and executed? They are as guilty as Saddam Hussein.

Oh, that’s right. “Americans don’t commit war crimes” is one of the big lies Americans believe, along with “we believe in freedom” and “god”. History is written by those who are never held accountable, not the winners. Krauthammer and his ilk are definitely losers.


AcademicLurker 04.22.14 at 6:39 pm

Sometimes I feel like people have lost sight of true spirit of Krauthammer day since it became all commercialized.


josh 04.22.14 at 6:59 pm

First of all I’m apolitical, I think if you just follow one party blindly down the line you’re doing all of us a disservice. Think for yourself, vote locally for people that agree with your beliefs whether they’re repukes or democraps.

The Ted Nugent comment has been so far twisted out of context… liberals jumped to the worst possible scenario: “oh my god, he’s got guns, he must be threatening the president!”

BUUUT: He made that comment when Obama was pushing for the power to kill anyone, even Americans on US soil, associated with “Terrorism” (undefined- they could say if you look at foxnews you’re a terrorist, going by the letter of the law or executive order or whatever).

What Nugent meant is that if that law, or order, or whatever it was had passed, he would be dead or in jail because he’s heavily armed and speaks out against Obama, thus meeting the undefined requirement of being a terrorist.


politicalfootball 04.22.14 at 7:01 pm

A. Lurker, I think you and and godoggo have identified the premise of the next Peanuts special. As the exasperated godoggo says:

“Oh, for god’s sake, it isn’t about Krauthammer at all.”


Henry 04.22.14 at 7:14 pm

And so begins the war against Krautmas …

But it actually isn’t a joke at all. A lot of people provided ideological covering fire for the Iraq war. This is my one, very small and likely not very efficacious way of trying to ensure that one of the more egregious of these people isn’t allowed to forget it.


MPAVictoria 04.22.14 at 7:42 pm

“This is my one, very small and likely not very efficacious way of trying to ensure that one of the more egregious of these people isn’t allowed to forget it.”

And good on you I say. These smarmy bastards may have gotten away with their bullshit but that is no reason for us to forget.


MPAVictoria 04.22.14 at 7:43 pm

Also I am becoming more and more sure that godoggo is a jerk.
/If you hate this place so much go comment somewhere else.


yabonn_fr 04.22.14 at 8:09 pm

Maybe we already missed one of these most holy of alignments : a Krauthammer Day on a full Friedman Unit.

Commemoration is not enough. We need a Krautlandar.


phosphorious 04.22.14 at 8:41 pm

“Well, godoggo’s evidently not having a happy Krauthammer Day.”

Give him five months. He’ll come around.


Omega Centauri 04.22.14 at 9:16 pm

Kraut… did understood punditry strategy however. Put off judgement (of his WMD assertion long enough) and the plebs will forget about the very wrong prediction. It works quite naturally: by the time we are confident there really were no WMD, both the lack of WMDs, and those who used suspicions about WMDs as causus belli are old (now boring) news.


Adam Hammond 04.22.14 at 9:43 pm

Thanks for reminding me. It really isn’t about Krauthammer at all. But it is worth picking an emblematic moment in the name of renewing flagging vigilance. This seems like a good choice.


Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. 04.22.14 at 9:55 pm


We already missed the alignment four times. It occurs every thirty months.


roger gathman 04.22.14 at 10:12 pm

Krauthammer should stand for the whole pundit industry, and not just on the craziness of people with no more knowledge of Iraqi culture and history than their assistants gathered from wikipedia pontificating on the issue with the assurance of people who’d lived among the Marsh Arabs their whole life. What, in particular, is the skill set of the pundit? Their skill set is to be connected and to have predictable opinions. It is a strange skill for which to be paid. But not only are they paid enormously, they crawl and scuttle all over the political landscape. They really are a disgusting class of people.
Meanwhile, on the warhawk front, there’s a lonely shot by the NYT’s war propagandist of the time, Dexter Filkins, in the New Yorker this week. It is a lovely piece of 2003 art: full of quotes from CIA men and the american military and the kind of English speaking Iraqi powerbrokers who Filkins, in his memoir of the war years, confesses he listened to and liked because, uh, they could speak English! They loved Americans! Plus some Allawi-love, which I thought had died after the torturer lost the election of 2006 – but apparently Filkins is still smitten.
Because Krauthammer’s opinions are so canned and contoured that you don’t even have to read him to know what he said – he doesn’t really bother me. It bothers me that the ostensibly liberal New Yorker still has a soft spot for “humanitarian intervention” and serves up laments by the likes of Filkins that we don’t have troops in Iraq today. A case of a man who has learned nothing.


Witt 04.22.14 at 11:18 pm

This is my one, very small and likely not very efficacious way of trying to ensure that one of the more egregious of these people isn’t allowed to forget it.

And I truly appreciate it.

Omega at 18: Put off judgement (of his WMD assertion long enough) and the plebs will forget about the very wrong prediction.

I have a recurring fantasy that someone will create a widely used/cited (a la Wikipedia) collection of such predictions, and that the media will face some real level of social embarrassment if they continue to employ known liars mal-predictors.

Barring that, back in the day some local newspaper columnists used to do an annual roundup of “Things I was wrong about last year,” which I always appreciated. Somehow I don’t remember having seen that in the big papers.


novakant 04.22.14 at 11:33 pm

The problem with the Krauthammer Day is that it might leave people with the impression that the Iraq War would have been justified had we only found the bloody WMD. But that would already be falling for the lie – remember Wolfowitz admitting WMD was chosen for “bureaucratic reasons”, what they wanted was a war of aggression and they got it. And don’t get me started on those “it was a great idea only the execution was lacking” liberal hawks.


Number Three 04.22.14 at 11:35 pm

Krauthammer’s continued employment at the WaPo is testament to Fred Hiatt’s complete failure editing the op-ed page. Of course, if you read Hiatt’s Sunday op-ed, you have to wonder about whether he could edit a “Barney and Friends” fan zine. And by that, I mean no offense to fans of “Barney and Friends,” most of whom understand US domestic policy better than either Hiatt or Krauthammer.


Omega Centauri 04.23.14 at 4:14 am

Part of the way accountability is skirted is that for a question like “WMD, did Saddam have any?”, there is never a clean state change of opinion. Its not that on day X 80% of the population thought the answer was yes, then on day X+1 only 20% did. Rather for the WMD, it was the slow accumulation of absense of evidence, which means the assessed probablity of truth only gradually changes. So we never get a clear moment when we can say (and get the people to follow up on) “now is the time to evaluate it and assign accountability.


Palindrome 04.23.14 at 5:18 am

I fondly remember the Krautmases of my youth, when we all used to gather around the Yule cabbage and pound it with our war hammers. “Suck on this!” we’d cry, in the traditional Krautmas greeting. Oh the times we had. But it’s been many a year since we’ve been able to throw a small country up against the wall, just to show the world we mean business. Or maybe I’m conflating memories from Friedmanpesach? I was raised in a mixed-faith household.


Niall McAuley 04.23.14 at 8:42 am

Ah, Friedmanpesach, when the family would gather, we’d each don our Moustache of Understanding, and sing Tom Carols:

“Oh the world outside is flatter,
and the next six months will matter,
but the phrase I love to sing most is:
Suck on this! Suck on this! Suck on this!”


Guido Nius 04.23.14 at 8:45 am

His day will come when the US needs to invade Germany again.


Uncle Jeffy 04.23.14 at 12:31 pm

Henry – thanks for keeping the Kraphammer Day tradition alive (unlike the thousands of Iraqis and American and other troops who didn’t manage to make it through Kraphammer’s War.

And godoggo, if you think this blog is such a piece of sh*t, suppose you tell us where to find your pearls of wisdom.


Donald Johnson 04.23.14 at 4:17 pm

“Meanwhile, on the warhawk front, there’s a lonely shot by the NYT’s war propagandist of the time, Dexter Filkins, in the New Yorker this week.”

My reaction was the same. I stopped taking Filkins seriously when he expressed skepticism about large numbers of civilian dead in the second Fallujah assault because he didn’t see any bodies. But then, as he explained in a NYT Sunday Magazine piece (I think reprinted in his book), he also didn’t see any insurgent bodies until some Marines helped him find one. So by his logic, maybe there was only one Iraqi who died in the November 2004 assault.


Theophylact 04.23.14 at 4:39 pm

Witt @ #22: If I recall correctly, William Safire (NYT) used to make predictions in his first column of the new year and tally up his right/wrong score for the year just past. Safire may have been a Republican diehard but he was a hair more honest than the current lot.


Donald Johnson 04.23.14 at 4:48 pm

Googling, I found a dissertation someone wrote on NYT coverage of the second assault on Fallujah–


The dissertation reports that the NYTtook US military claims at face value and downplayed or ignored or were skeptical of claims of Iraqi civilian casualties caused by the US. (Anyone who read the NYT coverage of the Iraq War knows this is true.) Filkins claims that there just weren’t that many civilians present in Fallujah, because he saw very few, though reporting in other papers and the NYT itself said that tens of thousands of civilians were still there.

So, getting back to Roger Gathman’s point, I agree that the propaganda put out by our supposedly liberal news media is more troubling than the output of obvious hacks like Krauthammer.


roy belmont 04.23.14 at 9:21 pm

roger gathman at 10:12 pm:

Can’t tell from the comment, but maybe you’ve read Thesiger’s “Marsh Arabs”?
His other stuff?
Heartbreaking for me to gather that impressive testament in the years prior to the invasion, occupation, and decimation of Iraq, the crowing gloat at the wreckage of what I’d just seen in Thesiger’s books.
Mosques and homes and boats made of reeds on islands made of reeds, Arabs living amphibious lives on the water.
Blown to hell.
It’s cathartic for lots of disgruntled sensible folks to ridicule noisome idiots like K., but hey, it was cathartic to ridicule Bush’s “Mission Accomplished”.
When that’s exactly what it was. It was the goal, to destroy that country, they set out to do it and they got what they wanted.
Krauthammer’s function is like Bush’s was, you get upset you move toward the problem and you run smack into this absurd figure claiming to be what’s up, and the bulk of your resistant energy founders on that fool position.
People mistake the dog for the owner. Because of all the barking.


js. 04.24.14 at 4:49 am

I have a recurring fantasy that someone will create a widely used/cited (a la Wikipedia) collection of such predictions

I too wait for this day. In the meantime, we’ll have to console ourselves with the Definitive Collection of Thomas Friedman Takedowns. (No really, that’s what it’s called.)

Maybe Palindrome will enjoy it at their family’s next Friedmanpesach — or as we called it, the Eid ul Fried.


js. 04.24.14 at 4:57 am


Palindrome 04.24.14 at 6:21 am

js., thank you so much for that. The “Thomas Friedman Porn Title Contest” alone is worth the price of (click-through) admission.


godoggo 04.24.14 at 10:01 am

Fuck you.


MPAVictoria 04.24.14 at 10:58 am

Anyone in particular godoggo or just life in general?


Jay Livingston 04.24.14 at 11:33 am

Don’t you guys get it? I thought everyone knew that Godoggo consists entirely of only 75 words, all one-syllable.


Barry 04.24.14 at 12:53 pm

roy, have one of the nurses at your hospital rewrite that in non-insanese.


politicalfootball 04.24.14 at 12:59 pm

godoggo discovers the True Meaning of Krauthammer Day.


mattski 04.24.14 at 1:13 pm

@ 3 & 37



MPAVictoria 04.24.14 at 2:24 pm

“roy, have one of the nurses at your hospital rewrite that in non-insanese.”

Forget it, Barry; it’s Roytown


js. 04.24.14 at 3:05 pm


You’re welcome! The “Porn Title Contest” is one of my long time favorites.


Roy Belmont 04.24.14 at 7:18 pm

The idea that Iraq was a “mistake” is insane.
It’s what chickenshits tell themselves so they don’t have to deal
Same with Bush, same with Obama.
Krauthammer’s a tool, useful to his real bosses, and an energy suck, past the point of identifying him as such.


Barry 04.24.14 at 7:28 pm

Thanks for clarifying, Roy. BTW, stream of consciousness isn’t worth much. Writing in clear English is much better.


Roy Belmont 04.24.14 at 7:49 pm

Dude, you just puked on my girlfriend.


MPAVictoria 04.24.14 at 7:53 pm

Is “Roy Belmont” the same person as “roy belmont”?


Roy Belmont 04.24.14 at 7:53 pm

This brevity is entirely a result of its being composed on a mobile device.
Wait til I get home schoolboy.


Tyrone Slothrop 04.24.14 at 9:12 pm

Well, FWLIW, I quite like the way that (R)oy composes his posts here, and have never felt I didn’t grasp the meaning within them. So I say screw the hall monitors and keep on keepin’ on, (B)elmont…


Ronan(rf) 04.24.14 at 9:20 pm

Roy, I remember really enjoying Thesiger’s book. His other one is even better IIRC (g**gle tells me ‘Arabian Sands’)


Ronan(rf) 04.24.14 at 9:24 pm

Roy – relatedly, here’s a diary a German visitor wrote when visiting my hometown nearly 500 years ago


he nails it (pretty much) I kid, I kid.


Ronan(rf) 04.24.14 at 9:25 pm

Not related to Thesiger’s book, which is actually good. It just made me think of it.


Katherine 04.24.14 at 11:44 pm

I’m sure I was far from the only person wondering at the time just how the US and UK governments were getting away with the shit they were spouting at the time of the invasion. It seemed like a case of mass delusion. The political equivalent of a market bubble – a war bubble, if you will.

And just like when a bubble bursts, there are now people like Krauthammer walking around whistling nonchalantly with their hands in their collective pockets, trying as hard as they can to forget their role in inflating the bubble. Posts like this do a superb job of not letting them off the hook.

In a hundred years’ time, I’ve no doubt historians and laypeople alike will be looking back at this and wondering, a bit like we do now with WW1, quite how it was allowed to happen and shaking their heads in bewilderment.


J Thomas 04.25.14 at 12:23 am

“In a hundred years’ time, I’ve no doubt historians and laypeople alike will be looking back at this and wondering, a bit like we do now with WW1, quite how it was allowed to happen and shaking their heads in bewilderment.”

It’s quite possible that in a hundred years’ time scientists will know exactly how that sort of thing happens, and will have explained it well enough that a large fraction of the population understands it.

I find it reasonably plausible that the public will agree that somebody trustworthy should ruthlessly censor everything to keep it from happening when it should not.

Essentially the whole population will agree that this is necessary, because after all the methods will be thoroughly understood that can create a 99.9% consensus about such things….


roy belmont 04.25.14 at 1:13 am

Scott Esposito: …that fragmented narratives are making greater inroads into the mainstream… people like Wallace, DeLillo, and Coetzee…with very fragmented narratives. …Markson… someone like David Shields… And when you look around at things like Twitter and Facebook, why not?

Lance Olsen: The movement of the last hundred and ten or twenty years in the arts has been toward greater structural sharding. Nietzsche’s epigrammatic composites, Eliot’s appropriation of others’ words in The Waste Land, Picasso’s appropriation of others’ material in his collages, Joyce’s exploded architecture in Ulysses, Cage’s sound collages—such gestures precede the writers you mention, let alone Twitter and Facebook, by decades and decades…it seems those writers you mention and our culture in general are just catching up with what’s been going on in the avant-garde for more than a century.
… a collage imagination (Barthelme: “The principle of collage is the central principle of all art in the 20th century.”)… liberating fusion and confusion, juxtaposition, …gaining wider acceptance since, not so much Twitter and Facebook, as the hypertextual Web itself, which tends to be all about abrupt and discontinuous lexia…

SE:… instead of telling people, “No, what you need is a nice straight story.”

LO: Existence…comes to us in bright disconnected splinters of experience. We then narrativize those splinters into forms that accommodate them… the dominant form appears…still to be collage—if we define the term liberally, if we keep in mind its French root: coller, i.e., to paste, to glue.

The Quarerly Conversation April 5 2010

“I suppose when I say that the moral basis of Poetry is the accurate naming of the things of God, I mean about the same thing that Conrad meant when he said that his aim as an artist was to render the highest possible justice to the visible world.”

Flannery O’Connor
The Habit of Being selected letters
I’d only ask that you consider that I’m at least capable of recognizing what’s being said there to the degree that I’m prompted to quote those quotes here.
And that I do read my own stuff before I “SUBMIT” it.
Connect those dots.
You’re free as can be to not read what I submit here – and I’ll never even know it!
You’re welcome to disagree and dispute or agree or whatever.
But please don’t try to school me because you don’t like the form.


roy belmont 04.25.14 at 1:36 am


Thanks, that was perfectly weird stuff. Most entertaining.
…it is also known that mining is possible; it is not undertaken because of the natives are lazy and inflexible. Possibly they don’t want to know or else they fear that the English crown would grudge them their wealth, because, even though they are poor, they are very much inclined towards rebellion.
Munchhausen (not that one)

Yeah, Thesiger talks about going back as a much older man and his foreboding, seeing the coming flood of oil and money, how it would corrupt the land and people he loved.
He knew Arabia intimately, before it became Arabia+Oil.


John Quiggin 04.25.14 at 5:54 am

Regrettably, the example of WWI suggests that, in 100 years time, there will be plenty of military historians lining up to praise Bush and Blair, and probably also Putin. Unless things turn out very differently from the way they stand now, and Saddam is being praised as a martyr in the cause of right.


js. 04.25.14 at 5:58 am

Ha! I was thinking along similar lines, but you said it much better than I was going to.


godoggo 04.25.14 at 6:14 am

Maybe we have a war bubble, but that’s only because the TERRORISM BUBBLE broke!


Niall McAuley 04.25.14 at 8:47 am

Ronan:The people are dirty, uncouth and lazy. They have brains enough for roguery, but are ignorant of arts and the more subtle craftsmanship. They delight in idleness, they are no good for work; rather than cultivate their fields they stay at home and rest around their fires, barely dressed.

I just had a Stovax 8KW wood-burning stove installed at home, and it is the business for barely-dressed lazing and idleness.


maidhc 04.25.14 at 10:02 am

Every January, National Enquirer comes out with top psychic predictions for the coming year. Does anyone put them aside and, a year later, check to see if space aliens really did visit the White House or a new source of unlimited power emerge from the Bermuda triangle? Anyone other than me, that is, for I tried it a few times.

Does the National Enquirer put in a sidebar, “Sorry we were wrong about space aliens visiting the White House last year, but we hope that our psychic predictions for the coming year will be of better quality”?

These things are ephemeral amusements, not to be confused with assertions of fact.


maidhc 04.25.14 at 10:04 am

roy belmont: Lawrence had some interesting things to say on that topic also.


Barry 04.25.14 at 12:45 pm

Roy: “But please don’t try to school me because you don’t like the form.”



roy belmont 04.25.14 at 8:29 pm


Ronan(rf) 04.26.14 at 12:11 pm

roy, thanks, I’d heard about a few of the exhibitions but wasn’t aware of the online stuff. (in fact, iirc, one of the last times I was in Dublin I’d intended to see the ‘lockout’ one, but accidentaly went drinking instead. Which was fine, all things considered.)


roger gathman 04.28.14 at 10:28 pm

62, so did space aliens visit the white house? I used to keep up with the alien in News of the world, who always visited the white house for each occupant. I thought it was a ceremonial duty. Alas, the News of the World – surely the best newspaper that ever existed – has gone belly up, taking bat boy with it. But I am hoping the aliens are not falling down on the job.


Guano 04.29.14 at 9:57 am

Keep Krauthammer Day special, in memory of those keyboard warriors who went over the top in 2002 – 2003, winding themselves into such a maelstrom of fury about Saddam that they couldn’t remember why they were demanding a war and whether it was legal or legitimate or sensible.


godoggo 04.29.14 at 10:04 am

Does that include those who argued that we should wait for an administration that would be able to wait it more competently?


godoggo 04.29.14 at 10:04 am



Guano 04.29.14 at 8:01 pm

Who are you referring to, Godoggo?


Henry 04.29.14 at 8:30 pm

Godoggo@37 – you’re banned from commenting on my posts in future. Any comments I see will be deleted immediately. kthxbai

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