Writing in defense of Saddam Hussein's recent trial and execution, as well as in support of President Bush's possible plan to add more U.S. troops in Iraq, Weekly Standard editor and Fox News contributor William Kristol -- in his first Time magazine column since being hired as a "part-time columnist" in December -- repeatedly took issue with administration "critics." Yet Kristol never once named a specific opponent or directly quoted anyone who criticized Saddam's trial, the manner of his execution, or Bush's expected proposal to increase troops in Iraq.
In his column for the January 15 edition of Time, Kristol wrote:
Saddam Hussein's trial and execution were imperfect. But the critics of the trial can't have it both ways. First, many of them told us that we couldn't expect Iraq to be a Jeffersonian democracy. Now they feign outrage that Saddam's trial didn't live up to Jeffersonian standards.
Kristol, though, failed to mention who these critics were, or what their objections were. Elsewhere in the column, he simply referred to the unnamed critics as the "foreign policy cognoscenti," "political elites," "them," and "they."
The same was true of Kristol's reference to opponents of Bush's expected proposal to increase troops, which has been criticized in a bipartisan fashion. (Kristol labels the troop increase plan a "new strategy for victory.") Rather than naming the skeptics and citing their criticisms, thereby giving readers specific references to their positions, Kristol simply referred to -- and dismissed -- them as "the critics," "others," and "they."
In total, Kristol made more than a dozen references to administration critics in his column, yet never named or quoted a single one.
Kristol, a strong proponent of the war in Iraq, was hired as a Time columnist by the magazine's managing editor Richard Stengel, as part of Stengel's effort to add more "star" writers to the magazine. Slate.com founding editor and the Guardian's (U.K.) American editor-at-large Michael Kinsley and Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson, Time's managing editor in the late 1990s, reportedly make up, along with Kristol, Stengel's three "star" columnists.