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WASHINGTON - For seven long years, Bill Kristol agitated for a U.S. coup against Saddam Hussein, and argued that America should remake the world to serve its own interests. Few bothered to listen at the time. So how does he feel now?
In his office the other day, he grinned without smirking. That's how most of the hawkish defense intellectuals - better known as neoconservatives - are behaving these days. Although they're sitting pretty in wartime Washington, they're trying not to preen.
Kristol refuses to strut his stuff, because he knows how fast the high and mighty can be brought low in this town; after all, he was once Vice President Dan Quayle's chief of staff. Still, he can't resist contending that Sept. 11 made all the "neocons" look like prophets.
"We saw, earlier than most people, that the world was very dangerous, that America's drift during the `90s was very dangerous," he said Wednesday at the Weekly Standard, the Rupert Murdoch-financed magazine he edits that promotes the neocon credo. "We were alarmed; we tried to call attention to all that. So I don't want to say we feel vindicated, but we do feel our analysis was right."