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Jon Chait's attack on Bill Kristol's supposed "thuggery" in support of the current American strategy in Iraq would be considerably more interesting if it were possible to discern where Chait's own magazine stands on the question. The new issue of TNR, in which Chait's anti-Kristol broadside appears, contains articles on Mitt Romney and Karl Rove, the netroots and the psychology of Bush voters, and sundry other topics. It leads with editorials on Sudan (which expresses support for "an outright NATO invasion of Darfur") and Presidential library fundraising. And it marks the seventh straight issue in which TNR's editors - who passive-aggressively endorsed the surge back in May - have seen fit to say exactly nothing about what the United States should be doing, whether militarily, politically or diplomatically, about the minor difficulties we currently face in Iraq. Which leaves the reader with the impression, fairly or not, that TNR's take on the most important foreign-policy question facing America is that Bill Kristol is a jerk.

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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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