A conservative commentator set off a Star Wars Twitter battle Tuesday after he tweeted there was no evidence that the Galatic Empire was evil. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, a neoconservative opinion magazine, called the Empire "a liberal regime w meritocracy, upward mobility. Neocon/reformicon in spirit." Kristol added: “Needless to say, I was rooting for the Empire from the first moment. It was a benevolent liberal empire, after all.” 

Kristol's tweets came after the official trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" was released, and tickets for the movie went on sale Monday night. Star Wars' fans immediately rushed to defend the movie's depiction of its main villain. “So … is blowing up planets Neocon in spirit? It seems that destroying the environment is," one person tweeted back. "Destroying Princess L's home world not evidence? Like killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis I guess," someone else responded. 

Kristol is a well-known political commentator who launched the Weekly Standard in 1995. He served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the first Bush Administration. He has repeatedly defended President George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq after the Sept. 11 , 2001, terrorist attacks. "We were right to invade Iraq in 2003 to remove Saddam Hussein, and to complete the job we should have finished in 1991," he wrote in May. "Even with the absence of caches of weapons of mass destruction, and the mistakes we made in failing to send enough troops at first and to provide security from the beginning for the Iraqi people, we were right to persevere through several difficult years. We were able to bring the war to a reasonably successful conclusion in 2008."

Others have made the case before that the Empire wasn't so bad. "The Galactic Empire has had to deal with something of a bad image since Star Wars was first released in 1977, but that’s what happens when you lack a PR guy to tell you not to make Darth Vader the public face of government. Of course, it could also have something to do with the huge Imperial Navy, relentless brutality and the use of super weapons like the Death Star, too," one blogger argued last year in praising the Empire for driving technology. "None of these actions are particularly virtuous, of course, and it is understandable as to why so many believe that the Empire was evil … but if you look deeper, it’s possible to see past those first impressions."