The unbearable justifications of the self important

In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, former editor Bill Keller wrote a lengthy article, in which he apparently explains why he ‘wanted war’ with Iraq in 2003 so much that he put the whole paper behind the drums of war.

I stopped reading in the fourth paragraph when he listed other liberals who – he claims – were suddenly bloodthirstty. Here’s his astonishing list of ‘liberals’:

  1. Thomas Freidman
  2. Fareed Zacharia
  3. George Packer
  4. Jeffrey Goldberg
  5. Richard Cohen
  6. Andrew Sullivan (he’s really reaching, isn’t he)
  7. Paul Berman
  8. Christopher Hitchens
  9. Kenneth Pollack

I stopped reading right there. Dishonest then, dishonest now. No link.

21 responses to “The unbearable justifications of the self important

  1. If you had read a few more paragraphs you would have seen Tony Judt’s comment. He referred to their club as “Bush’s Useful Idiots.
    I was surprised to read Fareed Zacharia’s name on that list.


    • Almost all of the guys on that list are routinely misidentified as ‘liberals’. I think the only bona fide liberal who ‘went over to the dark side’ after 9/11 was Hitchens.

      Zacharia was always considered an outright conservative, but he repented about Iraq very early on.

      The rest of them? Meh.


    • Now that you tell me there’s a Tony Judt bit in there, guess I’ll have to finish reading it after all.


  2. “Bush’s Useful Idiots.!

    He, he, he…..

    Blood lust,eh?


  3. Freidman has the gall to call himself a “progressive”; Keller must be idiotic enough to believe him.


  4. If those are liberals, I’m something from another planet. Sheesh.


  5. On Sullivan, you question calling him a liberal I assume. He was an early supporter of the war, but certainly wasn’t by 2004.


    • You’re right – he did back off when he (and we!) saw how badly it was being executed. Of course Sullivan is a bona fide conservative, even as a married gay man.

      Tell you the truth though bruce, I’ve always seen him as something of a political opportunist. I beleive he started liberal, then jumped on the conservative bandwagon when he came here (in the 80’s?); he was crazy mad about Margaret Thactcher too. But he was always socially liberal and in recent years I have trouble finding anything conservative in his writings.


  6. I would call Hitchens an unqualified liberal or progressive. Would you not?


  7. Let me clarify – by unqualified I mean I would call him that without hesitation.


  8. I read Sullivan most every day. I think I like that he talks about a general philosophy and come to policy positions from that. You get an idea of first principles to base what he call being a Tory.

    Mostly he argues for caution and prudence, based a belief that truths are difficult to divine with certainty. By that reasoning, repealing Social Security, with its 75 year history isn’t conservative, its quite radical and imprudent.

    I see a lot people identify themselves as left or right and then adopting the views of that group, but I don’t think they often reach those views based on a set of first principles.

    I think a person should be able define what liberal or conservative is and what goals and belief about the world lead to that point of view.


    • Quite remarkable, isn’t it bruce, how so many people can look at a wildly popular, fully funded (even if it’s been ‘robbed’) program that’s been doing what it was designed to do and doing it well for 75 years – they can look at that and call it a failure. Blows my mind.


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