When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

October 31, 2004

Brinkley/O'Neill on CSPAN


Well, it was billed as a show featuring Douglas Brinkley, the author of Tour of Duty, and John O'Neill, the author of Unfit for Command. I figured it'd be great to see the two of them get together and debate the facts so that I could make a more informed judgment from their presentations in a point/counterpoint format. But alas, it wasn't a point/counterpoint, but a 75 minute interview with Douglas Brinkley followed by a 15 minute speech by O'Neill given not in rebuttal, but taped some months earlier. I felt suckered.

For Brinkley's part, he responded to questions posed by the moderator entirely by slandering the Swiftvets, calling them "the right of the right" and "racists" as well as war criminals. At one point he said that to ignore the atrocities in Vietnam would be the moral equivalent of ignoring the Holocaust. But not once did he present a single fact or reference a single document to disprove or counter an allegation made in Unfit for Command. I can be objective and open minded. Why wasn't I, the viewer, given the benefit of the doubt?

Now, I still don't know what to think about the allegations that were made in Unfit for Command, but I have noticed this extremely consistent pattern among the Kerry supporters (of whom Brinkley is clearly one) that they respond to argumentation about facts with character assassination, of the most vile sort. For all I know, the accusations Brinkley levels at Admiral Hoffman and Jerome Corsi are true... but surely their motives aren't the only thing that's important? And what facts does Brinkley provide upon which to hang his accusations about their motives and character? Well none, actually. He just intimates darkly that such evidence exists in abundance. If the accusation is important enough to make, isn't it important enough to prove?

I want to be open-minded, and I'd like to think the best of John Kerry, but just how do I do that when his defenders are so... non-empirical and unconvincing? Ironically, at one point in the interview Brinkley states that in his work as an historian the rule he follows is to recount the acts of men, rather than attempt to glean their intent. Perhaps he does that in his books, but he certainly didn't do that in this interview.

At the very end of the interview he expressed dismay at the pattern of character assassination taking place over this controversy. I simply had to regard such a statement as ironic, under the circumstances.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia, Anticipatory Retaliation and The Jawa Report)

Launched by Demosophist at October 31, 2004 11:03 PM

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