Thursday, June 02, 2005

Is It Always This Stupid?

Posted by Trott

Peggy Noonan's idiotic approach to history results in her suggesting that Mark Felt is to blame for the murder of millions in Southeast Asia because Felt helped bring down the Nixon presidency.

That's right: According to Noonan, it's not Nixon and his administration that are to blame for the consequences of their actions. Sure, they lied to the American people and engineered the Watergate break-in. And that behavior is what ultimately cost Nixon the presidency. The fallout from Nixon's resignation (in Noonan's view, at least) resulted in the genocide of Pol Pot. A rational person might conclude that if the crimes of the Nixon administration justifiably resulted in Nixon's resignation and if Nixon's resignation made the genocide of Pol Pot possible, then the blame for the genocide of Pol Pot might partially rest with the people committing the impeachable offenses. Maybe. But certainly a rational person wouldn't conclude that blame rests with the whistleblower and not with the people committing crimes.

But judging from Noonan's piece, it's not Nixon & co.'s fault that they committed crimes that forced Nixon from office. Nixon & co. are the vicitims. The genocide of Pol Pot is, in Noonan's view, Mark Felt's fault. This is lunacy.

It gets even stupider. Noonan doesn't just blame Felt for genocide (or come so close to blaming him for genocide that it doesn't matter if she technically does not). She doesn't just keep silent about the people that, by any logical application of her view, would be actually to blame. Nope. She actually tries to cast one of them as a hero. She nominates Charles Colson as a "great man."

So, in Peggy Noonan's view, if you report wrongdoing, you're responsible for the fallout. But if you commit the wrongdoing that was being reported, you're a hero as long as you serve some prison time, become born-again, and toe the conservative political line. The consequences of your actions conveniently become the fault of someone else.

Is Peggy Noonan's column always this stupid?


 will said...

If Noonan doesn't come right out and blame Felt for genocide, Rush Limbaugh does. Probably read the same talking points memo as she did. He says if there had been no Deep Throat, Nixon wouldn't have fallen, and had Nixon not fallen, South Vietnam wouldn't have fallen, and had South Vietnam not fallen, the Khmer Rouge would not have taken over in Cambodia. The most straightforward response is to point out that had Nixon not broken the law, there would have been no need for a Deep Throat. Beyond that, one might point out other factors that led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, including, most importantly, Nixon's secret bombing of Cambodia.
I'm also intrigued by the right's argument that liberals are hypocrites for praising Felt but excoriating Linda Tripp, as though the little Clinton-Lewinsky episode of "Cheaters: Caught on Tape" were equivalent to Watergate. Look at the high standard of moral conduct to which they hold Democratic presidents, and the low standard they hold for Republicans!

10:03 AM, June 13, 2005

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