Sunday, September 14, 2008

Charles In Charge

Charles to the rescue. Charles knows all. Charles is all powerful. Charles is almighty.

Charles Krauthammer has decided that Sarah Palin needs an interpreter, or at least a defender. Like God, her words alone do not stand up to the scrutiny of mere mortals. Krauthammer thinks we need him to tell us what “In what respect, Charlie?” and “His world view” really mean. Palin could have said “Which definition of the Bush Doctrine do you mean, Charlie?” Why didn’t she do that? She doesn’t seem very smart and quick on her feet to me.

Most seem to draw the conclusion that Palin stumbled, most conclude that she did not know what Gibson meant by The Bush Doctrine. Krauthammer seems to acknowledge this. However, he goes on to say that Charlie Gibson doesn’t know what The Bush Doctrine is, even after Gibson gives his definition. Because Krauthammer doesn’t like Gibson’s definition he makes the audacious statement that Gibson’s definition is wrong, even though it is the most commonly used one.

From Charlie Gibson's Gaffe by Charles Krauthammer:

Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Charlie Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, sighing and "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the mother of five who presumes to play on their stage.
How Krauthammer can watch Palin and conclude “at least she didn't pretend to know” is beyond belief. Has he even watched the footage? She was desperately trying to pretend to know.

Charles Krauthammer thinks that because he was probably the first to use the term, The Bush Doctrine, that he has the power to control the evolution of the term in its usage by the general public. Might as well add “Charles is arrogant” to the first paragraph.

From Charlie Gibson's Gaffe by Charles Krauthammer:
The New York Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today. It is utterly different.
Charles Krauthammer got it wrong. For one thing Gibson said: "The Bush Doctrine, as I understand it…" This is what Krauthammer chooses to pounce on?

Here is one example of the common usage of the term that Krauthammer thinks he has almighty control over:
The national-security strategy (NSS) signed by President Bush in September 2002 clearly departed from accepted international law. It acknowledges "centuries (of) international law" that nations may respond with military force to military attack against them or to imminent threat, but elaborates that that "imminent threat" must be "adapted" to new circumstances to allow not merely pre-emptive attack against imminent threats, but preventive attack against "emerging threats." This "adaptation" actually eviscerates prior law.

From the outset, the "Bush doctrine" of preventive war drew attention and criticism from international legal scholars in the United States and abroad.
Krauthammer thinks The Bush Doctrine means four different things. How’s that for precision? Why doesn’t he take his big ego and come up with three more terms and make everything crystal clear for the rest of us mere mortals? I suppose if he did then he wouldn’t have been able to write this bone-headed column.

Gibson made it very clear what he wanted to talk about. He wanted to know Palin’s views on preemptive war. Like Gibson I feel “lost in a blizzard of words.” Palin’s response seemed to be all over the map.

I also feel “lost in a blizzard of words” while reading Krauthammer’s column. What is more important here? An argument over semantics, or an argument over substance? Krauthammer doesn’t seem to care about substance.

Instead of deciding to rescue the country from its moral decline because of The Bush Doctrine (preemptive war), Charles Krauthammer has decided it was more important to rescue Sarah Palin from Charlie Gibson. Obviously Krauthammer didn’t get the memo of the meme that says that Palin is smart and tough.

Glenn Greenwald has more examples that show the common usage of the term The Bush Doctrine. I shall try to refrain from calling Charles Krauthammer a pompous blowhard.

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