Monday, May 21, 2007

Kissinger and Beinart

Letters to the Editor
Time Magazine May 22, 2007
Re: Kissinger and Beinart

To the Editor:

Conservatives often dub the mainstream media “liberal.” Would that it were! Is the only moral compass of Time’s editors the scent of money?
Time Magazine’s May 21 issue shows (inadvertently) how the amoral cult of establishment celebrity spans generations, from Vietnam to Iraq. First off, editor Richard Stengel (“An Event to Remember”) displays the precedence of economic to moral value by captioning one photograph “Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger graced the event.” How is it that the man most responsible for subverting Chile’s democracy and bombing Cambodia, sucking it and Laos into a vortex of genocidal violence, merits the honorific verb “grace”? Because Kissinger is a celebrity. Why does Stengel (and the organization behind him) genuflect to a criminal whose ego prevents any acknowledgement of the suffering he caused? Because kissing old celebrity ass is the best way to prove one is worthy of inclusion among the elite. And such clubby inclusion is essential to corporate success.
When I saw Peter Beinart’s name on a commentary essay (“Is Freedom Failing?” May 21 issue), my heart sank again. What can a person who championed military invasion of a second country – Iraq – know about “freedom” and “democracy”? He pretends to give advice to Chavez, Putin, and Ahmedinejad, leaders which, as far as I can tell, have never invaded other countries (their real crime is in bucking Washington’s failed leadership). Beinart’s hypocrisy in preaching democracy, a doctrine of dialogue, is analogous to a peace activist pulling out a gun and shooting dead an opponent – and then adopting a sanctimonious pose to the applause of the media elite. And when I see cheerleaders of state violence getting not censure and opprobrium but promotions – George Tenet receiving a medal from George Bush, Beinart being rewarded with a senior fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations and a gig at Time Magazine – I feel this country has really gone off a cliff. Lessons were learned in Vietnam. But the lessons learned were clearly the wrong ones.
Not only did such people lack the moral integrity and intellectual acumen to see through and confront the “patriotic” hysteria whipped up by power hungry elements after 9/11, they now lack a proper sense of shame for their part in setting up the rape of Iraq. A person with a penitent conscience would at the very least cease dispensing facile “advice” about a world he obviously knows nothing about. It nauseates me to see Beinart and his like pretend to advocate for the world’s poor when their only master is their own ambition in service to American power. While Iraqis die in droves, a Virginia Tech or more every day, the war has really been kind to Beinart’s career and personal brand! Moral charlatans and pipsqueaks like him are rewarded for acts which have shredded this country’s moral and political fiber, and Time Magazine shows just how such people are feted and hob-nobbed by our national aristocracy, no matter how many die for their mistakes.
In this undemocratic age, the only means to express my outrage is to promise never to purchase Time Magazine as long as I see Beinart’s smooth face (or that of other salesmen of war) featured in its pages.

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