The legacy of Charles Krauthammer

Wrong about Barack Obama. Wrong about “identity politics.” Wrong, most infamously and disgustingly, about Iraq. Men and women are dead because of Charles Krauthammer’s columns. They’re dead because Very Serious People in the Bush II White House read his bellicose columns in the aftermath of 9-11 and felt an ideological kinship. When Iraq was collapsing after the so-called “cakewalk” of the administration’s direst masturbatory fantasies, he offered a moist towel and balm in The Washington Post.

But his legacy didn’t begin in the 2000s. He took great pride in naming the so-called Reagan Doctrine, which in lay terms meant the search for a Communist threat in Third World countries that led to personal enrichment for those involved, especially in Central America. Then when Reagan sought arms control with Mikhail Gorbachev he blew mothballs out of the pockets of the Neville Chamberlain analogies and called Gorbachev “Khrushchev with a tailor.”

As an instance of what he called the cunning of history, what young Marxist expatriate wrote the following about Krauthammer in 1985?

In common with most if not all of his conservative columnist colleagues, Krauthammer does not write very well, reason very well, or know very much about anything. In common with them, too, he hold sthe ‘unpredictable’ view that the United States is far too modest and retiring as a world power. In common with them, finally, he thinks that it takes an exercise of moral strength to point this out.

By 2002 this young columnist became as debauched a supporter of the Iraq War as Krauthammer and about as reasonable, an irony of history that Christopher Hitchens might have appreciate in 1985 when he wrote the Krauthammer takedown called “Blunt Instruments.”

Because he spoke in sentences and displayed great courtesy on television, Krauthammer is confused for a good thinker and great writer. Only the permanent Beltway class, whose self-regard is unending, would think so. If people are dead because of a Krauthammer column, then he must have been important.

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