About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Jon Stewart beats Don Rumsfeld
Rather pointedly, and very uncharacteristically for Mrs. Clinton, the Senator reminded Rummy that this wasn't “2003, or 2004, or even 2005” (notice how Clinton knows her calendar) – when the Secretary had appeared before the Senate to answer questions about Iraq – and that his wildly optimistic (indeed, downright misleading, she should have said) past statements simply didn't hold up to the reality on the ground today. A somewhat mystified Rumsfeld answered that the Senator would have “a Dickens of a time” actually finding a record of such optimistic statements.
Enter Jon Stewart who, despite being a comedian who runs a show of fake news, is actually more savvy than most seasoned American journalists. In typical Daily Show fashion, Stewart showed first the clip of Clinton vs. Rumsfeld, paused to remark on the “Dickens” reference, and then proceeded to mercilessly show his audience several (dated and sourced) clips of Rumsfeld declaring exactly what he had just claimed he never said. Simply beautiful.
Rumsfeld, by the way, according to an NPR story run a few days ago, is also the same bastard who publicly “praised” Sgt. Joseph Darby, the whistleblower who got the investigation in the Abu-Ghraib prison abuse scandal started. The “praise” actually identified Darby to the public, despite the fact that he had been guaranteed witness protection status (and therefore anonymity) by the US Military. As a result, Darby and his family had to move because of threats they received by their neighbors, whose sons, daughters and friends were involved in the scandal, and who apparently have a rather hazy concept of morality. And so does Rummy, whose reckless behavior endangered and dramatically affected the life of a US soldier whose only fault was to have spoken up against acts of torture committed by fellow soldiers. Then again, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recently remarked, we don't really know whether torture is wrong because we don't have a clear definition of what torture is...