Sunday, January 18, 2004

Kakutani on Perle & Frum

Guess we shouldn't be surprised that someone like Richard Perle would have the audacity to name his new book An End to Evil. Perle and David Frum wrote the book to share (as the book's subtitle explains) How to Win the War on Terror. Michiko Kakutani rips the book to shreds in her NYT review.
Making its points with all the subtlety of a pit bull on steroids, "An End to Evil" is smug, shrill and deliberately provocative. Which might not be so surprising given the authors' track records. Mr. Frum, a former White House speechwriter who helped coin the "axis of evil" phrase that President George W. Bush used in his 2002 State of the Union address, adopted a similarly bellicose manner in his 2003 book "The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush." Mr. Perle, a hawkish member of the Defense Policy Board and an assistant secretary of defense during the Reagan administration, acquired the Washington nicknames Prince of Darkness and Darth Vader in the 1980's for his combative, take-no-prisoners pronouncements.
David Frum responded in the National Review Online that Kakutani's wrath stems from resentment that "The New York Times no longer decides what Americans will read and what Americans will think about what they read. Rather than look inward, they blame talk radio and the Internet and Fox TV."

No, Mr. Frum, she's enraged by your astonishing arrogance. She is angered by the apparent pride with which you and Mr. Perle espouse policies which are dangerous, uncivil and outmoded. You and Mr. Perle, you just don't get it.

Responding to the Economist's criticism that the book isn't "nuanced" enough, Frum says that "nuance [is] a euphemism for 'accommodationist.'" This argument is typical of the neo-cons: decry a policy as being block-headed and simplistic and they accuse you of not being prepared to defend America.

Kakutani even mentions a quotation from the book to that end in her review:
"There is no middle way for Americans," they write in the opening chapter. "It is victory or holocaust. This book is a manual for victory."
This is the bullying language of dull punks.

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