- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Secret agenda

“I used to be puzzled by the fact that all those Upper West Side coffeehouse dwellers I know eat up ‘The Apprentice,’ despite the fact that Donald Trump may well be the closest thing America has to an embodiment of shallow materialism. But somewhere along the line, I figured out that the show works better as a wicked satire of traditional capitalism than as a celebration of it. …

“That’s why ‘The Apprentice’ really is a liberal show, no matter how much Trump tries to spin it the other way. It exposes the artifice behind what we otherwise might have thought an ideal life, much like a particularly disappointing trip to the Playboy mansion might.”

Brian Montopoli, writing on “Prime-Time Politics,” Monday in Salon at www.salon.com

Anti-American, anti-Semitic

“The Bush administration, in particular, seems almost universally reviled [here] in England. … At Oxbridge, I find myself regularly cornered both by distinguished literature professors and maintenance staff workers who want to tell me what’s wrong with the American government. …

“The war in Iraq, and the Bush administration’s perceived slight of its European allies, has brought into sharp relief some longstanding and pervasive complaints — real and imagined — about America: its crass materialism, class inequities, alleged contempt for multilateralism and violent street culture. …

“I have been shocked to discover that anti-American sentiment — clearly intensified by the Iraq war — is often laced with the kind of subtle, dinner-party anti-Semitism that once pervaded Ivy League universities at home, and that hostility toward Israel, the United States and Jews — across space and time — often get jumbled into one general argument.

“Even in polite conversation, one is apt to hear smart people speculating about the pervasive influence that Jews exercise over the American media and foreign-policy establishment.”

Henry Raymond in “Expatriate Teaching” in the Nov. 5 Chronicle of Higher Education

Fair-weather friends

“[I]n late 2002 and early 2003, we found such luminaries as Christopher Hitchens, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Fred Kaplan, Kenneth Pollack, Fareed Zakaria, Jeff Jarvis, Andrew Sullivan, Michael Ignatieff, and many others arguing for the expenditure of American lives and treasure in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“These days, none of those luminaries can summon a kind word for the president who acted in accord with their own arguments. Ignatieff dismisses the humanitarian intervention as a ‘fantasy.’ … Zakaria calls the president ‘strangely out of touch,’ unaware that his ‘attitude’ is responsible for the problems of postwar Iraq. … Even Hitchens … criticized the administration’s ‘near-impeachable irresponsibility in the matter of postwar planning in Iraq.’

“This is a neat arrangement of responsibility by the liberal hawks: All the blame falls on the president, none on themselves. … Under any conditions, the liberal hawks’ brand of armchair generalship is stunningly glib. …

“More than that, the liberal hawks must consider the very real possibility that what is happening today in Iraq is not an unforeseeable disaster, but the best outcome any reasonable person could have expected.”

Tim Cavanaugh, writing on “Desertion in the Field,” Monday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

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