He lives in tony Chevy Chase, Maryland, just inside Washington D.C.’s Capitol Beltway and he has never heard a shot fired in anger. His name is George F. Will. He loves major league baseball, ex-British Czarina, Margaret Thatcher, and just about any kind of U.S. war, no matter how lethal, as long as he doesn’t have to fight in any of them. We know all of this because he writes nonstop about them in his syndicated columns.
In a recent spiel, he wrote a hawkish piece of nonsense, entitled, “What Makes the U.N. Legitimate?” The article advocated, even before any White House policy announcement, a “preemptive” U.S. strike against Iraq. The UN was described by him as a “tar baby” to be avoided at all cost , and the few hearty Democrats, who weren’t jumping fast enough on the War Band Wagon, were branded as Jeffersonian partisans, lacking vision, and “anti-nationalist.”
Appropriately enough, Will’s rant appeared in Rupert Murdock’s Israel First organ, the “New York Post,” (09/18/02). This is the repulsive rag, where pro-Ariel Sharon disciples, like A.M. Rosenthal, John Podhoretz, Daniel Pipes, and others of that Zionoid ilk, go about the business of pimping passionately for a U.S. war against Iraq.
Mr. Will also used his article to gratuitously insult France, America’s most faithful ally during our revolutionary war period. He labeled it as a nation with a “frozen reflection of the world in 1945.”
It bothered me, too, that Will cited the exemplary patriot and legal giant, Chief Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, in trying to push his Iraq-bashing scheme. Because, Marshall was a Federalist, and a strong nationalist, like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, Will believed he had a solid early American precedent to rely on in making his war-making case. What a gross distortion of our history!
Marshall, one of Virginia’s greatest sons, fought in the Revolutionary War against the British imperialists, and even spent that horrific winter at Valley Forge with his commander-in-chief. The idea that this gallant champion of our republic and Constitution would sanction a preemptive strike, without a congressional declaration of war, against a foe, that has done us no harm and presents no real military risk to us, is simply unfathomable.
To add insult to our national pride, Will took a pointed slap at another of the great Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson. He railed against his republican principles and view of the Constitution, mocking them as calling only for a “confederation” of states. He totally ignored the fact that this was the same Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence, initiated the Louisiana Purchase, and opened up the West to exploration for the then-young nation by sponsoring the Lewis and Clark Expedition. And, that one of the truly brilliant co-authors of the Constitution, another great son of Virginia, James Madison, later in his distinguished political career, endorsed Jefferson’s republican ideology.
One of Will’s sharpest critics is the author of “Wits and Sages,” Neil A. Grauer. In his compelling 1984 book, he called him “One of the Penatagon’s most uncompromising advocates” and “favorite columnist.” Grauer also retold how Will had helped prepare Ronald Reagan, in 1980, for his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter. After breaching this cardinal rule of journalism. Will, ever the pious hypocrite, and without revealing his back stage role to the audience, then went on ABC-TV “Nightline, praising Reagan’s debating skills. He tried to minimize his unprofessional conduct by saying, he was only an “observer” at the preparation rehearsal. Sure George, we know!
If all of that wasn’t bad enough, Will, in 1982, redrafted a speech Reagan was to give to the (double gasp) British Parliament. As a reward, Reagan appointed the slippery Will to the nonpaying, but prestigious Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy. The president also gave Will’s then wife, Madeleine, a $68,000 a year sinecure at the department of education, according to Grauer. Columnist Jimmy Breslin dubbed the ethics-challenged pundit, “Will the Shill,” and Gary Trudeau, the celebrated cartoonist, gave him a good roasting for also sponsoring a pre-Inauguration dinner for his right wing crony Reagan.
Mr. Will hasn’t changed much since his days as a Reagan and Thatcher lapdog. Today, he is still spewing out pro-war propaganda to please the Pentagon, the White House, the Israeli Firsters, London, and the War Party in the Congress. Thomas Jefferson, once said, after an unpleasant visit with the demented King George III, at St. James’ Palace, on March 15, 1786, that the Brits required a kick in their pants in order to acquire “common good manners.”
I think if Jefferson were around today, and read “What Makes the U. N. Legitimate?,” he might say the same thing about its silly author, the pompous George F. Will.
WILLIAM HUGHES is the author of “Baltimore Iconoclast” (Writer’s Showcase), which is availabel online. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WILLIAM HUGHES 2002