Monday, September 28, 2009

Ode to Former Nixon Speechwriter

William Safire died today. Many have memorialized him as an oracle of language and a Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist, but I will always remember him as the man who wrote speeches for a president who committed war crimes against millions of people in Vietnam and Cambodia while simultaneously abusing executive power to harass and terrorize his political enemies at home.

Some may argue that it would be more polite to ignore his ignoble past serving the worst president in US history in order to eulogize him for his more positive contributions. But that would mean sweeping aside his more recent work spreading lies and disseminating distortions for another terrible president in order to promote yet another needless war that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

I would always prefer to be charitable towards the recently deceased, but this is a man who did not seem to feel much remorse for his role in manipulating language in service of an ideology of deception and destruction.

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