Cliff May at NRO:
Update: a couple of nights ago, Jon Stewart said on The Daily Show:
The other night we had on Cliff May. He was on, we were discussing torture, back and forth, very spirited discussion, very enjoyable. And I may have mentioned during the discussion we were having that Harry Truman was a war criminal. And right after saying it, I thought to myself that was dumb. And it was dumb. Stupid in fact. So I shouldn’t have said that, and I did. So I say right now, no, I don’t believe that to be the case. The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war, and I walk that back because it was in my estimation a stupid thing to say.
Me: I give the man great credit for saying that. Like most people in the media (news and entertainment alike and the line between the two grows fuzzier every day) Jon Stewart is a liberal defender of the NY/LA Establishment conventional wisdom. But he also is a smart guy, an extraordinarily funny and talented guy and, by the way, a gentleman – not so common nowadays
Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard:
To his credit, Jon Stewart acknowledges how “stupid” and “dumb” it was to accuse Harry Truman of war crimes his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan. As we noted yesterday, the charge came in the middle of an interview with Cliff May, head of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, who appeared on the show Wednesday night. Contrary to Stewart’s apology, the comment didn’t just slip out. He seemed to think long and hard before making and then repeating it later in the show. As for the apology itself, I’ll let Allapundit do the dissection:
The closest we get to an explanation is that the decision to drop the bomb was “complicated,” but of course that’s why Cliff May brought it up – to draw a parallel with the decision to waterboard terrorists. The moral calculus about how far to go in roughing up jihadis to save how many lives is difficult, as was the calculus about how many lives would be saved in the long run by incinerating Japanese kids in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war. The fact that Stewart is a hard no on the former yet considers the latter iffy suggests a mentality I simply can’t fathom. Is it just a matter of Truman having been a Democrat, whose motives were therefore pure, as opposed to Bush supposedly getting his Republican rocks off by torturing terrorists? Or is it that Truman’s already been vindicated by history and isn’t safe to criticize the way Bush still is?
Tags: cliff may, harry truman, jon stewart