Jon Stewart Pins the Tail on Doug Feith


feith twn 2.jpg
Hoffmania posts what I consider to be one of the most important, powerful exchanges I have seen on The Daily Show. While posing some of the discussion points for laughs, Stewart conducts an intense, tough interview.
The segments are nearly 20 minutes in length. In the first segment in posted on the link, Stewart says that the Administration’s level of deception slid over from “manslaughter to homicide.”
In the second segment, Stewart tells Feith, “You removed the ability of the American people to make an informed decision” about Iraq.
Don’t buy Doug Feith’s book, but watch these Jon Stewart clips.
— Steve Clemons


13 comments on “Jon Stewart Pins the Tail on Doug Feith

  1. TokyoTom says:

    Benjamin, the point isn’t about Feith’s intelligence. It’s that, far from simply doing “a very poor job of articulating their strategy to the American people”, the Cheney group decided in advance that they wanted to invade Iraq come hell or high war, and then chose the most expeditious approach of getting support for it – lying about it, conflating bin Laden/al Qaeda and Saddam, waiving around scary and groundless scenarios about mushroom clouds, and questioning the patriotism of anyone who objected.
    This “ends justifies the means approach” (with no open discussion of goals, beneficiaries or risks)is NOT supposed to be how the US makes decisions to wage war, and puts the US on the same footing as despotic regimes – as Hermann Goering notes:
    Hermann Göring (dialog with interviewer Gustave Gilbert while the Nuremberg Trials were pending):
    “‘Why, of course, the people don’t want war …. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.’
    “‘There is one difference,’ I pointed out. ‘In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.’
    “‘Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.'”
    Gustave M. Gilbert, The Nuremberg Diary, 1947.
    What we got from Bush, Cheney and enabling functionaries like Feith was inexcusable.


  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’ve spent some time with Doug Feith, and while I would freely admit his logic was flawed and his cronies did a very poor job of articulating their strategy to the American people, he is far from being a dumb man or the caricature that so many people have made him out to be”
    Oh, well golly, he and his co-conspirators did a poor job “articulating”. Hey, that makes this clusterfuck in Iraq excusable? Listen man, they screwed up a whole hell of a lot more than their “articulation”. Or are you one of these jackasses that thinks a million dead Iraqis is no big deal?
    “…and while I would freely admit his logic was flawed and his cronies did a very poor job of articulating their strategy to the American people”
    Thats pure unmittigated horseshit.
    Gads, how do you people live with yourselves?
    What the hell is the matter with you people?


  3. Benjamin says:

    A bunch of hypocrisy in this thread. But let’s start with the most obvious and intellectually lazy. This gets back to Feith, trust me. David’s comments are just a riot. So it’s “unpardonable to call McCain a more qualified candidate”, which I happen to think is true, and in the other breath, call for the end of “division”?
    Division is apparently a huge sin only when I don’t believe what you believe! Then, I’m wrong — and I should go (bleep) myself. His comments are littered with corrosive value judgment words that utterly defeat the purpose of his argument — “inexcusable”, “sin”, thoughts of violence — and then, the kicker is, “Fuck anyone and everyone who promotes division of this sort.” By his words, David is making an argument for what he’s railing against. A very odd way to have an intellectual discussion.
    But it touches on a larger point and one that I’ve seen by many people, not just in this thread, not just Democrats and not just Republicans. But in this case, more broadly, you’re arguing against Feith’s closed-mindedness by making obscene and ad-hominem attacks? You’re implicitly praising Obama’s calls for a “post-partisan division-free” political system (whatever that is) by telling your opponents they are stupid and should go “fuck themselves”? This is hardly just David, and clearly, it’s not just the right that closes its mind to diplomatic and sane arguments.
    I’ve spent some time with Doug Feith, and while I would freely admit his logic was flawed and his cronies did a very poor job of articulating their strategy to the American people, he is far from being a dumb man or the caricature that so many people have made him out to be.
    The folly of battling illogical thinking with juvenile and vulgar thoughts is the obvious, true problem and why we’re stuck in the mud. Our political discourse won’t be cured by eliminating division, if that’s even possible (it’s not); it’ll be making better arguments.
    And how quaint is that?


  4. TokyoTom says:

    Steve, the interview is indeed very interesting, but I think that Stewart was far too soft on Feith – and that you are giving Stewart more credit than he’s due as a result.
    Stewart left uncontested Feith’s claims of good faith but flawed thinking by actors within the Administration (by implication, Feith as well) and allowed Feith also to claim that he agreed with Stewart that the Administration’s explanations to the American people for the Iraq war were inadequate.
    Stewart should have done a better job of keeping Fieth at arm’s length and at focussing not merely on the deception but outright lies by which the Administration built its case for the war.


  5. J says:

    Stewart deserves more praise than he gets. He is not just funny
    and witty and all that. At times—probably all the time, in truth–
    he has a genuine moral depth that few journos and pundits
    Steve, thanks for posting this.


  6. Paul Norheim says:

    And I should add that this illustrate the importance of bloggers
    like Steve Clemons at TWN. Bloggers and comedians…


  7. Paul Norheim says:

    Jon Stewart did a great job. Unfortunately. Because he did not
    act as a funny comedian, but as a serious journalist. And the
    fact that a comedian for a long time has felt it as his duty to do
    the job that serious journalists in news papers and TV
    traditionally were supposed to do – asking the right questions –
    is a tragedy.
    The interview made it very clear that the Bush Administration
    not only mislead the public (and to some extent, themselves)
    about the potentially dangerous consequenses of not removing
    Saddam immediately (WMD and links to Al Quaida), but that they
    also mislead the public about the obvious risks implicated in
    attacking Iraq.
    Perhaps history would have taken a different path if the news
    media had done their job. But they didn`t. They served as
    amplifiers of the message from the White House. Judith Miller`s
    articles about WMD in The New York Times before the attack,
    illustrated the fact that the media accepted the perceived risks
    of NOT attacking Iraq. But a lot of Middle East experts, as well
    as a lot of ordinary people in America, here in Europe, as well as
    in the Middle East, saw intuitively, and more or less clearly, the
    risks involved in attacking Iraq. Just not the big media
    corporations of the USA (and, I must add: the BBC in the UK).
    They did not do their job.
    It is a well documented fact that Rumsfeld, Feith, and others
    were aware of the potential risks. But the Washington Post, New
    York Times, Times, Newsweek, CNN etc. etc. did not seriously
    ask questions about risks. They did not do the most imporant
    job of the decade: asking if Saddam really was an imminent
    threat to the American people, if he really had connections with
    Al Quaida, as well as investingating the potential risks involved
    in attacking Iraq, and informing the American people
    The bosses of NYT, WP, CNN, CBS, Newsweek etc, will never get
    punished for this crime, and will never loose their jobs. In
    essence, they continue to work in their new role, now by writing
    and talking about the threat from Ahmedinejad and Iran. And if
    they ask critical questions, they usually do so in a whispering
    tone, in a hard to find column on page 36.
    As G.W. Bush says: history will judge. Historians will probably
    add that this was the decade in American history when a
    comedian had to ask the hard and serious questions, because
    those supposed to do it were making propaganda instead.


  8. DonS says:

    Feith: “if the public doesn’t have accurate information . . . I do it by quoting documents . . . ”
    Feith’s contention, really, that cherry picked documents, arranged in the context he prefers, provides the naked truth is sophmoric in its premise and seeks to take the reading public for as great a fool as he continues to confirm himself to be.


  9. David says:

    Oops! I was battling captcha and posted this on the wrong thread.


  10. David says:

    Two cardinal sins: race-baiting and saying McCain was more qualified to be C in C than Obama. Those are unpardonables, although it is still preferable to have Hillary on board to help get Obama elected, so I guess there are no unpardonables, only deplorables. Hillary had best bring her Clintonites, especially the women, back into the Democratic fold (and I personally think she will).
    The third egregious sin was working the wedge between college-educated and blue collar Democrats, an inexcusable endorsement of blue-collar snobbery toward the educated, which especially galls me because I come from a blue-collar community that prided itself on sending as many of its sons and daughters to college as possible. Fuck anyone and everyone who promotes division of this sort. And what’s this shit about Volvo-driving elitits? The majority of Volvos were owned by teachers when I paid any attention to that sort of thing. I would love do drive a Volvo right up one of those division-meister’s ass, preferably while sipping a latte and listening to Bruce Springsteen at about 80 decibels.


  11. Matt says:

    When I saw that Feith was about to come on the show to hawk his book, I was really disappointed that Jon Stewart was going to let that happen. I’m really sick of all these liars who go on the funny TV shows and take some light mocking, shamelessly, in order to rake in a little more dough. But Stewart did do a pretty good job shutting him down. I don’t know…sadly, Feith will still probably sell more books because of this.


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