Monday, June 06, 2005

Ben Stein's Embarrassing Outburst

The Nixon apologists are out minimizing the crimes of Watergate, inventing bizarre historical theories of what happened and demonizing those who blew the whistle. We've heard from Charles Colson, Pat Buchanan, Alexander Haig, G. Gordon Liddy and Henry Kissinger, but the most offensive tirade has to be from Ben Stein:
So, this is the great boast of the enemies of Richard Nixon, including Mark Felt: they made the conditions necessary for the Cambodian genocide. If there is such a thing as kharma, if there is such a thing as justice in this life of the next, Mark Felt has bought himself the worst future of any man on this earth. And Bob Woodward is right behind him, with Ben Bradlee bringing up the rear. Out of their smug arrogance and contempt, they hatched the worst nightmare imaginable: genocide. I hope they are happy now -- because their future looks pretty bleak to me.
Now, blaming the loss in Vietnam and the Killing Fields of Cambodian on Nixon's being hounded from office requires that one believe that Nixon would have won the war and could have intervened in Cambodia (even though Kissinger continued as Secretary of State under Gerald Ford). It also requires ignoring the crimes of Watergate for which a number of high-ranking officials went to jail.
Ben Stein, who worked in the Nixon White House, is a funny guy with a deadpan, nasal monotone which he used to perfection in "Win Ben Stein's Money" and in various movie cameos. But this embarrassing ouburst is way out of bounds and genuinely mystifying.


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