Comedy

The Political Sterility of Jon Stewart

He's no George Carlin.

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Political satire has a long and honorable history: Aristophanes, William Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift; W.S. Gilbert; George Orwell; Lenny Bruce; Dick Gregory; Tom Lehrer,  David Frost, and That Was the Week That Was; George Carlin; Spitting ImageYes, Minister; the Smothers Brothers; the early Saturday Night Live, Dave Barry, The OnionSouth ParkFamily Guy, and so many more. Unfortunately, while it would be a slight exaggeration to say that political satire is dead in America, it's been on the critical list for some time. That's too bad. We need it more than ever.

Throughout history, satirists have risked their liberty and even their lives using humor to engage in deep commentary about the reigning political system and its exalted political figures—they're called leaders, though surely better terms are rulers and misleaders. But no satirist risks his life or liberty in America today, which makes the scarcity of good satire so puzzling. Is it fear that keeps it safely limited? Or is it simply that so few people today can see the fundamental flaws in the American political system, which trashes liberty in so many ways?

You tell me.

By now most people who pay attention to these things know that The Daily Show's host, Jon Stewart, who is probably regarded as America's premier political satirist, felt it necessary to recant after apparently uttering a heresy according to America's civic religion: democracy.

In an election-day interview on CNN, Christiane Amanpour asked Stewart if he had voted. He said, "No"—to which Amanpour reacted with (or perhaps feigned) amazement, "No?!"

Stewart continued, "I just moved. I don't even know where my thing is now."

That night on his own show, Stewart, after assuring his audience that he has known where "his thing" is since age 13, acknowledged that his answer created "a bit of a story." So he felt compelled to say,

To set the record straight, I did vote today.… I was being flip, and it kind of took off. I shouldn't have been flip about that.… It sent a message that I didn't think voting was important or that I didn't think it was a big issue. And I do, and I did vote. I was being flip, and I shouldn't have done that. That was stupid. So, I apologize.

Where to begin?

First off, how did his flip answer create "a bit of a story"? He's a comedian for heaven's sake! Several nights a week he makes fun of politicians and government bungling! He does flip for a living! Who got upset with his reply, aside from U.S. Secretary of War Amanpour? Whether one believed Stewart's answer or not, how in the world was it the stuff of public controversy? Does no one have a sense of humor? Must he say "just kidding" after every sentence?

Maybe one reason political satire is so scarce is that Americans don't get it. Paul Fussell, who wrote excellent books on how war degrades culture, said that World War II killed Americans' sense of irony. (See his Wartime.) We have here good evidence for Fussell's claim.

But even allowing for the irony-impairment of American culture, did Stewart really feel he had to apologize? Did he think he'd lose his audience if he became known as one who is "flip" about the holy rite of voting? I realize that ratings are a matter of life and death, but come on. I doubt that his career was in jeopardy. He might have even picked up a few viewers.

My son, Ben Richman, a fine rock guitarist who also has a keen eye for politics, had a different take on Facebook:

I don't think he was giving into public pressure, either. I think he genuinely felt that joking about it was wrong. At the end of the day, Stewart loves the system.

I'm inclined to agree. After all, he favors mandatory national "service":

There should be a draft where every young person has to do one year of something — military, public works — something so that we all feel invested in the same game, because that's the part that we've lost. [Emphasis added.]

Stewart can be funny when he pokes fun at politicians for their gaffes and indiscretions, and occasionally he ventures into a minefield. (He's done some surprisingly good stuff on Israel.) But if you watch closely, you'll see that he doesn't plunge the dagger in too deep. He is a man of the system, a progressive, of course. Thus, he believes government is good, the more active the better. He rarely gets down to fundamentals, and on the rare occasion when he does, he quickly retreats.

Remember when in 2009 he called President Harry Truman a "war criminal" for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed or maimed nearly 200,000 Japanese civilians? Now, actually that statement was neither satirical nor ironic. It was the unvarnished truth. Truman's victims threatened no one, and the war was essentially over. Yet those civilians were subjected to the most ghastly of fates. Some were vaporized on the spot, literally leaving only their shadows behind. And don't forget that Truman dropped the second bomb three days later. He considered dropping a third, but decided he didn't want to kill any more children. Reading about what the victims' experienced will turn your stomach, if you have a scintilla of decency in you.

But, nevertheless, Stewart recanted a couple of days later. On his program he said,

The other night … 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.… Sorry.

Stewart did not bother to explain why the statement was "stupid" (he also called his voting remark stupid) or why Truman's decision was "complicated"; that's what every Truman apologist says. But we know what Stewart meant. In America's civic religion, it is heresy to talk about an American war as though it was a massive series of crimes committed by "our" misleaders. You must not say thatActually, that's not it. You must not think that. Two and two is five. Never forget it.

Yes, it is permissible to say the war in Vietnam (never WWII, however) was a blunder, a colossal mistake. But don't say it was mass murder and a humongous criminal operation. Don't say the perpetrators should be brought to justice. Noam Chomsky did that and was thenceforth barred from publications that had regularly published him. It is a rare mainstream publication that would let you say that Bush 43, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Tenet, Petraeus, McChrystal, et al. should be hauled before the International Criminal Court to stand trial for their wars of aggression against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Has Nuremberg been erased from the history books? (Since writing this, I've been reminded of Stewart's obsequiousness before court historians like Doris Kearns Goodwin and ex-political appointees like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton.)

Getting back to Stewart and voting: his remark was actually pretty lame. All he said was that he couldn't vote because he didn't know where the polls were in his new location. He didn't say he was happy about it. He could have said,

Did I vote? Of course I voted! Would I pass up a critical opportunity to add my one single drop of water to the vast ocean? Why, every vote counts! Had I stayed home, the whole country—heck, the whole world—might be different. You must be crazy to think I'd let that happen.

That would have been satire. But it also would have struck too deep at America's civic religion, which holds that trudging faithfully to the polls every few years is the be-all and end-all of freedom. (That voting majorities by nature must violate the rights of voting minorities and nonvoters is curiously overlooked.)

What I wouldn't give to see Americans react to Emma Goldman saying on television, "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

Excuse me, but I grew up watching George Carlin. So call me spoiled. Jon Stewart is to George Carlin what Joe Scarborough is to H.L. Mencken.

Here's how Carlin handled politics:

I don't vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain," but where's the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote—who did not even leave the house on Election Day—am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.

George, we need you.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

NEXT: Protests Heat Up in Mexico Over Murdered Missing Students, Idiot Politicians, and the Narco-State Their Drug War is Facilitating

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  1. Maybe one reason political satire is so scarce is that American leftists don’t get it when it’s about them.

    FIFY

    1. Stewart is a coward. He knows damn well that the media is run by leftists. He knows that there is only so much he can criticize the left before they get offended and go after him so he snipes at the right because they have no power over him.
      He is part of the “system” so he is going to protect himself by not upsetting the system too much

      1. The system has divided up man’s view into two systems. Both are progressive, but with different labels. They control how those labels are defined which in turn gives them power over those that associate with it. Welcome to America, would you like a blue pill, or a red one? (both are placebos lol)

      2. you fox news viewers are hilarious
        not very bright, but hilarious

        1. i don’t know why they would give a retard a lobotomy, but you are living proof that they do.

  2. We could really use some militant atheism toward America’s civic religion. I tried my hand at it: http://www.examiner.com/articl…..ting-booth

    1. That was a pretty good article.

      1. No it wasn’t. He hand-waves the benefits of security provided by a state and asserts, against plenty of evidence, that democracy is always an exercise in majority tyranny. Where’s he going with that? If not democracy, then what? No answer.

        And history is replete with examples of functional anarchy–the result is always and everywhere clan warfare, where the law is the whim of whatever warlord controls the land you’re currently sitting on. Hatfields and McCoys. That isn’t the libertarian utopia you’re looking for.

        1. If not democracy, then what? No answer.

          I’m guessing anarchy.

          Anarchists are the only people who give Communists a real run for the money in the retard Olympics.

          1. Ad lapidem is an admission of defeat and ignorance.

        2. I handwave the benefits of security provided by a state because they are a delusion. If one robber keeps anyone else from robbing me but continues to rob me, the problem that I am being robbed has not been solved. If anything, the problem is now worse because the one strong robber is harder to defend against than the several weaker robbers.

          If not democracy, then liberty, otherwise known as anarcho-capitalism. That being said, it is not necessary to know the correct answer to a question in order to know that some particular answers are incorrect.

          Whether anarchy has worked in the past is irrelevant to whether it will work in the future, especially if it arises by different means.

          1. Serious? You realize that’s the same thing leftists say about communism, right?

            The benefits of security provided by a state are far from a delusion, as evidenced by the orders of magnitude gain in economic activity, output, and living standards since the emergence of stable states. 135,000 years of hunting and gathering, followed by 3,000 years in which humanity went from stone axes to the Internet.

            Yes, someone is still robbing from you. They’re also protecting you, and (this is a key to the bargain) robbing you at a stable and predictable rate. That’s why political conflicts in modern states arise when the taxation becomes more arbitrary and/or security lapses (or is perceived to). In a democratic state the people can vote themselves a new government to try and do a better job. In a dictatorship, the people can overthrow the dictator (after things get much worse than they ever would in a democracy)

            1. “The benefits of security provided by a state are far from a delusion, as evidenced by the orders of magnitude gain in economic activity, output, and living standards since the emergence of stable states.”
              Cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

              “Yes, someone is still robbing from you. They’re also protecting you”
              This is a contradiction.

              “In a democratic state the people can vote themselves a new government to try and do a better job.”
              This is an anti-empirical theory, and should therefore be rejected.

  3. The paragraph indents reveal the truth. Ed Krayewski is Sheldon Richman’s son’s REAL FATHER!

  4. I thought this was written by Sheldon Richman. Why does the byline say Ed Krayewski?

    1. It’s a trap!

      1. I thought it was a cookbook.

  5. Progs/SJWs are basically killing mainstream comedy of all types. It’s just another front in the war against all things they don’t agree with. I’m sure there are some people out there who are incredibly funny/talented that don’t conform the SJW code though.

    1. Progs/SJW are the lastest manifestation of puritanism. As such the are perpetually outraged that some one somewhere is enjoying themselves.

  6. Truman’s victims threatened no one, and the war was essentially over. Yet those civilians were subjected to the most ghastly of fates. Some were vaporized on the spot, literally leaving only their shadows behind. And don’t forget that Truman dropped the second bomb three days later.

    Bullshit. No way the Japanese govt surrenders without the bombs, and civilian casualties would be in the millions if we invaded. The Hiroshima bombing was met with defiance from the Japanese govt so another was necessary.

    Don’t blame Truman, blame the twisted totalitarian Shinto that had taken over in the Japanese military.

    1. Also if an invasion is performed, the Soviets probably take the northern half of Japan like they did everywhere else.

      1. I think that not happening is what pisses off the left about the end of the Pacific War.

    2. wars of aggression against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The derp plays on!

      1. Yeah, Richman lost my interest as soon as he trotted out those ridiculous lines.

        Calling the Hiroshima bombings “barbaric” is only valid if you ignore the context in which they happened. The Japanese had no intention of surrendering and ordered their people (military and civilian) to fight to the death if we invaded. The only thing that stopped that was the knowledge that we could simply annihilate them without allowing them to ever take a shot at our forces.

        I’m sure Richman would claim that’s a utilitarian rationalization, but the reality is that dropping two bombs and killing about 200,000 people (the total deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) was far more “humanitarian” than doing a land invasion and killing over a million.

        I also look at the fact that the Japanese fully bought into the government that ran that war effort, they were the ones who bombed us first, so fuck ’em if they didn’t like the outcome. Considering that their government *still* denies what they did in Nanking, they’ve got no moral high ground from which to complain.

        1. Great point. Richman blows his entire point about the history of political satire by showing complete and utter ignorance and distain of history in general. Even the most ardent pacifist can’t provide a decent argument against Truman’s actions in Japan. There is no question that Japanese and American lives were saved. The bomb ended it. The bleeding heart war criminal is drivel. If you want war criminal then look no further than the Japanese soldiers.

          1. “The bleeding heart war criminal is drivel.”

            But the argument that Japan’s military junta surrendered because their hearts bled for the dead civilians in Nagasaki and Hiroshima must also be drivel. They stood by and watched more die in more important cities under conventional bombing.

    3. I’m waiting for someone to begin an annual ritual of releasing a million doves to commemorate the deaths of 100,000 civilians in Manila, killed by Japanese marines the old fashioned way, with bayonets. Because apparently we’re letting bygones be bygones on that front.

      1. And 300,00 in Nanjing, China. But let disemboweled pregnant women be bygones.

    4. Your utilitarianism is showing, Tulpa.

      1. Damn utilitarianism, preventing people from dying.

        1. Yeah, let’s preemptively kill a few innocent people now to ensure a brighter future tomorrow.

          Has it ever occurred to you that only attacking aggressors is justified? Why do you feel the need to obliterate infrastructure, create nuclear fallout for civilians not involved?

          Your logic would say that killing friends and relatives of a murderer is justified if that *may* convince him to stop killing. Somehow your utilitarianism leads you think is better than going after the murderer himself, all because you want him to surrender.

          1. Thats how wars are fought dumbass. Thats why we try to avoid them.

            1. No, that’s how cowards fight.

              If it’s not justified in killing innocent people, then you don’t make an exception at your convenience just because a nation state says so.

              The way it should be done is via assassination.

              1. What planet are you from honestly? Assassinate the emperor? That would have ended world war 2?

                Are you just trolling or are you honestly this ignorant about history?

                1. Of course. And if any leader attempts aggression, you assisnate again.

                  WW1, WW2, WW3, it doesn’t matter. I’m talking about ethics. What is and isn’t justified. You still haven’t given me a logical answer as to why we need to make arbitrary ethical exceptions.

                  1. And if you’re not able to accomplish an assassination (which I think you’re vastly underestimating the difficulty of, especially with 1940s technology) you just have to sit back and let your own people be killed?

                  2. You still haven’t given me a logical answer as to why we need to make arbitrary ethical exceptions.

                    Because sticking to your ideology is going to get millions of people killed. Is that enough for you?

                  3. The only alternative you have been willing to offer to the atomic bomb is pure fantasy. You might as well pray that the hand of god comes down and smites enemy leaders.

                    Or do you honestly believe that you are more moral, and intelligent then all the war leaders at the time?

                    The only alternative to the atomic bombing were, a mainland invasion, or possibly the continuation of previous firebombing campaign. Which out the 3 sounds best to you?

                    1. To clarify, when I said “of course” I did not mean taking out the emperor would’ve ended WW2. That was in response to “Assassinate the emperor?”

                      Hence why I mentioned WW3. You can’t prevent anyone determined to fight. You can only address specific threats i.e. the actors themselves, as they come.

                      Or do you honestly believe that you are more moral, and intelligent then all the war leaders at the time?

                      Why are you appealing authority as your ethical rationale? If it’s not justified in shooting up a neighborhood because who lived there attacked you, then it’s still not justified doing that when the scale is larger.

                      The only alternative you have been willing to offer to the atomic bomb is pure fantasy. You might as well pray that the hand of god comes down and smites enemy leaders.

                      That’s ironic. Because what you’re advocating for is the hand of the state to come down and smite civilian populations.

                      If you don’t like the rape of Nanking, why do you think performing the same in reverse is ok? All for surrender? It seems like an excuse to collectivize other people as the enemy.

                    2. You should see “Fury”

                    3. Your lack of imagination does not mean other alternatives did not exist.

                      An atomic bomb dropped somewhere in Japan where it would be noticed but not wipe out a city, for example.

                      It’s like you’ve never heard of a warning shot across the bow of a ship.

                    4. They refused to surrender even after Hiroshima was obliterated.

                      There is no way a Bidenesque warning shot would have worked.

                    5. Warfare is not about “imagination”…it’s about attrition and establishing superiority of force.

                      It’s like you’ve never heard of a warning shot across the bow of a ship.

                      Hiroshima and Nagasaki *were* the warning shots, dumbass. If they’d really wanted to kill people en masse, they’d have hit Tokyo, Yokohama, or Osaka. You’re talking about dealing with a population in which they worshipped their emperor as a *god* and were willing to fight to the death against a land invasion. Bombing empty space lacked the appropriate emphasis on just how futile that effort was and would be unlikely to break their will. Breaking their will and achieving total capitulation was the *point*.

                      Do you honestly not understand how wars work?

                    6. ” If they’d really wanted to kill people en masse, they’d have hit Tokyo, Yokohama, or Osaka. ”

                      All these cities and more were hit by conventional bombing and resulted in greater numbers of casualties than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

                  4. Well imagine lives are being lost every day by men fighting for a power, and the opposite power is also losing men. You could develop a weapon that is so powerful it ends the war, but innocent lives will be lost… You might consider dropping the bomb, or at least I would. Not saying I agree with the monstrosity of the crime at Hiroshima. But it is the lust for power that this sacrifice occurred as true diplomacy should have prevailed.

                  1. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated

                    1. Well that article says there were alternatives to the atomic bomb, just not better alternatives.

                    2. Some argue that the fact that after the triple shock of the Soviet intervention and two atomic bombs, the Japanese cabinet was still deadlocked and incapable of deciding upon a course of action is telling both of the power of the Army and naval factions in the cabinet, and of their unwillingness to even consider surrender. Even following the personal intervention of the emperor to break the deadlock in favour of surrender, there were no less than three separate coup attempts by senior Japanese officers to try to prevent the surrender and take the Emperor into ‘protective custody’

                      Your surveys are fucking worthless.

                    3. “Your surveys are fucking worthless.”

                      And your insistence that hundreds of thousands of innocent people deserved to die because some Senior Officers tried to harry off with the emperor is beyond fucking retarded.

                    4. Your surveys are fucking worthless.

                      This.

                      Japan’s emperor may have wanted to surrender, but the military leadership had no intention of doing so. They controlled the emperor and therefore the emperor’s message…as it has been through much of Japan’s history.

                      It’s not the god-king who was in charge of the military…it was the military who was in charge of the god-king. Why do you think that we hung the military leadership after the tribunals and let the emperor off the hook (despite his nominally being in charge of all the atrocities committed)? It wasn’t just because we were afraid the Japenese people might get upset…it was because the emperor wasn’t the one calling the shots.

                    5. “Why do you think that we hung the military leadership after the tribunals and let the emperor off the hook (despite his nominally being in charge of all the atrocities committed)?”

                      I’ve always been surprised how those who most vigorously defend the atomic bombings are also, to a man, apologists for the despicable Japanese emperor.

                    6. HM, that survey contradicts itself in the parts you quoted.

                      air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure

                      They seem to claim that strategic bombing really doesn’t have any effect and then claim that somehow “air superiority” without tons of strategic bombing would have some effect.

                      No atomic bombs, no Russian entry and the Japanese surrender? Why? They lose over 100,000 on Okinawa but “air superiority” would cow them into submission? Certainly, the atomic bombings were not the single cause but pretending that they were not huge makes no sense to me.

                    7. Certainly, the atomic bombings were not the single cause but pretending that they were not huge makes no sense to me.

                      I agree. The point was more that the case for dropping the nukes wasn’t as clear-cut as Mr. Fuzz makes it out to be.

                    8. “I agree. The point was more that the case for dropping the nukes wasn’t as clear-cut as Mr. Fuzz makes it out to be.”

                      Do you or anyone else have better and realistic alternative to the atomic bomb?

                    9. Do you or anyone else have better and realistic alternative to the atomic bomb?

                      Well, if you want a ‘realistic alternative’, we need to be realistic about why the bombs were dropped. It wasn’t to avoid Operations Olympic and Coronet, it was to beat the Soviets to the punch in claiming the Japanese islands. If the Japanese surrendered to Stalin as opposed to us, East Germany would have been an island chain in the Pacific next to Mao’s shiny new Red China.

                      So I ask you, do you care if the Soviets got Japan? If not, the best alternative would have been to let them run wild and unleash the dogs from Vladivostok and Manchuria.

                    10. So I ask you, do you care if the Soviets got Japan?

                      Well I certainly do, as does any sane individual concerned with the course of The Cold War.

                    11. I’d say that after the merciless campaign of firebombing of Tokyo (which killed more than both atomic bombs put together), Japan’s political and military will wasn’t broken (though its people may have been)… the atomic bombs were the path of least destruction to show what utter annihilation felt like should the US/USSR invade Japan.

                      They got the message, but shamefully, it took two bombs to do so. That is the consequence of utterly blind nationalism that oozed out of every pore of Japan since the end of the Sino-Japanese War (the first one).

                      The folks in Manchuria would be hard pressed to say the US bombing Japan into the Stone Age wasn’t a bit of a middle-finger (metaphorically) for Japan’s atrocities across Asia, particularly in Manchuria in the 1930’s.

                      I agree nukes weren’t the “absolute” choice, but they were a damn sight better than invasion, and since we had basically turned Tokyo into a pile of ash, but Japan remained defiant, Truman’s idea of a least-allied-casualty plan wasn’t the worst.

                      I think Richman should take a look at the photos of Toyko and well, everywhere else before he decides to elevate the victims of Hiroshima/Nagasaki… while tragic, they weren’t the most evil thing to occur in the war. World War 2 had enough horror in it to last a millennium.

                    12. So what? Monday morning quarterbacking. You go with the evidence available at the time.

                    13. In reality, the Japanese came extremely close to ousting the Emperor for wanting to surrender after Nagasaki. An errant bomb prevented this. That’s how crazy the Japanese were. Then there’s the issue of Russia invading.

                    14. You seem to have trouble understanding the concept of “hindsight”.

                      At issue is not whether the bombing was necessary in hindsight, at issue is whether the people who ordered it reasonably believed it was necessary.

                      If the evidence had been there before the bombing that it wasn’t necessary, they wouldn’t have had to conduct a “detailed investigation” afterwards.

                  2. Well if a government apparatchik said something then that means it must be true.

                    The US had had air supremacy over Japan for months at that point with no offer of surrender — and the “exertion of sufficient pressure” using said air supremacy would require continuing the fire-bombing campaigns which themselves killed hundreds of thousands.

                  3. air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion.

                    In other words we could have fire-bombed many Japanese cities (which BTW caused more deaths than the a-bombs) and saved lives.

                    Got it!

                2. It does seem odd that as a matter of policy the Allies chose not attempt to kill either Hitler or Hirohito, the glue that held both the German and Japanese regimes together, but rather chose to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo in fire bombing raids.

                  The generals also seemed a bit squeamish about targeting axis general officers.

                  What was all that about; professional courtesy?

                  1. There were plans to assassinate Hitler, Operation Foxley being the one I remember off the top of my head. Hirohito is a different case because even without him it’s unlikely that Japan would have stopped fighting (people seem to forget that when Hirohito surrendered there was an active coup attempt by radical officers). If anything previous assassination attempts/successes on Japanese officials had solidified a military-junta style power structure.

                    1. unlikely that Japan would have stopped fighting (people seem to forget that when Hirohito surrendered there was an active coup attempt by radical officers).

                      And people like you take for granted that the actions of a handful of officers or military personnel don’t reflect upon all, or even a majority of the populace.

                      Unless you feel American citizens should be made to die in retaliation for all the horrible and unpopular shit our government does as World Cop.

                    2. Maybe the reasons the Allies chose not to assasinate Hitler was because his constant interference in military operations were actually benefiting the Allies on the battlefield and his death might have ushered in a successor who was less meddlesome. Though his death might have also ushered an end to Germany’s involvement, unconditional surrender possibly precluded that and the Soviets may never have allowed Germany to exit the war short of complete capitulation.

                  2. What was all that about; professional courtesy?

                    Very much so. Going back at least to the War of the Roses era where captured gentry were beheaded (seen as humane) rather than hacked to death or cut and allowed to bleed to death.

                    A war of assassination could have resulted, although with the advent of drones we may have that soon.

                  3. It does seem odd that as a matter of policy the Allies chose not attempt to kill either Hitler or Hirohito

                    It’s not odd if you look at the history. The Allies had plans to assassinate Hitler (Operation Foxley), but realized that his replacement (one of his general staff) would likely be more militarily competent than the former corporal, but no less determined to fight to the death. They felt that having Hitler alive and in charge would give them a better chance of winning, because he was militarily inept.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Foxley

                    It made no sense to try and assassinate Hirohito since a) any assassination attempt had a low probability of succeeding, due to the problems with getting access to him, and b) he wasn’t running the war. Killing Hirohito just meant that the general staff would elevate his heir and the war would continue. Hardly an effective operation to undertake, considering the low probability of success or payoff.

              2. Fighting early 20th century wars with 21st century rhetoric is the sort of thing leftists do when they decry the heroism of soldiers in WW1 and WW2. I bet Remembrance Day makes you froth at the mouth.

              3. Innocent people? The Japanese and the Germans civilians weren’t innocent. They fed the murdering government beast; they supported their family members that tortured Chinese civilians and American soldiers; they supported the war effort. If they were so innocent they should have refused to fight or work in the factories that supported the war.

                War sucks and that is why we should stay out of every conflict that we can. But when someone is trying to kill you, it is a pretty good idea to make them stop not glorify them as innocent peace lovers.

          2. The choice wasn’t between killing people and not killing people. The choice was between (a) killing a hundred thousand with an A-bomb, (b) killing millions to tens of millions in an invasion, or (c) blockade Japan and watch millions starve to death. I suppose you should be thankful that your dogmatic ideology is ever going to be in a position to face.

            Your logic would say that killing friends and relatives of a murderer is justified if that *may* convince him to stop killing.

            No, it wouldn’t.

            1. If you criticize the nuclear bombing of Japan you are an advocate for mass death. You are also an advocate for sacrificing America lives for Japanese lives, a disgusting sacrifice by the victim for the aggressor.

              1. Japanese civilians were not “the aggressor”. But I agree with your conclusion.

              2. I get why people criticize the mass bombings of Japan and don’t think they’re “advocating for mass death”. They’re just wrong because they’re ignoring the historical context in which those bombings happened (as well as the bias created by hindsight).

                Any option chosen was going to be horrible…the atomic bomb was just the least horrible option from the perspective of body counts.

      2. That’s not utilitarianism.

    5. Anyone who claims dropping the bomb was wrong doesn’t know dick about the history of the second world war, and isn’t even worth arguing with.

      Ed read about the battles for Okinawa, and Imo Jima, the rape of Nanjing, and and look at something called Operation Downfall AKA the planned invasion of Japan, it will be a bit of an eye opener for you.

      It might surprise you, but the Japanese of 1945 were not cutesy anime drawing Japanese of today.

      1. It might surprise you, but the Japanese of 1945 were not cutesy anime drawing Japanese of today.

        Yeah, it looked more like this:

        http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_QFBV…..a-wwii.jpg

        Asshole.

        1. Try more like this.

          http://static.howstuffworks.co…..any-48.jpg

          Or go read “The Rape of Nanking” sometime…then shove your b.s. complaints about the poor, aggrieved Japanese squarely up your ass.

    6. I was about to post the same thing. Why don’t we blame the Japanese/Germans/Italians for starting a war that killed people both civilian and military in the tens of millions. It is a tool of the left to blame the Atomic bombings on the U.S. and the Truman Administration.

      As far as Vietnam went, the US would have won that war if we had not run a politically correct war in which we sought to contain the communists instead of actually defeating them. All they needed to do was wait the US out which they did then come and slaughter anyone in the South suspected of collaborating with the Democratic south or the US.
      People really need to learn history and not the stuff that is taught by leftist professors on college campuses.

      1. Why don’t we blame the Japanese/Germans/Italians for starting a war that killed people both civilian and military in the tens of millions.

        The Soviets also started the war on the side of the Nazis, a fact that’s nearly been whitewashed out of existence.

        1. So true… just ask the Poles about the Soviets. 🙂

    7. And even after Nagasaki there were those in the Japanese political and military leadership that didn’t want to surrender under FDR’s terms (unconditionally). There was even an attempted coup of the emperor because he favored surrender.

    8. It’s a highly debatable point.

      For Truman’s part, it is the case that his official stance emphasized the need for “unconditional surrender”–he wanted both the German and Japanese governments to have to publicly admit that they had been beaten and accept terms imposed by the Allies.

      Nonetheless, it’s also the case that Japan’s military capacity had been thoroughly broken by the spring of ’45 and they did not have the capacity to launch further offensive operations. One thing the Allies might have done at that point would be to simply blockade them and leave them to their own devices until a new consensus emerged from their leadership to settle the war on Allied terms. There were plenty of decent arguments against that option, of course, but it was an option.

      So, it can be validly argued that the nuclear bombings of Japan were like the difference between knocking someone down in a fight and landing a few bonus kicks once they’re already down to discourage them from trying their luck again. The ethics of that are, I suppose, debatable, so the ethics of using the atomic bombs that way have been extensively debated.

      Of course, ethics are also kind of an academic question in that war–there’s a reason it led to a substantial overhaul of international conventions on the definition of war crimes.

      1. “Nonetheless, it’s also the case that Japan’s military capacity had been thoroughly broken by the spring of ’45”

        Bullshit. That’s just an ignorant and completely incorrect statement.

        Japanese GDP dropped about 25% from 1944 to 1945.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M…..rld_War_II

        During the 8 months of 1945 (before the surrender) Japan produced over 5,400 fighters, 1,900 bombers, 3,300 other planes, 17 destroyers and 30 submarines.

        http://ww2-weapons.com/History/Production/Japan/

        Sure they’re industrial production was getting hammered, but they were still producing substantial amounts of offensive weaponry.

    9. So glad we have this sorted out : Killing civilians in large numbers is AOK, at least when we do it, because we have good intentions. And if you disagree you are a dirty commie lover. Glad we solved that moral quandry.

    10. Truman made the right call. Casualty estimates for US troops ran as high as 1.5 million wounded and dead.

      1. Sure, with the bullshit invasion operation that was cooked up to make the bombs look like a good idea in comparison. Blockade would have worked fine; it could have even kept the Russians out while Japan dried up.

        I’m a little disturbed that nobody brought up the precedent set by the decision to nuke defeated civilians: You’re a world leader, and your science boys have just cooked up a new weapon that is infinitely scaleable in its destructive potential. You’ve thoroughly defeated your last remaining enemy in a dwindling war, and all that remains is the formality of surrender. The world is watching, and what do you decide to do with this new horror, a technology which – for the first time in history – suggests that mankind might soon have the capacity to intentionally extinct itself? You drop it on the civilians of a defeated foe with but the thinnest of excuses.

        That is the precedent that Truman set for the deployment of one of man’s most destructive technologies. It’s a MIRACLE that Russia was more responsible with the bomb during the cold war than we were with them at the end of WWII.

        1. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

          1. Compelling counter argument!

        2. It’s a MIRACLE that Russia was more responsible with the bomb during the cold war than we were with them at the end of WWII

          Oh, really?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S….._Test_Site

          1. Not even close to bombing major cities. I honestly don’t think even YOU believe that.

    11. Ignoramus? Or just a knee-jerk lefty liar?

      Okinawa was bloodbath and invasion of the main islands would have been far worse … for the American military and for Japanese civilians.

      Reading such anti-American nonsense is not what I expect from Reason.

    12. You think the leadership of the Japanese military gave a shit about the devastation of a couple of out of the way, Christian ridden cities like Nagasaki and Hiroshima?

      1. Obviously they did, because they surrendered shortly afterwards.

        1. They cared about the emperor who continued to sit on his throne after the surrender. You think the Soviets would have been so understanding?

  7. After beginning the article with the claim that Stewart’s need to retract the voting remark signals the death of satire, Richman concludes by acknowledging that the remark was not actually satire in the first place.

    I guess he just needed to get his wacky opinions about the Pacific theater of WW2 and Afghanistan off his chest.

    1. And Israel. He is a manic-obsessive.

  8. I have a book I picked up at a second hand store,wife likes those place to wander in.It’s written about the governments of Europe in 1937.Very interesting the views of the time.In it the writer stated ‘if socialism comes to the U.S it will be in the form of taxes,regulations and laws ,not in ownership of production’.This is what Steward and his ilk want and will never poke fun at such efforts.They believe .

    1. ‘if socialism comes to the U.S it will be in the form of taxes,regulations and laws ,not in ownership of production’.

      I believe so too. That’s the method to appease enough people, to give the illusion of private ownership in a reality of a permission-based society.

      1. The common beliefs of the time of NAZI Germany and the USSR are very interesting.Like Churchill’s History of the English Speaking People it’s written in the style and bias of the time.The section on the Jews in Germany are quite chilling.

    2. “ownership of production” and “taxes regulations and laws” aren’t exactly mutually exclusive.

      1937 was the peak of the New Deal, it’s not like that book was making a prediction either.

    3. ‘if socialism comes to the U.S it will be in the form of taxes,regulations and laws ,not in ownership of production’

      That’s not socialism, that’s called progressivism, or in its totalitarian form, fascism.

      1. “that’s called progressivism, or in its totalitarian form”

        Redundancy.

  9. “and the war was essentially over.”

    No it wasn’t.

    1. And when you prove that the war wasn’t over, the retort will be, “It is America’s fault for demanding unconditional surrender! Imperial Japan wanted to save face. Why wouldn’t we let them save face? Over such a small thing too. The rape of Nanking, you say?…Jon Stewart is such a poor satirist, don’t you find?”

      1. Yes, they do tend to make up facts. The Japanese govt communicated no willingness to surrender under any terms until after the Nagasaki bomb.

        1. Even after that there was a faction in the Japanese government that wanted to continue the war, even if it meant defying their god emperor.

      2. Terc, how it was America’s military – let alone moral obligation – help Japan save face is beyond me to understand given the unspeakable atrocities they committed. They didn’t deserve such service.

        1. If allowing the Japs to save face would have saved innocent lives, one could have argued for that. However there’s no reason to believe it would have in this case.

          1. Which “innocent lives” could have been saved?

        2. Agreed. Imperial Japan butchered and/or enslaved everyone they could get their hands on. They did not give mercy nor did they ask for any. When an enemy butchers everyone in sight and employs suicide tactics because they would rather die than let you live, how is a negotiated settlement even possible? War becomes a zero sum game; you either accept your own destruction or completely destroy them instead.

  10. You want satire? I’ll give you satire:

    It is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant
    of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself…

    But, while you downplay some services and lie about others I’ve done,
    what value do you put on the fact that ? if I had not been handed over
    as your dedicated client ? your wife would still be a virgin.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satires_(Juvenal)

    To me, part of being a hard core satirist like Juvenal means standing by your words. What’s this bull shit about apologizing?

    I found this list of top satirists (hint Stewart is not in it as he ought not be):

    http://listverse.com/2011/10/3…..satirists/

    1. To be clear about who said what above in quotes:

      “It is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerantof the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself…”

      “But, while you downplay some services and lie about others I’ve done,
      what value do you put on the fact that ? if I had not been handed over
      as your dedicated client ? your wife would still be a virgin.”

  11. “Reading about what the victims’ experienced will turn your stomach, if you have a scintilla of decency in you.”

    Agreed, what the Japs did at Pearl was indeed so horrible that it turned my stomach, glad someone was willing to stop them by bombing the shit out of them.

    1. Yes, the Japanese populous were all conspiring with the emperor and generals on Pearl Harbor. That’s why we had to not only firebomb all of their houses over there, but also round them into internment camps here, amirite?

      1. Jesus Christ you really are fucking stupid.

        1. “Jesus Christ you really are fucking stupid.”

          All he did was parrot the argument YOU’RE making, you fucking dipshit.

      2. Don’t conflate. You cheapen your argument.

      3. “Yes, the Japanese populous were ”

        Culpable. Sorry, tough titties, they were. They knew they were engaging in total war elsewhere, and thinking that it wouldn’t come back to them is moronic.

        1. Japanese civilians didn’t have any say in the matter, and even if they did, what you’re saying could be used as justification for every sort of terrorism in existence.

          1. “Japanese civilians didn’t have any say in the matter”

            Bullshit and apologia. Grown men have wills.

            “what you’re saying could be used as justification for every sort of terrorism in existence.”

            No, that’s just you being stupid Tulpa.

            1. So knowing what our government does abroad and not overthrowing it makes us culpable?

              1. It doesn’t?

                1. I eagerly await your revolution newsletter.

                  (Disclaimer: I don’t disagree necessarily with our use of the A-bombs, especially when you consider the death and destruction wrough by our fire bombing campaigns.)

            2. “”Bullshit and apologia. Grown men have wills.”

              The Iraq War was Squishy’s fault. He didn’t do enough to prevent it from occurring, and he should be executed by firing squad.

              And don’t give me any self-pitying bullshit apologia about how you didn’t have a hand in the Iraq War, you fucking crybaby. You’re a grown man, and grown men have wills.

          2. Japanese civilians didn’t have any say in the matter,

            Really? So who was building all the stuff they were warring with? Right, fuck off now Tulpa.

            1. Building stuff, or flying kamikaze, because there’s a gun to your (or your families) head ain’t exactly getting a say.

              1. Not that we have a lot of polling data from the period or anything, but Japanese colonialism was historically very popular amongst its population. Japan’s involvement in the Second World War is a little more fuzzy, but considering that to this day there are Japanese historians and politicians who refuse to say the Rape of Nanking happened or that comfort women were acceptable in the time of war I think you’re underestimating their capacity for blind nationalism.

                This is ‘the Wehrmacht had nothing to do with war crimes, it was all the SS’ myth all over again.

                1. *that comfort women weren’t acceptable in the time of war

                2. So you don’t actually know whether many or most Japanese civilians supported what the military was doing, but because some goofballs in Japan today have goofy opinions, that means they probably did.

                  And if you’re a civilian who individually didn’t support what the military was doing, tough shit.

                  1. I’m waiting for your statistics and evidence to show that the Japanese ‘didn’t have any say in the matter.’ If you’re going to criticize my claims at least have evidence to support yours.

                    “And if you’re a civilian who individually didn’t support what the military was doing, tough shit.”

                    Yes, because shockingly warfare isn’t fair. Combat between states is brutal and collectivizing. In wartime, especially in the context of total war, your individual self doesn’t mean shit in the context of what the state you choose to follow does.

              2. Building stuff, or flying kamikaze, because there’s a gun to your (or your families) head ain’t exactly getting a say.

                Yeah, you’re wrong. You always have the ability to fight tyranny and die if necessary.

                You don’t value that above whatever small chance to survive that capitulating would allow. That’s your value judgement, but it’s absolutely a choice.

                1. So everybody else in the world must risk their lives to overthrow their govt if it’s doing naughty things overseas, and forfeits their life if they do not.

                  Presumably this doesn’t include Americans or other non-brown populations?

                2. “Yeah, you’re wrong. You always have the ability to fight tyranny and die if necessary.”

                  Glad you agree with blanket guilt in the name of collectivist philosophy. We’ll stand you up against the wall next to Squishy for your major part in the atrocities committed during the Iraq War.

              3. If there’s already a gun to your head, what’s the difference who shoots you?

              4. Japan was not a democracy or a republic or any form of western society. The peasants had no say whatsoever.

                1. Japan was not a democracy or a republic or any form of western society. The peasants had no say whatsoever.

                  A fact that historical revisionists like to ignore about both Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Populations of authoritarian governments don’t turn on their governments in wartime unless you present them with an even worse option if they don’t. The atomic bomb was the worse option.

                  That, by the way, is why the U.S. Air Force abandoned their “no civilian casualties” policy in the air war in Europe. After taking 25% losses on *every mission* they realized that taking heavy casualties to bypass population centers so they could hit remote industrial centers was a losing strategy. The attrition rate for pilots and crews was simply too high and we couldn’t replace them quickly enough to continue that strategy.

                  Basic economics of warfare.

                  1. To clarify (for those who can’t follow the logic)…hitting industrial centers didn’t scare the population into turning on the government. They didn’t care if the U.S. bombed a ball-bearing factory, because they could just build a new one. They did tend to take notice when the U.S. bombed their homes.

                    Conventional warfare, again, is about attrition and breaking the will of your opponent. It’s certainly barbaric, but tthey’re far more barbaric if you’re on the losing side…which is why you fight to win.

      4. This is actually starts with an accurate observation, you’re just too stupid to know it. The Japanese people really were largely supportive of the butchery their government carried out, at least for a while.

        Many of the ‘innocent’ civilians killed in war aren’t. Many are supportive of the war effort in tangible terms-like weapons manufacturing. Kill them. Many give moral support to their government’s aggression. Kill them too. The death of children and true innocents is not the proper concern of the victim, which America was in WW2. It is incumbent on civilians in the position of the Japanese people to leave the cities and other bomb targets. Their deaths are 100% the fault of the Japanese government.

        1. Many of the ‘innocent’ civilians killed in war aren’t.

          Possibly, but some of them are. If it’s wrong for you to kill a person three feet away, it’s wrong to kill a person three thousand miles away.

          1. 1) Those deaths aren’t America’s fault, the were the fault of the Japanese government.

            2) The USG had a moral duty to end WW2 with victory and as few of its citizens killed as possible. If that meant killing EVERY Japanese, then it had a moral responsibility to do so. Any government that would not should be forced out immediately.

            1. I’ve never heard someone argue that genocide could be a moral responsibility before. Quite the innovator you are.

              1. DERP. That’s not genocide Tulpa. But that’s exactly kind of retarded conflation I expect from you.

                1. It’s only genocide if killing off the Japanese is an end to itself, not if that is a means to ending aggression.

          2. Who exactly do you think is innocent? In what way were the citizens of Japan or Germany “innocent”? They put those governments in power and they failed to revolt.

            1. In what way were the citizens of Japan or Germany “innocent”? They put those governments in power and they failed to revolt.

              So, what you’re saying is, you should be lied up next to the other two dipshits in this thread and executed for your part in any and all war crimes committed by the American government because you personally didn’t stop them. We’re gonna need more bullets.

          3. But it’s easier to kill the one who’s 3′ away.

        2. “Many of the ‘innocent’ civilians killed in war aren’t.”

          Fuck off, slaver butcher.

    2. Really? A ‘No-boots-on-the-ground Kinetic Military Action’ performed as a ‘pre-emptive defense’ by attacking first?

      Simply sounds like the Japanese were going by US foreign policy guidelines decades before the US was.

      And they struck *military* targets.

      I’m not going to fault the US for dropping nuclear weapons – we were firebombing in Japan and Europe for Christ’s sake, ‘Total War’ was the policy and deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure was the order of the day. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were no worse than anything else we or our opponents did in that war.

      But, if you’re going to get upset about something the Japanese did, Pearl Harbor is probably the most ‘honorable’ Japanese action of that war.

      1. Fuck Japanese apologists.

        1. They really are ignorant pieces of shit. God even members of the German Nazi party were disgusted by the Japanese conduct during the war.

          Nothing but dark age barbarians, armed with modern weapons.

          1. In fairness, it was only a couple of members of the Nazi Party who were horrified by Japanese actions in that war…and they were punished by the government and reviled by German society when they opened their mouths about it.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rabe

      2. “Pearl Harbor is probably the most ‘honorable’ Japanese action of that war.”

        That’s why I picked it. So I could heap even more evil on top for the apologists if necessary.

      3. I don’t get the fetish for attacking military targets & personnel in preference to civilians. I’d be the other way around. It’s a lot easier to shoot the person holding the gun than to shoot the gun out of their hand. The military is the gun, the civilians are holding it. On defense, the military is the bodyguard, the civilians are the ones you really want to kill. Even better would be to torture them.

        Which country would you rather go to war against: the one that fights soldier vs. soldier, or the one who tortures you?

        1. It was less a fetish than a strategy that proved (in Europe) impossible to sustain. The U.S. government attempted to take the moral high ground early in the war with a “no civilian targets” strategy in the air war. They abandoned it after realizing that it killed too many bomber crews and that the German civilians didn’t care. They weren’t turning on Hitler whether we bombed them or not.

    3. I’d wager the people of Manchuria suffered in a similar manner at the hands of Imperial Japan. Those who simply equate “atom-splitting == suffering” tend to forget the tens of millions of bodies under the boot of Japan’s military.

      Their fanaticism made Hitler’s group look like a bunch of part-timers. Yes, it was horrible to see the burns, the cancer, etc. But it was also horrible to see the Bataan Death March, the Philippines, most of Asia…

      And the Japanese were culpable, just like the Germans.

      1. But it was also horrible to see the Bataan Death March, the Philippines, most of Asia…

        Or the people who died from the bubonic plague that the Japanese dropped on Manchuria, or the Chinese and Russian civilians who were tortured to death in Unit 731’s human experiments, or the 300,000 people who were systematically raped and murdered in Nanking…

  12. Reading about what the Japanese did at an Nanjing turned my stomach.

    That said, I do not think it was necessary to pursue an unconditional surrender for either Japan or Germany.

    1. Both governments were corrupt and totalitarian to the core, and had to be obliterated. Nazi Germany never showed any willingness to surrender regardless of terms, and the Japanese govt only did so after the second atomic bomb was dropped.

      1. Oh, hi Tulpa!

        Japan sent a delegation to Russia to try to work out a surrender. German generals tried to kill Hitler so they could work out a surrender.

        I think if the Allies had offered a conditional surrender, the war may have ended sooner.

        1. This is only 27 years after the last world war ended, maybe the Allies wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be fighting another stupid world war after another 20 some years.

          1. Especially as our involvement in the *first* one directly laid the groundwork for the second.

            Its kinda like our penchant for poking our nose in every conflict keeps coming back to bite us in the arse.

            1. Europeans have no agency, so of course it was entirely our fault. We can’t expect them to make free choices of their own that led to war!

              That’s…one bizarre version of American exceptionalism you go there – only we have free will.

              1. Nope the great empires of Europe, one of which covered a quarter of the globe at the time, had no power to choose their own future. That was up to some 2nd rate power that was just then beginning to enter the world stage, some 3000 miles away from the conflict…

                That is some quality derp right there.

                Honestly I thought the whole “blame America first” was something made up by conservative talk show hosts, but apparently their some people that actually do it.

                1. If the US had not entered the war, Germany would not have been forced to accept the unfair Versailles treaty which angered the Germans and fueled the Nazi party.

                  Never mind the fact that the US had absolutely no stake in WWI anyway.

                  1. Thats a lot of speculation on your part. An argument could be made that without U.S. involvement during the peace process, the terms of of the treaty of Versailles would have been far more harsh.

                    Of course that assumes the French and British would have won the war to begin with.

            2. Would you have liked for the US to stay out of WW2?

              1. I would have liked the US to stay out of *WWI*.

                1. The United States had little justification to enter the war, except for perhaps the Zimmerman pact…

                  The European powers held most of the world’s real estate at that time, it’s a shame they decided to piss it away.

                  A little more western influence on some of the more barbaric parts of the world might have been a very good thing.

                  1. “A little more western influence on some of the more barbaric parts of the world might have been a very good thing.”

                    Slightly agree, but be prepared for an epic shit storm if you say that to a prog.

                    1. “Slightly agree, but be prepared for an epic shit storm if you say that to a prog.”

                      They really do seem to hate Western civilization, it’s one of the pathologies of progressives I never quite understood.

                      I mean on most, if not all the issues progs claim to care about like women’s rights, and religious tolerance, the west is far better at then the rest of the world, and yet for some reason they seem to hate our civilization.

                    2. Because we won’t capitulate and give them the total control they do desperately crave.

                2. I agree with that. WW1 was really just a European land war. But the fucking meddling Ur-Progressive, Racist and all around control freak had to enter the war. I wish I could go back in time and shoot little Woodrow squarely in the head when he was about 20.

                  WW2 was different. We had a moral obligation to remove the cancerous Axis powers completely from the planet.

                  1. Eh…I care less about the “moral obligation” part than the fact that a) Japan bombed us and b) Germany declared war on us shortly afterward.

                    After those thing, anything that happened to the Germans and Japanese was entirely of their own doing.

        2. Japan sent a delegation to Russia to try to work out a surrender.

          It’s unclear how much backing that actually had in the Japanese govt, and at the very least they would have demanded no occupation of Japan, and the Japanese military’s management of troop withdrawals and war crimes prosecution.

          German generals tried to kill Hitler so they could work out a surrender.

          How did that work out?

        3. “I think if the Allies had offered a conditional surrender, the war may have ended sooner.”

          Here we have a demonstration of how much many ‘non-interventionists’ love war or at least the entities that push it. How else to explain their kid-glove approach that time and again leads to bloodshed, be it their coddling of Iran or determination to blame America for Islamist hatred of western freedoms, in contradiction to the words of Islamists? They don’t like peace, they just hate the USG.

      2. Actually the Germans were very amenable to a peace.

        1. According to whom? Which Germans? Certainly not the ones in charge…at least not until the Russians demolished Berlin and the Germans were forced to choose between surrendering to us or living entirely under Stalin.

    2. Would it be better to keep the Nazi government, and Japanese militarists in power after the war? The same governments that created the holocaust, or murdered countless civilians in China?

      1. Except for the very top, the leadership of both countries stayed on. Hell, we even let the Emperor of Japan keep doing his thing.

        1. Except for the very top, the leadership of both countries stayed on.

          “Well other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?”

          Both countries were under occupation governments after the war ended, btw.

        2. Not to mention, say, all those ‘former’ Nazis the CIA used for intelligence and the German engineers who actively used slave labour finding their way into the American and Soviet science programs.

    3. The problem is always trying to pursue surrender.

      That is because people still believe in the nation state. They want the leaders of their enemies to survive, but simply to do their bidding.

      Instead, the solution should be to pursue taking out the leaders or planners involved as quickly as possible.

      1. You should use unicorns to kill them and then take over after they die.

        1. No kidding.

          I wonder how many of these people even have a clue how difficult it is to assassinate a foreign leader of a country of any consequence.

          The CIA couldn’t even take out Fidel Castro in several decades of trying, and they think that we were going to just go into Imperial Japan and take out the heavily guarded Emperor in the middle of a war?

    4. I think a show off the coast of Tokyo may have been better,but,unconditional surrender was mandatory.The horrors those two governments unleashed demanded complete surrender .A lesson needed to be taught.Then again,it was a total war ,and the Axis set the rules for the conflict.

      1. If the Hiroshima bombing wasn’t enough to make them surrender, it’s hard to see a show and tell doing the trick.

        1. wiping out Tokyo harbor and rattling palace if full view of the population may have.I think the Allies wanted to keep that area clear and free for their ships though.

          1. I vaguely recall reading something to the effect that by that point in the war American strategists were already thinking about what post-war Japan would look like, and part of the rational behind the bomb was that the alternative would cause far more destruction of infrastructure and production capability, which would in turn make reconstruction much more difficult. Wish I could find a citation for that.

            1. That’s sounds a lot like Stimson’s journals, where he does discuss the possibility of a ‘demonstration’ of the atomic bomb off the coast of Japan. What we tend to forget is that the firebombing campaigns were actually more destructive than the atomic bombs.

              1. I’ve actually seen that point made pretty frequently, specifically in regard to the firebombing of Dresden.

  13. Tu quoqe & equivocation from a liberal? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN52CP2_F0U

    1. Oh, and a mob of straw men to boot!

    2. I think you having the stomach to watch progtards on youtube is greater inner-fortitude than anything you’ve read about Japanese atrocities.

      1. I eat derp. I breathe derp. I dream about derp. I begin each morning by reading The O’Reilly Factor for Kids and I watch Chris Hedges videos before I go to bed.

        1. I begin each morning by reading The O’Reilly Factor for Kids and I watch Chris Hedges videos before I go to bed.

          Why does this exist?

          1. Because the world is sick.

    3. I couldn’t get passed minute three without having a powerful impulse to punch Affleck’s smug, idiotic face through the screen.

      Also, the host pulled a doozy by claiming his show is the only show that really takes Islam to task. What a jerk off given plenty of publications – most notably conservative and libertarian ones – do so too. More critically and thoughtfully I would say.

      1. Bill Maher, like most progs, is unlikely to have ever read anything written by a conservative or libertarian, even by accident. The bubble they live in is amazingly sterile.

  14. Carlin was my generations great satirist and spared no one. Conservatives were his top target but enviros took it too.

    1. Yeah, what a loss when he died. I think Lewis Black at his best fills a similar niche, but nobody I know of today has Carlin’s sense of timing or irony.

      1. Leis Black is just another statist dick with an unquenchable “Top Men” fetish.

        I caught a sort of interview a few years back, during the tail end of the Bush administration in which he and someone else were discussing the rampant corruption in the government, and the interviewer made some comment about the government being bad and the need to limit it, which caused Black to slam on the brakes and frantically flail out, “There’s nothing with Government! My DADDY was a politician!”

        I think that was the first moment I fully understood just how and why the Left uses corporations as a red herring to distract from all the horrible shit they want the government to do.

    2. You’re 33 fucking years old, Weigel. Carlin wasn’t “your generation”.

  15. Thought this article would continue about John Stewart’s audience not being able to take satire regarding their sacred calves, but it swerved into a quick diatribe on the horrors to end WWII. There are very nuanced arguments to be had at the role of civilians in pushing their countries to war, some would argue consumerism in America drives incursions in the middle east. Ultimately all people need to realize you shouldn’t start wars, because you might not get to decide how it ends. Next time stick to the fun topic, not something that volumes of history are devoted to without good answers and made me kind of sad for Sunday.

    1. “…some would argue consumerism in America drives incursions in the middle east.”

      And those people are retards.

    2. We’re not here for fun, we’re here to solve the world’s problems.

      1. As if anything we say here makes a difference.

        1. I do make a difference, I vote.

    3. “Next time stick to the fun topic,”

      Ok mom.

      1. One man’s fun is another man’s horror.

    4. Seconded. I get where he was going, but I felt like Richman’s argument was diluted by his particular interpretation of the NAP.

      Also, why are Americans as a whole responsible for Iraq and Afganistan but the Japanese people were collectively blameless for The Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere and its associated deeds, e.g. Nanjing, the occupation of the Phillipines, etc.?

      1. I don’t agree with pinning the blame on Americans as a whole either.

        However, I consider the Americans who votes for the various politicians responsible, knowing and supporting their intention, to be responsible too. The same can be applied to anything political.

        1. I don’t agree with pinning the blame on Americans as a whole either.

          However, I consider the Americans who votes for the various politicians responsible, knowing and supporting their intention, to be responsible too. The same can be applied to anything political.

          So then you start to go down some pretty winding paths WRT personal responsibility. Are the only people culpable for the malfeasance of their government those who knowingly choose leaders that state bad intentions and then follow through? You don’t typically see that degree of honesty and/or foresight in politicians. Is there really that much difference between a person who ignores someone being raped or killed and someone who, knowing their government is doing bad things, does nothing? And if you do believe that a person doesn’t have a moral responsibility to resist the immoral actions of his/her government, then what do you think of the people who do, e.g. the Schindlers of the world?

          I don’t have a real good answer for any of that myself, but my inclination tends to be that inaction is tacit approval; silence is consent. I might not be Public Enemy No. 1, but I can’t use my ambivalence as a shield. In other words, it might be understandable that I’d not risk resisting my government, but if I were harmed or killed as a result of a victim of my government defending itself I have a hard time seeing that victim as morally inferior to me.

      2. “Also, why are Americans as a whole responsible for Iraq and Afganistan but the Japanese people were collectively blameless for The Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere “

        NEWSFLASH = Sheldon Richman is retarded

  16. Here’s some hilarious (or depressing) satire:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..story.html

    The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air. If a foreign power were to do such harm, we’d regard it as a threat to national security, if not an act of war, and the government would formulate a comprehensive plan and marshal resources to combat it. (The administration even named an Ebola czar to respond to a disease that threatens few Americans.) So when hundreds of thousands of annual deaths are preventable ? as the deaths from the chronic diseases linked to the modern American way of eating surely are ? preventing those needless deaths is a national priority.

    So, the government creates a health crisis in the US by subsidizing and promoting faulty science (Ancel Keys) and farm policies that reward the production of less healthful food and progressive “experts” in the form of Michael Pollen and Mark Bittman suggest – no demand – that government create moar policies to correct those errors all the while obfuscating the source of the problem and blaming food manufacturers who responded to incentives created by government.

    Fuck off slavers!

    1. I’m a fitness maniac and eat healthy (I haven’t been through a drive-through since 2009) but this “war on obesity” stuff is the biggest crock of bullshit ever.

      I don’t think the progressives understand one simple truth: you can do whatever you want to make stores put healthy food on the shelves, but if nobody wants it, NOBODY WILL BUY IT.

      I guess I should have expected that from people who so frequently deny the basic laws of economics in favor of deranged, idealistic visions of fuzzy pink unicorns.

      1. People will buy it if it’s mandatory- see Obamacare, and Mr. Show’s Coupon: The Movie.

    2. USDA Food Pyramid – enough said…

  17. Let’s re-fight World War II!

    1. Ike should have let Patton go all the way to Moscow! YEAH!

      1. Halsey acted stupidly!

        1. MacAruthur: Great general or the greatest general?

          1. Hannibal

            1. Wait, we really need to re-wind this thing so we can start WWII with the leaders and ethics we SHOULD have had. Let’s give ourselves back to England!

  18. The left takes media seriously–and always has.

    It goes back to Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

    “In its first phase, the vanguard party would exist for two reasons. Firstly, it would protect Marxism from outside corruption from other ideas as well as advance its concepts. And secondly, it would educate the proletariat class in Marxism in order to cleanse them of their “false individual consciousness” and instill the revolutionary “class consciousness” in them.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguardism

    The fascists looked to media as a means of social control, but since then, taking the media too seriously has been mostly abandoned by the right. I suspect it boils down to the right (and conservatives), even way down at the grass roots level, generally believing in objective truth–where the postmodern left sees truth as socially constructed.

    When you come across someone on the left who seems to be immune to arguments about the truths of economics, etc., e.g. Tony, the problem you’re dealing with isn’t about ignorance, really. To them, we’re the ignoramuses–and in a way, we are! People like that are just exceedingly frustrated that conservatives and libertarians try to build their consensus truth out of stuff other than sanctioned media.

  19. Saw the clip, Stewart is a dead man walking now I think, this apology opens the door for any half-baked gaggle of offended people to come along and shut him up.

    1. He has an army of sycophants that will defend him and cheer him no matter what he says, and that army is large enough to keep him on the air for years.

      He shall be around for as long as he wants, making silly facial gyrations to explain away progressive mistakes.

      1. His army is fickle, and follows what’s trendy. It’s not his army, it’s the progressive army, and he is just the current party mouthpiece.

      2. I heard his current ratings is around 1.2 million. That’s a fair bit but I don’t think it’s as high as it used to be. Fade away John.

  20. If your response to a comic’s social statement is ever “So TRUE!” yo are a moron. Period.

  21. Jon Stewart is a blithering ignorant lying moron.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0Qw_hs6rXo

    And not only is he a blithering ignorant lying moron, but he’s a self-certain blithering ignorant lying moron lacking the ounce of intellectual effort it would take to actually look up the US national debt history, preferring instead to remain a party to the ‘common ignorance’ who gets his facts from casual hearsay amidst his equally blitheringly ignorant associates
    And see how Jon’s equally ignorant fans laugh in support at his ignorant claims. Themselves too stupid and ignorant to bother looking up the real information and instead just buying whatever some moron their friends like on TV tells them.
    Swayed by Jon’s absolute certainty, though easily proven wrong, over Bill’s hesitancy, though easily proven correct.
    Style over substance. Exactly what got us to where we are now.

    Stewart presents himself as absolutely certain even though any moron can verify what he says as a lie with a 30 second Google search, and the audience responds to his STYLE over his factual substance LIE, while O’Reilly mealy-mouths what is in reality 100% easily verifiable FACT.
    Gullible morons preferring style over substance, exactly how we ended up with the most incompetent liar for TWO terms.

    1. You just won the thread. Thank you. I will treasure this video forever.

    2. I will always have a degree of respect for Jon Stewart because he’s a vocal advocate for pit bulls and against breed-specific legislation, and because he can be a pretty funny guy when he’s really “on”, but his politics are awful, shallow, and ill-conceived. It’s a damn shame that he’s somehow become the political “thought leader” of a generation.

  22. My son, Ben Richman, a fine rock guitarist

    Not a doctor, lawyer, or doctor-lawyer?

    Oy, a shanda! Why can’t he be a bioethicist, physician, laywer, author, playwright, and licensed NYC tour guide like that nice Appel boy, Jacob?

    1. Richman declares that he is a Palestinian on his web site. So they might have buried young Jacob or Ben under a “school” somewhere already. How to be an author and playwright of the struggle to eradicate Israeli hook noses when camping out under tanks?

  23. There’s a lot of arguments that can be made about the use of the atomic bombs on Japan at the end of the war, but the claim that ‘the war was essentially over’ is profoundly historically ignorant. Even ‘Truman’s victims threatened no one’ is arguable. There were munitions factories in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Richman, they were actively producing goods to ‘threaten’ other people. His constant stressing of ‘children’ comes off like cheap emotionalism. Yes, children in Hiroshima burned, but how are those somehow worse than, say, the firebombing campaigns? Or the starvation an embargo would have caused? Or the actions against Korean or Chinese children by Japanese occupation if a conditional surrender had occurred? Like I said, you can argue the strategic problems with the atomic bombs but ‘He considered dropping a third, but decided he didn’t want to kill any more children’ is not an argument, it’s a cheap emotional ploy in the context of total war.

  24. I don’t think he was giving into public pressure, either. I think he genuinely felt that joking about it was wrong. At the end of the day, Stewart loves the system.

    Younger Richman gets it. The target of Leiborwitz’s comedic ire isn’t the system at all; it’s those who are opposed to the system and the system quo.

  25. Remember when in 2009 he called President Harry Truman a “war criminal” for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed or maimed nearly 200,000 Japanese civilians? Now, actually that statement was neither satirical nor ironic. It was the unvarnished truth.

    No it wasn’t. It was a lie.

    the war was essentially over.

    Another lie. Reason, please fire this pathological liar. He corrodes the credibility of this magazine everytime he writes another terrible lie in it.

  26. Jon Stewart, who is probably regarded as America’s premier political satirist

    Eh…

    Stewart, after assuring his audience that he has known where “his thing” is since age 13

    I’m pretty sure I discovered it before then.

    There should be a draft where every young person has to do one year of something ? military, public works

    Something something slavery something something.

    He rarely gets down to fundamentals

    Because then he would have to stand by an actual position. And this position would likely be one that tramples individual rights.

    The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war

    Sure, civilian targets should always be first on the list.

    That voting majorities by nature must violate the rights of voting minorities and nonvoters is curiously overlooked.

    This depends on how you define “rights”. Though, I do believe that real rights will inevitably be violated.

    1. Before peacenazi fuckbrain :The atomic bomb, a very complicated decision in the context of a horrific war

      After peacenazi fuckbrain:Sure, civilian targets should always be first on the list.

      1. You really need to establish your own libertarian website, psychotoxic. One where you can trade pictures of mangled civilian corpses to furiously masturbate to and excitedly talk about how young children are not really human so it’s ok to torture and murder them. You won’t have to put up with us evil peace nazis and we can pretend that sick fucks like you don’t exist.

        1. Peacenazis cause wars. Probably more of them (and bigger) than war lovers. Study the history of the 1930s with respect to that. Or read B.H.L. Hart “Strategy”.

          1. “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist.” – George Orwell

  27. That voting majorities by nature must violate the rights of voting minorities and nonvoters is curiously overlooked.

    It’s only curious if you take the Hayekian/Darwinian vision seriously. If you’re someone who knows, deep down, that the world needs rulers who guide humanity toward its singular telos via wise governance and mass graves, screwing over minorities is a fantastic idea. They’re called minorities for a reason.

    Jon Stewart is to George Carlin what Joe Scarborough is to H.L. Mencken.

    Richman is spicier than usual this weekend. But it’s true. I can’t think of a single political “comedian” today who even rises to the level of bland. It’s one predictable, scripted Leno joke after another punctuated by a bunch of dim college kids laughing in the audience on queue.

    Comedy is supposed to be offensive. We laugh because we’re uncomfortable. Stewart and Colbert are about as uncomfortable as a pair of pajamas.

    1. A queue is a line. A cue is a direction.

  28. It is permissible to say the war in Vietnam (never WWII, however) was a blunder, a colossal mistake.

    You can certainly say that about WWII, but the rest of us will just realize you’re a fucking idiot.

  29. P.J. O’Rourke is missing from your list. God dammit.

  30. Don’t forget about John Oliver too. I can’t wait for tomorrow to see all the Facebook libs post their usual Monday morning “OMG! John Oliver so gets it!” video link.

  31. Well, that was a waste of 5 minutes. Click-bait? Was there a premise? I thought the premise was Why is Jon Stewart’s comment a news story? or Why is Jon Stewart’s apology a news story? But then it went on to make a “news” story.

  32. What, not a single mention of Bill Hicks?

    I’m appalled.

    1. He wouldn’t do commercials for Taco Bell and never had his own show, so he didn’t exist. 🙂

  33. I knew, a long time ago, a woman who was in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped. She was badly scarred. We were talking once when I asked her what she felt about it. (I was very innocent then.) She shrugged her shoulders, said,”It was a war.” A few seconds later, she turned half away from me and said very quietly, “We would have used it on you if we had it.” It seems to me that given the possibility that the Japanese would have gone through with the bamboo spears to first-graders thing that we saved many more Japanese than Americans that day.
    As far as Hitler, I think we might have negotiated a peace in 1944. That was never a real possibility given Churchill’s endless drumbeat for his Empire, and his willingness to kill as many Americans as it took to keep it on top of the world’s

    1. Hitler opposed surrender. It is why his generals tried to kill him.

      1. Not to mention that Hitler removed officers from power if they even talked about working out a peace with the Allies.

        Hitler was a bitter-ender…he didn’t care if the entire country was destroyed, as long as the people still obeyed his every whim.

  34. There were plenty of political satirists a few short years ago, when Bush was President. Now, however, you’d be called a racists to poke fun at Obama. This is not rocket science; this is political correctness turned into a religion.

    1. George Carlin is dead, long live George Carlin!

  35. Ah, always count on Richman to turn every article into a It’s All America’s Fault hate fest, even when it starts with some small criticism of a Progressive comic.

  36. He’s no George Carlin? Is he supposed to be? Who says? You?

    Give me a break. He is who he is, and if you don’t think he does political satire, you don’t know what satire is. The problem is for you and most folks here, he satirizes the group who needs to be poked at the most, and that is the right wing. You all are just a bit defensive, and in being defensive, you show where your true loyalties lie, and that is with the GOP. And anyway, Stewart has poked fun at the left as well, you just chose to ignore it.

    We need another person who sits on the sidelines? Yeah, that’s what we need. Another Libertarian. Right.

    /

    1. Wow, yep, Libertarians are always happy with the GOP. LOL

      Of course, your loyalties, ACE, are pretty visible, just another progressive aspiring dictator.

      1. And Steward DOES use satire, in the service of his primary mission as a Progressive political operator.

  37. Yes, Stewart is an ass.

    However, you are a simpleton. Reading history, right or wrong, military leaders were in a panic about having to invade and take Japan. Japan was girding for a last ditch defense, and the landings would have made Normandy look like a cakewalk.

    You can argue that they were wrong, that the military and civilian deaths would not have been so bad. But claiming that it was a war crime to drop the bombs, that there was no need, the war was all but over, is a cheap shot based on hindsight.

    Second, the entire idea that killing “civilians and children” is somehow all wrong in a war is stupid. It is not possible to actually end a war without setting the stage for the next one, without bringing the cost of the war directly to the population. Military operations are started, directed, funded, and supported by civilian populations.

    Wars which end with military defeats only, where the civilian government on the losing side remains in place, are not really ended, but rather delayed while re-militarization takes place.

  38. my best friend’s half-sister makes $81 hourly on the internet . She has been out of work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $19645 just working on the internet for a few hours. this link…..

    ????? http://www.payinsider.com

  39. He’s a comedian…his goal is to entertain…

  40. The Japanese were having a problem surrendering. The bomb gave them the nudge they needed. After all Tokyo had already been gutted with fire bombing.

  41. Satire, like art, is best when it is both universal AND penetrative. Both fall flat fast when the satirist or artist seemingly have a particular agenda. Cue John Stewart.

    Bleh.

  42. Has political satire EVER led to change in a government?

  43. “Whether one believed Stewart’s answer or not”

    NOT!

  44. Im sure I will get mugged and beaten down with this, but I must say, I am trying to get into the site, get the feel for libertarian ideals, values, etc.
    There is more time spent beating the “left” or “liberals” or thier ideas or convictions than anything else, to the point that although I enjoy the articles, I too hate abusive police, pot laws, a large and in your face Govt, etc, I dont know what libertarian stands for other than, we dont like the left. Period. With all thats going on, Jon Stewart gets a 2 pg hate article pointing out hes not frickin Shakespeare, almost 300 comments, etc. And on the other article people are excited Limbaugh is suing or can sue the DNC, and I realize why a Libertarian ideals will never become the norm, so much time making fun of “the Prog’s” without having any ideas on how too maybe, i dont know, Recruit with ideas or change those peoples minds with common sense ideas and goals.
    This site is dedicated to hating cops, or authority at all, and anyone remotely deemed “left” .its all San fransisco and Obamacare… like the right never does wrong, or thier goals are always ok.
    This is just a Republican site, filled with Republicans who refuse to admit they are because they hate cops and love pot.
    I am disapointed, this movement will go nowhwere, and I know you dont care, but I wish you would, so your voices would nopt be ignored.
    This is like MSNBC for the RNC, Im sorry, but it is.

  45. 9/11 was an outside job? what an idiot

  46. I would like for the author of this article to read about Japanese actions during WWII and what was actually taking place on the ground before the dropping of the bombs and what the Japanese military was planning and starting to execute. I don’t think he is very knowledgeable about Japanese atrocities (it will turn your stomach), biological warfare experimentation on HUMANS over MANY years. ATTU, Nanking, prison camps, the island battles. In a vacuum, dropping a bomb on any civilians is awful. But we were not in a vacuum. READ A BOOK.

  47. I don’t watch Jon Stewart, and I’m not going to start. What little I’ve seen of him shows he’s just another arrogant leftwing asshole. I like Tim Allen in Last Man Standing. Plenty of jabs at odumbass, leftists and stupid amerikan culture with a number of jabs at the right as well.

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