Charles Krauthammer, the eminent US media pundit died in June 2018 at the age of 68, reportedly of cancer of the small intestine.
Krauthammer was the loudest and leading public voice of the neoconservative movement in the United States. He was a lifelong warmonger and proud of it. Needless to say he never donned the uniform of his country when he had the chance and made sure his son never went to serve in the conflicts he so tirelessly demanded either.
Krauthammer championed the relentless and unending expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the efforts to recruit countries across Eurasia into the Atlantic Alliance. He demanded the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the toppling of previously stable governments in Ukraine and Libya. He urged the toppling of the government of Syria, demanding the policies that have so far killed at least 600,000 people and unleashed more than 5 million refugees. He demanded the 1998 bombing of Serbia. He sneered at the very idea of international law.
Krauthammer applauded the toppling of established governments including democratically elected ones across Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East in the name of human rights. He relentlessly advocated the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the ludicrous attempt to set up a US-designed, Shiite-dominated so-called democracy there. He sneered at and denied in the face of all the evidence the formidable anti-American popular rebellion in Iraq that started in May 2003. For months afterwards, Krauthammer claimed there was nothing to worry about. Later, he claimed that General David Petraeus had brought lasting peace to Iraq with his “Surge” Strategy.
Krauthammer hated and sought to destroy every attempt to bring a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He championed the Free Trade policies that gutted the US industrial base and brought poverty and despair to hundreds of millions of Americans. He fanatically opposed the Six-Plus-One nuclear agreement with Iran.
None of his “solutions” worked. He was oblivious to all consequences in the real world. He never changed. He was incapable of learning anything or ever admitting he had been wrong. He had practiced as a psychiatrist, but no one in the public domain was more in need of sustained therapy himself.
In his last message on June 8, Krauthammer wrote, “I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking.” It was another lie. No one did more to suppress free, balanced and open debate in the US media over four decades. He poured endless hatred and ridicule on everyone who disagreed with him. He was never even an independent voice. Every public position he took was carefully decided and coordinated in advance by the exceptionally close knit coterie of neoconservatives for whom he was the voice.
He appeared endlessly on Fox News and numerous other US media outlets. But no one was ever allowed to seriously criticize him or challenge his assertions in any of those forums. He applauded the passing of the 2001 Patriot Act with its outrageous extension of the already huge power of the US security services and Deep State.
While still in his mid-20s, Krauthammer suffered a bizarre accident that ironically left him immune from criticism for the rest of his life. He shattered his spine diving into a swimming pool which had far too little water in it, leaving him a quadriplegic for life.
He certainly showed an indomitable will and ingenuity in maintaining a full career. However this personal catastrophe had two other crucial effects never publicly acknowledged: It left him immune to the kind of virulent ad hominem personal abuse and contempt he freely showered on everyone else. He claimed to live in defiance of his physical affliction: Another lie. Any vitriol he poured on others was indulgently permitted. No legitimate criticism was allowed against him.
Second, as a cripple, Krauthammer was incapable of actually ever visiting Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine or the American heartland where the policies he demanded inflicted so much suffering. He did not want to know any such inconvenient facts. He did not just suffer from paradigm blindness all his life, he embraced it.
Although a successful psychiatric resident, he was extraordinarily arrogant and narcissistic and treated most people outside his family and closest colleagues with withering contempt. An informal poll carried out among Washington Post op-ed page editors in the 1990s overwhelmingly chose him as the most obnoxious and hated columnist they had to deal with. (Liberal columnist Richard Cohen easily was voted the most popular and the nicest guy.)
Krauthammer was abysmally ignorant of economics, business, practicalities of government, diplomacy, global history, war and strategy. He had never studied or practiced any of them. This ignorance generated the boundless confidence that was the secret of his success.
Krauthammer was never a reporter. He was physically incapable of visiting any country to see things himself and he was manifestly uninterested in anything that ordinary people anywhere had to say. He knew that he and his friends had all the answers. Nothing else was needed. He was convinced he was one of Plato‘s philosopher-kings, the inner elite that should guide the human race for its own good.
In his very last public statement he said, “I leave this life with no regrets.”
It was an unintentionally revealing admission: Charles Krauthammer led his own country down the road to waste, endless suffering, unending wars, misery, drug addiction epidemics and economic ruin and helped put the whole world on a helter-skelter slide towards nuclear Armageddon.
But he had no regrets.