Friday, October 29, 2010

Jonah Goldberg: That's A Nice Wikileaks You Got There. Be a Shame If Something Happened To It.

Jonah Goldberg is protesting that his instantly infamous column calling for the assassination of Wikileaks' Julian Assange doesn't actually call for that assassination. Here's how that column ended:

"Even if the CIA wanted to take him out, they couldn’t without massive controversy.

That’s because assassinating a hipster Australian Web guru as opposed to a Muslim terrorist is the kind of controversy no official dares invite.

That’s fine. And it’s the law. Ultimately, I don’t expect the U.S. government to kill Assange, but I do expect them to try to stop him. Alas, as of now, the plan seems to be to do nothing at all."

Goldberg says: "Any fair reading of my column might find it too glib, but it wouldn’t support the conclusion that I call for the guy’s assassination or his murder — because I don’t. Indeed, there’s nothing in the quote ... to justify the claim I call for his murder."

Maybe. But it seems like any "fair reading" of the column would find that instead of calling for assassination, it laments that Assange can't be killed because of all the complications it would raise. Goldberg might not explicitly call for the assassination, but he's not discouraging the idea either. If we take him at his word, he's merely pussyfooting around the idea without coming clean, pro- or con. Either Goldberg's guilty of morally reprehensible policy ideas, or he's guilty of muddy and unclear writing that advances no idea with any effectiveness. There's no reason both can't be true, but I don't think it's unreasonable to suspect the former.

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