News of the Tautological

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on June 13, 2014

The following is an excerpt from’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

bikingNews of the Tautological
“Cycling Event Kicks Off Bike Month in Toronto”–headline, CityNews .ca, May 26

Tennis, Anyone?

  • “White House Blames Hagel for Bergdahl Exchange”–headline, Breitbart, June 10
  • “Hagel: President Made Final Decision on Bergdahl Swap”–headline, RollCall, June 11
  • “Chuck Hagel: I Take Responsibility Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap ‘Damn Seriously’ “–headline, Huffington Post, June 11
  • “Obama, Not Hagel, Responsible for Bergdahl, Says White House”–headline, TheHill, June 10
  • “This is not a political football.”–President Obama, June 5

And Just How Do The Experts Recommend Getting Drunk?
“Too Many Scots Drink to Get Drunk, Say Experts”–headline, Scotsman, June 11

News of the Tautological
“Palestinian Reconciliation Pact Threatened by Disunity”–headline, Reuters, June 10

Takes One to Know One

“Donna Brazile said [Sunday] morning that veterans accusing recently returned Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl of desertion are part of a ‘PR campaign by Republicans,’ ” reports Patrick Brennan of National Review Online:

Quickly criticized for the comment by her fellow panelists on CNN, she said that she’d never impugn the testimony of a veteran, but stood by her comments.

“That’s all they do . . . all they do is focus their vitriol, their rage, against this president,” Brazile said. “If the president this morning had scrambled eggs and bacon, they’d say that’s an unhealthy breakfast. If the president had cereal and fruit, they’d say that’s an unhealthy breakfast.”

So anything these vets say is suspect because of their association with a political operative, and we have that on the authority of Donna Brazile–a political operative.

‘A Meaningless Throwaway Line’
The American Prospect’s Paul Waldman, blogging for the Washington Post, offers a defense of Susan Rice:

Some years ago, the country came to a collective realization that the people who fight in a war don’t bear personal responsibility for whether the war was a good idea in the first place. This was an immensely salutary development, one that led to the important acknowledgement [sic] of the risks that service members take on. The image of the military improved dramatically, and Americans began looking at those in uniform with new admiration. Service members couldn’t walk through an airport without a dozen people walking up to them to thank them for their service. That’s all good.

But along with it came a devaluation of the idea of heroism. We began to regularly refer to any and all members of the military as “heroes,” without any regard to what they had or hadn’t done in their service. If we use the same term to refer to someone who risked his life to save his fellow soldiers in a valley in Afghanistan as we do for someone who effectively conducted data entry for personnel files at a base in North Carolina, “hero” has lost nearly all its meaning.

Conservatives are up in arms over the fact that Susan Rice said Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction” before he was captured by the Taliban. But how many times have we heard that phrase? It’s become a meaningless throwaway line.

Now wait just a second. It wasn’t “the country” that experienced a “realization” that military service is honorable; it was the left–those people who spat on soldiers returning from Vietnam, or who slandered them à la John Kerry, and their intellectual descendants.

But if the left regards “he served with honor and distinction” to be a “meaningless, throwaway line,” it proves the point we made last week: that they don’t know what honor means.

(Some of the excerpts above are from the BOTW Archives from May 27 and June 9.) For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”