Washington Post Under Fire for Sickening First Line of Krauthammer's Obituary


One of the great conservative thinkers of our time has passed away… but in a classless move, The Washington Post couldn’t help itself from trying to smear his legacy by hitting below the belt in its obituary.

Dr. Charles Krauthammer passed away on Thursday after a struggle against cancer. It wasn’t the only medical issue the Harvard-educated psychiatrist faced with bravery and class: A quadriplegic since his early 20’s, Krauthammer refused to let a wheelchair define him, and insisted on being judged by the same standards as his peers.

To The Washington Post, that apparently means trashing the widely-respected intellectual in the opening line of his “tribute.” Somewhat bizarrely calling the soft-spoken man of thought a “provocateur,” the newspaper desperately tried to blame the invasion of Iraq on Krauthammer in their obituary.

“Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died June 21 at 68,” Adam Bernstein wrote for the Post.

That’s a strange and almost certainly purposeful slight against the doctor who became a well-known voice of reason on Fox News, as well as numerous other television news outlets.

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Distilling Krauthammer’s decades of respected insight on national politics into a cheap shot about the Bush-led war in Iraq is classless at best, and terribly dishonest at worst.

The doctor-turned-commentator wrote opinions on nearly every national topic since the 1980s and earned a coveted Pulitzer in 1987.

It’s true that he was an early proponent of action in Iraq; so was almost everyone who received intelligence briefings on the alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction by Saddam Hussein, including America’s international partners in Europe.

In fact, the United Nations officially supported holding Iraq responsible for its abuses. A vote in the U.S. Senate showed that a bipartisan majority of both Republicans and Democrats supported the Iraq Resolution.

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If Krauthammer made a mistake in his support of that war, so did some of the most well-known leaders of both parties, including Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, both of whom went on to be nominated as candidates for president.

The idea that Krauthammer had such pull to influence all of Congress and the White House to send troops to Iraq is flattering but inaccurate. This was a footnote in the good doctor’s life, not his sole legacy as the Post seems to believe.

His true legacy should be one of purposeful thought from a conservative worldview and personal class that allowed him to live his life with surprising dignity.

“If I can just muddle through life, they’ll say it was a great achievement,” Krauthammer said while reflecting on the diving accident that kept him from ever walking again.

“That would be the greatest defeat in my life — if I allowed that,” he continued. “I decided if I could make people judge me by the old standard, that would be a triumph and that’s what I try to do. It seemed to me the only way to live.”

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Dedicating himself to pursuits of the mind, there is no doubt that Krauthammer indeed triumphed after being dealt a hand that could have crippled not only his body, but also his spirit.

“I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking,” he wrote after being told he had terminal cancer just weeks ago.

“I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny. I leave this life with no regrets.”

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.