Monday, July 25, 2016

Jon Krakauer Disappoints (Part I)

Jon Krakauer is one of my favorite authors. Not only is he talented, but he generally writes about things of interest to me – outdoor adventures. I finally got around to read his biography on Pat Tillman (the NFL player who enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire). The book is entitled “Where Men Win Glory” is a very good book and I recommend it. But I found it disappointing on many levels. First, the reader should not be able to ascertain the political affiliation of the author (Krakauer) since the book is about Tillman. Second, it seems Krakauer only wrote the book since Tillman had similar political beliefs and it was a way for him to push his liberal agenda through Tillman’s unfortunate story (Iraq war is bad, Bush is bad, military is bad, etc). I find this distasteful and disingenuous. Krakauer would have no way written the book had Tillman been conservative – it would have failed to meet his goals and narrative. Let’s go over the Krakauer disappointments in the book:

Krakauer insinuates that the Jimmy Carter foreign policy was ingenious and they laid the groundwork to what led to the fall of the Soviet Union. It is stipulated that the goal of the Carter administration was to lure the Soviet Union into a long (winless) war in Afghanistan. This is exactly what happened and shortly after Russia withdrew its defeated Army from Afghanistan the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall fell. Yes, this is the same inept Carter administration that failed miserably to free American hostages from Iran. But let’s say all of this is true and Carter was a genius. Then I suppose Carter is solely to blame for the creation of the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Hence, Carter’s plan was the beginning of 9/11 and our continuous fight against terrorism today. In other words, no matter what angle you view the Carter foreign policy, it was a failure and not a success as Krakauer seems to think.

Krakauer goes into great detail about the 2000 Bush v Gore election. Obviously, he wants Bush to lose the election without actually saying so. He goes into great detail to explain how Gore received more than a half million more votes but lost the Electoral College. This has happened two previous times in history, so it is not that uncommon (Tilden v Hayes and Cleveland v Harrison). He stressed if Ralph Nader was not in the election then Gore would have won Florida and hence the Presidency. Third party candidates have influenced several presidential elections in American history including Ross Perot helping Bill Clinton win two terms where he too did not receive anywhere near a plurality in the popular vote. Then Krakauer blames the Supreme Court for denying the will of the people when they stopped the recount in Florida. He also states that both Scalia and O’Connor should have recused themselves from the vote. Regardless, the media did many studies on the election and found Bush would have a won a statewide recount (not just the 4 major democratic counties that Krakauer and liberals wanted) by more than 1,000 votes (a wider major than the original count). In fact, Krakauer says nothing about the media calling Florida for Gore before the polls closed in the Florida panhandle (A republican stronghold – certainly causing Bush to lose hundreds of votes). This tactic was obviously used by the liberal media to disenfranchise republican voters in the Central time zone. In essence, Krakauer relives the Democratic talking points without being fair and balanced. It comes off as being very bitter.

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