Bret Stephens & ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’: A Counter Factual Rewrite!

Political Cynic’s thought experiment.

If Bret Stephens had appeared in ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’, book by Laura Z. Hobson, screen play by Moss Heart, and an uncredited revision by Elia Kazan, he would have appeared as one of a collection of bigots , both Jewish and Gentile, that made this political melodrama so compelling to watch. Kazan after his movie ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ in 1945, and before his being a ‘Friendly Witness’ ,was a Broadway and Hollywood Golden Boy.

How does this factor into Mr. Stephen’s latest broadside against Joe Biden? Should we look to the phalanx of Neo-Cons, who were the ‘masterminds’ of the Afghan Crime? Stephens is a moral/political conformist , so his position might just be viewed as self-evident? Not to speak of the parade of political conformists who fell into line! Another way of thinking about Stephens’ not too carefully considered hysterical polemic, is his addiction to maladroitly realized political melodrama, in his interventions. At the very least Hobson, Heart, Kazan were competent, even rational writers and dramaturges.

The opening paragraphs of his essay are revelatory:

Headline: An Ethically Challenged Presidency

There should be little doubt that President Biden was not being truthful when, days after the Taliban’s victory, he told ABC News that his senior military advisers had not urged him to keep some 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. The president’s claim was flatly contradicted last week in sworn testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command.

During the generals’ testimony, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, sought to defend her boss by pointing to a line in Biden’s interview in which he appeared to suggest that the military’s advice “was split.”

Another whopper. What split? As The Times’s Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and David Sanger reported in April, right after Lloyd Austin was sworn in as secretary of defense in January, he and his top generals “were in lock step in recommending that about 3,000 to 4,500 troops stay in Afghanistan.” Asked whether there were top military advisers who argued otherwise, Psaki evaded the question.

Biden’s dissembling, regarding the worst-executed major foreign policy decision in years, would be a scandal in any presidency. It’s worse coming from the man who campaigned for office by insisting that he stood “for honor and telling the truth.”

Is the reader, in the rhetorical thrall of the Stephens polemic, well within the elastic parameters of ‘Treason’ ?

The remainder the Stephens essay reports on the undeniable facts of the Biden ménage’s political corruption.

A pressing question presents itself, that seems outside Stephens’ grasp, when in History has a President lied?

Political Cynic

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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