Posted on May 2, 2009.

Jon Stewart had a pretty great interview last week with Cliff May where they discussed the merits of torture, which was excellent on many levels. What got a lot of traction was Stewart's assertion that Truman was a war criminal for using the A-Bomb against Japan; he acknowledged that he could understand the decision at the time, but looking back it was an atrocity and should be considered as such by Americans, who should learn from this particular mistake in the past.

Seeing a commentator speak in this way was novel, which was why it got the attention it did. Stewart was essentially forced into admitting this to defend his position on torture without resorting to double standards which Cliff May would have surely jumped on. Unfortunately, Stewart has now retracted what he said, saying it was stupid. I don't believe that's true; it's a valid opinion that can be defended (as Stewart himself did to some extent in the original interview). From a (relative) outsider's perspective, it seems like he's being forced to say it simply because his original statement wasn't popular. It's unfortunate that Cliff May doesn't have a chance to respond, because I think he would have relished the chance to be someone to score a (rare) point against Stewart.

Project deadline is looming, so as a bit of a shortcut for content, a selection of links that I've run across over the last couple of weeks and found worth enough of bookmarking. Not sure if I'll do this consistently (it's very easy to do), but it's a relatively quick way to get a bulkier blog post with genuine content.