It is time for me to return my copy of Michael Kelly's Things Worth Fighting For: Collected Writings to the library. I love reading a good wordsmith, and above all else, Kelly was a good wordsmith. As a political junkie I savored his essays on Bill and Hillary, Al Gore, Ritchie Daley, David Gergen, Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, et. al. But, a goodly portion of his collected writings had me feeling uncomfortable. Kelly was a serious war correspondent. He was there to report on the rape of Kuwait and the destruction of the fleeing Iraqi army in the very brief first Gulf War. He was in Bosnia to report on ethnic cleansing. Kelly had an up-close-and-personal view of the horrors man is capable of. He was willing to label it evil. Because of his willingness to distinguish between good and evil, Kelly was ardently in favor of the second George Bush's adventure into Iraq. From the comfort of my living room, I was ardently opposed to it. Kelly's writings have spurred some internal dialogue on this good vs evil thing. We may revisit the subject.
After the events of September 11, 2001, Kelly penned this: "We are, we learn again, brave and compassionate and strong. We are good people and we have built what is in fact 'a just and fair and decent place,' and we will preserve this place from those who would destroy it."
But enough with this seriousness. Let us close this fascination with Michael Kelly's writings by pointing to an essay titled Truth Be Told. Two brief excerpts to give you a taste, and a link to the whole essay:
Pundits we wish to be regarded as scrupulously fair and honest folks like to occasionally toss into their verbal wake a parenthetical clause known in the trade as the Full Disclosure.
Pundits do not operate under truth-in-packaging rules. What if they did? Herewith, for the remainder of this column, an experiment in true Full Disclosure:
Full essay here.