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Monday, April 20, 2009
Kincaid Hasn't Read Book He's Trashing
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Does Cliff Kincaid even understand what he's attacking?

An April 20 Accuracy in Media column is Kincaid's latest attempt to bash former "communist terrorist" Mark Rudd for writing his memoirs, since that censorship gambit didn't pan out. Kincaid serves up "suggested questions" to ask at his promotional appearances as he is, in Kincaid's words, "trying to cash in on his bloody record." Among them:

11)  Have you ever expressed remorse to the parents of your comrades Robbins, Oughton, and Gold?

12)  Have you ever expressed remorse to the victims of Weather Underground terrorism and their families?

Perhaps if Kincaid had actually read the book he's trashing -- something he has provided no evidence of doing -- he would know the answer to that question. From an April 12 Washington Post review of Rudd's book:

The recurring theme in all of Rudd's exploits was cognitive dissonance. He realizes now, he writes, that the Weathermen "reproduced conditions that all hermetically sealed cults use: isolation, sleep deprivation, demanding arbitrary acts of loyalty to the group, even sexual initiation as bonding." But he wouldn't admit this to himself at the time. Even as he "postured and gave speeches on the necessity for violence, I was terrified," he writes. "I knew I was no fighter. . . . I knew that the whole thing was nuts but couldn't intervene to stop it. . . . I felt like a member of the crew on a speeding train, dimly aware of disaster ahead but unable to put on the brakes." He recounts bouts of depression and breakdowns from the strain: "I was exhausted from playing a double role -- the public revolutionary leader and the private scared kid."

The irony is that Rudd's turn to radical politics at Columbia was cemented by a friend's remark that he couldn't watch America devastate Vietnam and stand by "like a good German." Yet from 1969 through 1977, no thought voiced or deed done by his Weather comrades, no matter how lunatic or murderous, could dislodge Rudd from his loyalty to their cause; and he is left today with considerable regret that he either took part in the madness or stood idly by, like a good German. The most wrenching scenes in "Underground" depict the suffering of the author's beloved parents, simple, hard-working people who found the whole business unfathomable. "I wonder if I'll ever be able to laugh again," Bertha Rudd said after her son's expulsion from Columbia, "my heart is so broken."

Kincaid seems to want to portray Rudd as unrepentant when the truth is the opposite of that.

By the way, Kincaid doesn't oppose all domestic terrorism, as evidenced by his ties to G. Gordon Liddy -- indeed, Kincaid appeared on Liddy's show a few weeks ago, ironically talking about the Weather Underground.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT

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