Washington Post opinion columnist Max Boot wrote something really dumb yesterday. That in itself doesn’t qualify as news. After all, this is the same guy who claimed the firing of Andrew McCabe would not have any real basis before the IG report proved he had repeatedly lied to FBI agents under oath. Boot is also the guy who blamed right-wing media for acts of domestic terrorism. But yesterday what he said as so indefensible that he eventually removed a line from his own column.
As is often the case, Boot seems to have been inspired by his compulsive need to disagree with President Trump. If Trump says the sky was blue, Boot will write a column denying it. In this case, Trump had announced the death of ISIS terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Sunday. Trump specifically said he had “died like a coward.” So, naturally, Max Boot felt inclined to defend al Baghdadi’s honor. He wrote, “The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was contradicted by the fact that rather than be captured, he blew himself up.” Here’s a screenshot:
Washington Post columnist Max Boot says that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was not a "coward" because he blew himself up instead of being captured
#1. Committing suicide instead of facing justice is the definition of cowardice
#2. He also blew up three 3 kids in the process pic.twitter.com/4DyQu3a7UE
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) October 28, 2019
As mentioned in the tweet, al-Baghdadi not only killed himself, he blew up three of his own children. Trump made a point of this in his speech: “The only ones remaining were Baghdadi in the tunnel and he had dragged three of his of his young children with him. They were led to certain death. He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”
You would think the fact that al Baghdadi’s final act was to murder three of his own kids would be a clue to an unwary columnist that this isn’t someone whose honor you should attempt to defend. But defend it he did…because Trump. And, as mentioned, that led to a lot of well-earned criticism online:
I get that you might not like Trump, or his politics, but arguing, "actually the war-criminal rapist terrorist ISIS leader died a brave and honorable death" for the sake of somehow proving Trump wrong is such a bizarre hill to die on, @MaxBoot pic.twitter.com/u5PIehoVnt
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) October 28, 2019
Eventually, Boot decided the critics were right and revised his opinion of Baghdadi’s courage. The paragraph now includes this line in parentheses:
(An earlier version of this column included a sentence questioning whether Trump was right to call Baghdadi a coward because he blew himself up. The line was removed because it unintentionally conveyed the impression that I considered Baghdadi courageous. As I wrote on Sunday, “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was, as President Trump said, ‘a sick and depraved man,’ so his removal from this earth is good news.”)
Of course, Boot couldn’t just admit he was wrong. Instead, he claimed the earlier line “unintentionally conveyed the impression” Baghdadi was courageous. Just to hit this thick nail on the head one more time, Boot originally wrote: “The assertion that Baghdadi died as a coward was contradicted…”
Is there anyone who believes the meaning conveyed in that sentence was unintentional? Anyone besides Max Boot, I mean.