Lileks Guts Vonnegut

I just came across this screedblog entry from a couple of weeks ago.

Apparently, Kurt Vonnegut was out promoting some anti-Bush essays and made comments described in an article as follows:

Vonnegut said it was “sweet and honourable” to die for what you believe in, and rejected the idea that terrorists were motivated by twisted religious beliefs.

If all you want to do is die for what you believe in then it’s OK with me. Whether I agree about its being sweet or honorable would depend a lot on what, exactly, you believe in and how dying for it serves the cause.

However, these people are not merely dying for what they believe in. They are murdering for it. They are propelling nails into children. This is not honorable, and it’s really not sweet.

There’s also:

Asked if he thought of terrorists as soldiers, Vonnegut, a decorated World War II veteran, said: “I regard them as very brave people, yes.”


Vonnegut suggested suicide bombers must feel an “amazing high”. He said: “You would know death is going to be painless, so the anticipation – it must be an amazing high.”

Lileks responds appropriately. I particularly enjoyed:

Vonnegut is an addled old fool whose brain has rusted in the antiestablishment default position for so long he cannot distinguish between suicide bombers and people who stage a sit-in at a Woolworth’s counter.

One unforgivable (and inconceivable) error on Lileks’ part is that he ends his post as follows:

Vonnegut is described in the article as a “peace activist.”

As a wise giant said in “The Princess Bride” – “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Of course, it wasn’t the giant who delivered that line, but rather the Spaniard: Iñigo Montoya.


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