Thursday, April 03, 2008

A Power-less Interview

Carlin Romano's interview with Samantha Power, who is appearing at the Free Library tonight, in today's Inquirer is a complete waste of print. Mr. Romano has time for a short conversation with one of the world's leading experts on human rights and genocide, and all he can think to ask her about is a lousy comment she made about Hillary Clinton.

Reading Romano's interview, I actually began to wonder whether he knew anything about Ms. Power's background. For instance, he briefly mentions that her book, A Problem from Hell, won "major book prizes." Umm, Carlin, specifically, she won the Pulitzer. He glances over all this to focus on campaign politics.

This is a pity, because if he had bothered to read the book, Romano would have gathered some of the background behind her comments, which called Hillary Clinton a monster, and perhaps even have given consideration to whether they might be justified.

As the introduction to A Problem from Hell makes clear, the prevarications of the Clinton Administration endangered innocent people in Bosnia. Although Bill Clinton made strong statements of support whenever a major atrocity took place, he did not intervene until late in his second term. His statements of support gave many Bosnians the impression they would be protected by the Americans. As Power graphically illustrates in her book, this misconception led them to allow their children outside to play, only to be used for target practice by Serbian artillery.

Had Mr. Romano paid attention to this background, he might have conducted a better, more informative, interview. This is just further evidence of the political and intellectual decline of America. Rather than actually look at an issue, people are interested in cheap soundbites.

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