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The Roberts Factor

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"The Roberts Factor"

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Johann Hari has a great essay in The New Republic (so good they gave me a link that lets y’all read it for free) about Andrew Roberts, Bush’s favorite historian. Jacob Weisberg had a pretty good takedown of Roberts back in late March, but Hari seems to have waded through a larger quantity of dreck and found some really frightening stuff. To wit:

In 2001, Roberts spoke to a dinner of the Springbok Club, a group that regards itself as a shadow white government of South Africa and calls for “the re-establishment of civilized European rule throughout the African continent.” Founded by a former member of the neo-fascist National Front, the club flies the flag of apartheid South Africa at every meeting. The dinner was a celebration of the thirty-sixth anniversary of the day the white supremacist government of Rhodesia announced a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which was pressing it to enfranchise black people. Surrounded by nostalgists for this racist rule, Roberts, according to the club’s website, “finished his speech by proposing a toast to the Springbok Club, which he said he considered the heir to previous imperial achievements.”

Roberts emerges not only as a fan of apartheid, but as a defender of the Amritsar massacre, an advocate of “the whole idea of mass internment,” and a fan of the Boer War-era concentration camps. Someone should, perhaps, ask Bush about this. The imperialistic style of his foreign policies have long been clear enough, but the Springbok Club really should be a bit too much even for him — I think Don Imus would be appalled.

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