Wars Continue and Some Lefties Remember They're Supposed to Disapprove Of That

Hey libertarians and small government fans, some of your leftist friends probably turned into dewy-eyed Obamatrons in 2008, but dammit, Glenn Greenwald didn't! Today, due to another assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist, Greenwald delivered one of his trademark columns which make partisan hacks sob into their pillows at night, wondering why he can't just fall into line. This time it's on the hypocrisy of the word terrorism.

The takeaway:

Does anyone have any doubt whatsoever that if Iran were sending hit squads to kill Israeli scientists in Tel Aviv, or was murdering a series of American scientists at Los Alamos (while wounding several of their wives, including, in one instance, shooting them in front of their child’s kindergarten), that those acts would be universally denounced as Terrorism, and the only debate would be whether the retaliation should be nuclear, carpet-bombing, or invasion? As always, Terrorism is the most meaningless — and thus most manipulated — term of propaganda; it’s always what They do and never what We do. [Emphasis added]

* * * * *

Regarding the question of who is responsible for the spate of scientist murders and explosions in Iran, it is true that there is no dispositive evidence on that question; that’s one of the benefits of conducting most consequential governmental action behind a wall of secrecy: no public accountability. But as the links above demonstrate, there is strong circumstantial and even direct evidence that (a) Israel is involved and (b) the U.S. has engaged in substantial covert acts of war aimed not only at the Iranian nuclear program generally but at Iran’s nuclear scientists specifically.

Speaking of convenient definitions, Gawker had some words about the controversy over footage of U.S. Marines urinating on some dead Afghanis who may or may not be Taliban soldiers, (notes The Guardian, they are not pictured with weapons). But, isn't it interesting that "desecration of a corpse" is a war crime when, ya know, war is kind of a war crime in its self?

So Gawker's Hamilton Nolan rants on this mass-media outrage rather splendidly below, but first the video if you feel a compelling urge to watch it.

Nolan:

Do you know what is worse than having your dead body urinated upon? Being killed. Being shot. Being bombed. Having your limbs blown off. Having your house incinerated by a drone-fired missile that you don't see until it explodes. Having your children blown up in their beds. Having your spouse killed. Having your hometown destroyed. Being displaced. Becoming a refugee. Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.

War is horrible. War is sickening. Wars started for supremely righteous causes are just as horrible and sickening in their consequences as wars started for less than righteous causes. Politicians who sit in office chairs and start wars and wave flags as young men and women go off to kill and die and be psychologically and emotionally damaged for life are the most sickening of all. Politicians start wars and are rewarded with an appearance on weekend talk shows and Very Respectable Discussions with Very Respectable media figures and jokes at the White House Correspondent's Dinner and appearances on Leno and ghostwritten self-glorifying memoirs and lavishly catered fundraising parties with corporate executives. They should be rewarded with outrage. They should be rewarded with scorn. Starting a war is a monstrous, monstrous crime against humanity, as we know when it begins that no matter how cleanly it is conducted it will result in thousands upon thousands of bullets smashing men's skulls and arms and legs blown off by shrapnel and mothers and children incinerated by high explosives. And every extra day that a war is perpetuated unnecessarily is a crime anew.

Read both Nolan and Greenwald in full, they're worth it.

Really, treating humans like humans is not a bad idea — nor is respecting the bodies of humans, even those who are ostensibly your enemies — but this outrage still feels archaic in a World War I Christmas Truce-I'm-going-to-try-to-kill-you-again-come-January-1-but-for-now-let's-play-soccer-and-be-gentlemanly sort of a way. Even though there is some potential that the nasty video will become something for enemies of the U.S. to rally around, comparisons to Abu Ghraib are a little silly because most of the people in those photos were still alive and still suffering.

And hell, if the U.S. had anything to do with the Iranian scientist assassinations (which they deny) that would still not be as bad as all-out war, would it? Yet we're stuck with this attitude that one must be open and sporting about war and play by the rules; and if you think too hard about what war really is, that concept starts to seem more and more absurd.

It's not that urinating on corpses isn't disgusting and inhuman, and the Marines aren't doing the right thing by investigating, it's just that legally killing people is inherently a great deal more offensive than desecrating their bodies. 

It's a shame people don't get more outraged over the deaths from drone strikes (which are now back for the New Year) and which have killed maybe 2400 Pakistani citizens since 2004, but that's maybe because the program doesn't officially exist. Which doesn't seem very sporting at all, now that I think about it.

Reason on the war on terror and on drones. And Reason.tv, back in January 2011, on "What Happened to the Antiwar Movement?"

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  • ||

    Us humans have a long way to go as a species.

  • ||

    This always pisses me off, especially as a sci-fi meme. Us humans are doing quite well and are considerably more civilized than our ape cousins when it comes to torture and wanton cruelty much less such big brained mammals as dolphins or killer whales.

  • The Derider||

    Both positions are completely subjective. His has the effect of encouraging reform. Yours does not.

  • cbmclean||

    I'd say that embedded in his emotion, PS's post contained a substantial core of objective assertion, which could be scientifically examined given the will to do so.

  • jnyland||

    I'd say that both positions can be true at the same time. Ultimately, though, bfd we're doing better than the lower mammals. We still have plenty of room to improve.

  • protefeed||

    Do you know what is worse than having your dead body urinated upon? Being killed. Being shot. Being bombed. Having your limbs blown off. Having your house incinerated by a drone-fired missile that you don't see until it explodes. Having your children blown up in their beds. Having your spouse killed. Having your hometown destroyed. Being displaced. Becoming a refugee. Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.

    My son asked me this morning about what I thought about the pissing episode, and I gave basically the same answer Nolan did. Nowhere near as eloquently, nor in such graphic detail, but dammit, someone has a skewed morality when killing someone is OK but pissing on them afterwards -- well, that's just WRONG.

  • wareagle||

    I remember some years ago the Black Hawk Down episode when one of our corpses was dragged through the street. Lost in the accompanying outrage was the fact that we killed hundreds of Somalis, they killed 18 of ours and considered it a win since US action at the time was to get the hell out.

  • ||

    War is hell, one of the purest obscenities ever conceived by man. It is the height of naivete, or perhaps hypocrisy, To expect civility from soldiers who are trained not just to kill the enemy, but to hate him to the core and rejoice at his death. I do, however, expect our soldiers to have more brains than to videotape the desecration of the enemy. The video in question is now recruitment propaganda for the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

    Seeing soldiers doing what is only a natural consequence of the mind-molding that was DELIBERATELY inflicted upon them causes me no more outrage than the fact that we are at war at all. The War was wrong at its very start, and although it only got worse from there, I reached my limit of disgust a long time ago. That is to say, my meter pegged in the red and has been stuck there this whole time.

  • ||

    I was so glad to read someone else saying/thinking the same thing I was. Nolan nails it beautifully.

  • JD the elder||

    I am going to be the contrarian in this thread: I don't think what Nolan says is particularly insightful or useful.

    I agree with his basic thesis, in that being shot or blown up is worse than having your corpse urinated on. But Nolan seems to be engaged in refusing to see the trees for the forest, as it were. Sometimes killing people is necessary. Pissing on their corpses is never necessary. Killing people causes outrage, but can further the policy goals of the state. Pissing on their corpses outrages people, and does not further any meaningful policy.

    Worse, Nolan's point of view almost seems to justify things like disrespect of the dead by minimizing their importance. Hey, if we've already killed these guys, why not piss on their corpses? Hell, why not cut off their heads, fill their mouths with pig shit, and air-drop the heads back on their home villages? After all, Nolan already claimed that killing them was far worse than anything else we could do. Why not line the road from Kabul to Herat with crucified Afghans, since we're killing them, destroying their homes, and displacing them anyway?

    The real answer, I think, is that Nolan's using his moral disgust as a rhetorical club; he can be disgusted as he wants with war in general, but the important point is that it's going on whether or not Nolan likes it, so are we really supposed to believe that he doesn't care about things like this as long as war is going on, period?

  • ||

    Not *so* contrarian. I completely agree with you.

  • Rev. Blue Moon||

    Man JD that rules so fuckinng hard. Mazel tov.

  • ||

    Or maybe it's the fact that putting a bunch of fratboy-aged people in kill-or-be-killed situations in the middle of nowhere for specious reasons will always result in immaturity that can easily morph into nihilism and evil?

    That maybe the root problem is the fact that we're there for specious reasons, and not the fact that some of the nationalist-rhetoric-fed 18-year-olds we're sending are still immature and are "coping" with their situation by becoming nihilistic and evil?

  • Chief Dickhead Obama||

    "Pissing all over dead Afghan peasants sends a signal to anyone who would think of harming America. My Marine 'Corpsemen' are taking leadership cues from the top."

  • Obama Reelection Official||

    Another reason for OBAMA 2012 -- he don't take no shit from nobody!

  • .||

    Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.

    Uh, yeah, there's a reason they're called peons.

  • Robert||

    Best chortle since Hiroshima.

  • Paul||

    I did on OT post last night about how Amy Goodman's show Democracy Now! was talking Ron Paul up through the roof, and was ragging on Obama to such a degree, I kept waiting for someone to yell "Psyche!".

    "Majestically disappointing" was how one lefty pundit described Obama.

  • old fart||

    I wish Miss Lucy would find her style. Welsh does Welsh much better than she does.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    I don't know who "Welsh" is, but we'll take your comment under advisement.

  • Paul||

    I guess Welsh probably has your style.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    I'm too old for this shit [inhaling cigarette.] This shit being being able to tell who is a-spoofing me and who is not (the spelling is suspect and all.)

  • Paul||

    See, Welsh doesn't smoke. He's too soft for that shit. Now we know you're an imposter.

  • squarooticus||

    Welshie!!

  • old fart||

    Welch. I guess if I'm going to snark, I should get my facts straight.

  • Lucy Staggerwald||

    Damn right.

  • ||

    I've said this before, but it would be nice if Greenwald would recognize that the big state stuff he likes (Social Security, Medicare, HIPPA) is deeply tied into all the stuff he spends his days railing about. If you're gonna have a big government, it'll get out of control in a hurry.

  • Paul||

    Nope. Big government will work just fine and never overstep, as long as the right people are in charge.

  • ||

    Please explain, then, how the Scandinavian states can have such big-government programs, and yet they don't have imperial foreign policies.

  • skr||

    Small GDPs?

  • Mike E||

    It is hard to have imperial foreign policies when you barely have a standing military or when Findland's GDP is the same size as Missouri.

  • Mike E||

    Or, when a commenter doesn't even know how to spell the name of your country.

  • The Derider||

    It's also hard to invade Afghanistan. Don't you prove his point? The Scandinavians have huge GDPs/Capita (Norway's is bigger than ours), huge government, and a tiny military.

    Why couldn't that work here?

  • ||

    It doesn't scale well. Also we have a much less homogeneous society and a lot more enemies in the world.

  • ||

    Plus Norway has a lot of oil.

  • ||

    It doesn't work because WE have their big military. If they faced an existential threat that we weren't protecting them from, they'd go full Viking in ten minutes.

  • Mitch||

    If they went full viking...well pissing on corpses would be small potatos to what the vikings were capable of.

  • Mike M.||

    Norway also has basically zero immigration.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The same way Antarctica isn't an imperial power: by being a frozen iceblock that people living in don't give two shits about.

    It's telling that one of the less crappy Scandinavian states (Denmark) was with us in Iraq for as long as its military and general public would support it.

  • wareagle||

    jonny,
    it's because the Scandinavian states and most other European social democracies, though Greece shows signs of wanting to be the exception, has the perpetually sorry dependent class that the US has. People there realize that receiving all those govt goodies means they ACTUALLY HAVE TO GET JOBS.

    In America, no such requirement because the liberal half of big govt depends on a permanent underclass for its power. It's the baby mamas, the welfare queens, the white trash, and the assorted other grifters who believe you owe them something. Those folks tend to be in rare supply in Sweden.

  • wareagle||

    this should read Scandinavians do NOT have the sorry class. They also don't have imperial foreign policies because no one cares about them.

  • ||

    I'm sure that there are meaningful differences between us and Sweden, et al. I'm just not sure how any of the explanations you and others gave support what Rob McMillin initially said, which was that the social welfare state "is deeply tied into" the imperial foreign policy stuff that Greenwald writes about. I don't agree with his point.

  • The Derider||

    Norway has 22 percent of the population on welfare. You are totally wrong.

  • ||

    They also produce 1/4 of the oil we do while having 1/60 the population.

  • Floyd||

    There's no hypocrisy here. The reason attacks by Israel and the United States can't be compared to attacks by Iran and the Taliban is that the former are democracies whose military actions, broadly speaking, represent the will of their people, while the latter aren't. As Ayn Rand put it, "A dictatorship -- a country that violates the rights of its own citizens -- is an outlaw and can claim no rights."

  • Hugh Akston||

    A) Obama doesn't bother to ask for Congressional approval before he blows shit up. Bush wasn't big on it either.

    B) The US government violates the rights of its citizens every calendar day of the year. To say nothing of the rights of furriners.

    C) Doesn't matter how many people vote for it, killing people is still wrong.

  • Cytotoxic||

    A) True dat.

    B) It's called 'perspective' and you don't have it. True for a lot of libertarians.

    C) It's about legitimate generally rights-protecting governments (America) vs illegitimate anti-rights governments/entities (Taliban, Iran)

  • ||

    Unfortunately, the measures we take against the latter in (C) wind up killing a ton of the innocent people whose rights we're so concerned about protecting.

  • Drew||

    dead is dead, dude.

  • Cytotoxic||

    THANK YOU +1

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    A) Two wrongs don't make a right.

    B) Collective punishment of foreign nationals tangentially-related to perpetrators in these regimes is appalling, if necessary at times.

    I agree that false equivalency is a trap that libertarians in general tend to fall into too often in foreign policy, but that isn't the case with this article.

  • cynical||

    But wouldn't that mean, conversely, that attacks against the people living under Iranian or Taliban rule are terrorist attacks against innocent bystanders, while attacks against civilians in the U.S. are simply war attacks against government agents?

    Not that your premise is correct. The U.S. government is almost entirely lawless at this point, and "elections" are only held to prevent popular revolt, and because all likely candidates are Party apparatchiks anyway.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Lucy this is my favorite thing you've ever written. Thoreau (the evil fiziks guy not the Walden guy) uses the term Not Serious (probably lifted from Greenwald or someone) to describe people who reject or question the use of military/police force as a normalized part of modern political discourse. You may be pleased to know that you are one of the least Serious people I have read.

  • Paul||

    So that WSJ article that described the GOP field as:

    Romney, immediately followed by Huntsman-- his closest serious rival

    was accurate?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Of course it was accurate. Have you ever known a mainstream media source to slant its political coverage?

  • Lucy Staggerwald||

    Thank you. I don't write about this stuff, especially war, all that often because I am not yet confident in my ability to not go crazy-anarcho-rant about it.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Okay, that was definitely me.

  • Paul ||

    Rule #1: when spoofing, try to remember to change the joke handle back.

  • World Peeece with Barry.||

    All of Obama's wars contribute to world peace. We cannot let a Rethuglican doing the same thing but with less panache. Or worse, elect Ron Paul who would end the Defense and Homeland Security gravy-trains.

  • World Dominator with Barack||

    I know he's a disappointing thug of a warmonger and as bad as Bush on civil liberties, but I feel I must vote for him anyway. There's always hope.

  • "Liberal" Bankster||

    "I love his bank bailouts."

  • Soylandra Emplyee||

    We love the bonuses that are being given out while our company goes bankrupt.

  • Priestess||

    Yes the killing is definitively the worst part, but the pissing is an undeniable expression of contempt. It makes it impossible to maintain the PR illusion "collateral damage" and "accidents".

  • George Soros ||

    you call it killing and pissing, I call it a distraction so the real work can be done. Whipping Americans into a frenzy over things like is the perfect cover for putting the people we want into govt agencies when no one is looking, to start dealing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Taliban, etc etc.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    If I were a small country with lots of mortal enemies, and one of those enemies was working on nuclear bombs, then I would arrange for some of the scientists building these bombs to have various unfortunate accidents. They're just as much targets as any soldier.

  • Priestess||

    Except Iran isn't building bombs.

  • Cytotoxic||

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

  • skr||

    Yeah that was pretty funny.

  • ||

    I thought Iran was the small country with lots of mortal enemies...one of which invaded two of its neighbors. And is working on nuclear bombs.

  • Floyd||

    Check out a map.

  • Sevo||

    Jonny Scrum-half|1.12.12 @ 8:01PM|#
    "Please explain, then, how the Scandinavian states can have such big-government programs, and yet they don't have imperial foreign policies."

    It's called 'free-riding'. They don't have to; they rely on the US to do it for them.

  • Dave||

    Don't mess with the Finns.

    Especially Finns named Simo Häyhä.

  • Alan||

    "The arguments of military men, on the subject of the laws of civilized warfare, are sometimes equally absurd and impertinent. Warfare itself is against all the laws of civilisation, and there is something ludicrous in the stronger reproaching the feebler power, that it should resort to such means as are in its possession, for reconciling the inequalities of force between them." - William Gilmore Simms (from 'The Life of Francis Marion')

  • ||

    If we want to be precise (and we should), terrorism is a tactic used against democracies, where the civilian population is subjected to violence in the hopes that they will demand that their elected leaders accommodate the terrorists' demands.

    These incidents (and the hypothetical ones about Los Alamos etc) are targeted killings, not terrorism. Unfortunately, "terrorism" now apparently means "dirty military tricks".

  • F Hart||

    Fuck. Everybody knows Glenn Greenwald is one of those Koch-funded libertarians. He's no lefty. Mark Ames & Yasha Levine said so.

  • cathrine||

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  • Slim||

    No, but I'm a trysexual. Ah try anythin'. Haven't tried eel up the bung hole yet though; can I do that there?

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  • Gabe||

    Sounds good. I've got IBS, gastritis, and insect larvae in my brain. Please introduce me to available shemales to clean me up on a daily basis.

  • ||

    Read both Nolan and Greenwald in full, they're worth it.

    If reading Greenwald in full is worth it, that's a first.

  • Wilson||

    Greenwald should definitely be read in full. Greenwald has a New York Times Best Selling Book on the Bush Administration and its abuses of power. And he has one of the most-read blogs on the Interent, after 9 months of blogging. And Senators read from his blog at Senate hearings and his posts lead to front-page news stories in major newspapers.

  • Thomas Ellers||

    Yeah, Greenwald is totally right here.

  • Ellison||

    This is some of Greenwald's best work, which is amazing because his writing is always top-notch.

  • ||

    The local Green Party seem to be the only left-wingers around here who seem to still be anti-war. All the Democrats seem to be spinelessly towing the line of Obama's militarism.

  • ||

    Locally, the self-described lefties have completely forgotten to be anti-war now that their guy is at the helm.

    For example, when GWB was in office, every car, lightpole, etc. in my downtown area was covered in anti-war, peace, end of an error (you've seen them, I'm sure) bumper stickers. There were banners with the war dead count on several homes. Now, nothing. I told my kids I'd pay them $10 for every anti-war sticker they could find. I haven't paid out even once.

    These same folks who spent their every breath bashing GWB are now either completely silent or worse, attempt to justify every war move Obama makes. It's sickening.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    In my experience, the people who stay consistently angry about war are often the ones who like Latin America dictators and are worse on economics than Greenwald or any Gawker writer could dream of being. It is very frustrating for the anti-war libertarian.

  • Rob||

    Likely a quote his supporters haven't seen, but here's Glenn Greenwald DEFINING terrorism:

    "I mean, every person has their own definition of terrorism. The definition I use would include probably a lot more things than you would include, but I would include things like sending people to blow themselves up in pizza parlors and buses inside Israel to be acts of terrorism, sure."

    -- Glenn Greenwald being interviewed by Hugh Hewitt on 1/8/09

    I guess the word "terrorism" does have meaning to Greenwald. He doesn't define it specifically, but proffers that what most people call terrorism, he calls terrorism. So is the word meaningless or not? And if it is, why does he use it? It's true that it's often manipulated, but that doesn't make it meaningless. Glenn offered a definition, thereby rendering his entire point... meaningless. Typical mendacious hypocrisy from Greenwald

    And for the record, how many Pakistanis, Iraqis, Afghanis, Tanzanians, Kenyans, etc., etc, have been killed by militants in bombings, shootings, and suicide attacks? Think I'm on solid ground when I state that number is a whole lot more than 2400.

    Finally, to paraphrase Nolan:

    Do you know what is worse than having your dead body urinated upon? Being killed. Being shot. Being bombed. Having your limbs blown off. Having your house incinerated by a militant car bomb that you don't see until it explodes. Having your children blown up in their beds. Having your spouse killed. Having your spouse, brother, child beheaded. Having your hometown destroyed. Being displaced. Becoming a refugee. Having your entire life destroyed as a consequence of political forces far, far beyond your control.

    Ya see, just change the actor and it's the same.

    The only difference between people like Greenwald, Nolan, Lucy Steigerwald and myself is that I haven't closed my eyes to the well-documented atrocities committed by thugs like those alleged militants the Marines are stupidly urinating on.

    Why those acts are never mentioned in pieces like these is obvious. It would present another side that doesn't conform to the 'progressive' norm in this day and age. I'm almost ashamed to call myself a liberal when I read unquestioning dreck like this. I guess the tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of innocent people killed by militants in the past 15 years don't matter as much because they weren't killed by Americans. I don't close my eyes to their deaths because they weren't killed by people that look like me. Apparently, you do.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    So the barrage of pro-war propaganda, the difficulty in being a resident of (and having a fondness for) a country which can't mind its own business, the fundamental problem of war being glossied-up murder, all that means I don't care about murderous nasty militants? Amazing inference.

    If America is better, let's be better. No, I don't only care about dead people who were killed by people "that look like me," I care that the world equates governments and people. I care that my taxes go, without my consent, to fund this and I care that it's murder and imperialism. It's childish and dull to say "but-but, they're bad, too!" Or even if they're worse. That's not what I was talking about and it doesn't bring back dead people who my not care a whole lot why it happened or who is responsible and what nice, democratic motivations they may have said they have.

  • ||

    You may not think that's what you were talking about, but it sounds an awful lot like it. If you're upset about taxes going to things you don't support, democracy clearly isn't for you. Strange that libertarians so often sound like they'd prefer something autocratic. I usually just ignore it as an expression of overflowing passion, but it's impossible to take very seriously.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Do you know what else is impossible to take seriously? Comments that suggest being concerned about war and my involuntary funding of said war means that I would prefer an autocracy.

  • Rob||

    Ironic that you mention a "barrage of pro-war propaganda." Just wrote another comment about Greenwald falling for such a barrage.

    As for the 'but they're bad, too,' line of reasoning, that's a perfect summation of how Greenwald argues, except he argues it from his perspective. Does that make him "childish and dull," as you put it? Does that make you childish and dull for arguing in the same fashion?

    And even though it was the main point of your piece, I notice you didn't address my irrefutable proof of Greenwald defining "terrorism." So is that word meaningless or not? According to Greenwald it is. But as clearly seen in his quote above, it's not. And that's the way Greenwald argues.

    And if you can point me to any comprehensive piece you've written about the countless dead killed by militants, I'll sincerely retract my statement that apparently you don't care.

    And if you can't it, certainly doesn't mean that you don't, it's just that I feel strongly that their deaths are lost in the Endless stories peddled by Greenwald & Co. about Endless War and drone wars.

    In other words: those deaths are worth a mention in pieces like this. Especially since they're part of the larger story.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    The point was that "they're bad too" is bad argument because two wrongs don't make a right, especially when America is supposed to be, and considers itself, on missions of liberation.

    I don't know enough about older Greenwald, but I'll look into it. The point that terrorism is a politicized term and semi-meaningless is something I agree with.

    I just started my journalism career, so give me some time, but look -- this reminds me of one commenter who wonders why Reason doesn't write about cops who do good things. I am sure they're out there, I have met a few, but I am not going to write about that. Cops and soldiers are both supposedly acting in the name of citizens, protecting them. When they do really nasty things, we should be more disappointed in them and we should be more outraged because our money funds them. I just assume it's obvious that Islamic militants are bad and cops saving lives is good. Therefore it's not as interesting. This is about the high standards that should exist for cops and soldiers. And it's about that fact that war, regardless of motivation, IS legal murder.

    This was a blog post. I can't write about everything, but I still have to wonder who you're hanging out with all day if you're not surrounded by pro-soldier propaganda.

  • Rob||

    And I could say the same ridiculous thing about you. Who are you hanging out with all day if you're not surrounded by Greenwald propaganda?

    And the suggestion that I'm surrounded by pro-soldier propaganda is, as you would put it, an "amazing inference," to make, especially since I criticized those Marines and clearly stated that I marched against the Iraq War.

    And if the "they're bad too," argument is "bad," why did you make it in the first place? You called that line of reasoning "childish and dull."

    I'm beginning to see you have more in common with Greenwald than I thought. You make conflicting arguments, you throw out childish insults, and when called on something, simply claim you don't actually have familiarity with that which you're touting (Greenwald) and that you can't write about everything, anyway.

  • Rob||

    Another thing I'd add after watching that segment on the decline of the anti-war movement is that despite the size of those protests (which got tons of press, were global and attracted millions of protesters around the world) Glenn Greenwald chose to support Bush on Iraq because he was Glenn's "leader."

    From the preface of his first book:

    "Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country."

    To the extent he was able to develop a definitive view?!? I guess Glenn was cut off from the world while tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of his hometown (including me). I guess at the time Glenn wasn't all that concerned to dig a bit deeper into what was happening in the world around him. So what did he do in the run-up to the Iraq War? Nothing. He sat on his ass and did nothing.

    Mind you, I have absolutely no problem with people's positions evolving over time, but given the constant, over-the-top, holier-than-thou bludgeonings Glenn routinely dishes out to those who supported Iraq, in the interests of intellectual honesty, it might behoove him to mention the fact that he supported Bush's invasion of Iraq as well. But since he became such a darling of the progressive community, he doesn't. Those nuggets appeared in the preface of his first book and have NEVER appeared online in any of his blogs or writings.

    Another nugget: Glenn also wanted to wreak "vengeance" on those responsible for 9/11. That's another factoid he never discusses.

    And why don't you ask him how those Super PACS are going. Think they're working toward the goal of keeping the powerful in place and the war machine rolling on? Then again, not a good question. The ever-vigilant Glenn Greenwald supported Citizens United. Using Glenn's logic, I guess that means he supports, as he constantly puts it, "Endless War."

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Point taken on Greenwald at least. I don't know as much about his previous writings as I should. (And obviously, as a libertarian, I wish he weren't clueless on economic stuff.) I liked the column I linked to and some previous, recent ones, though.

  • Rob||

    That's one of the HUGE problems with people citing Greenwald. They don't know enough about his history, and since he never brings it up (unless painted into a corner) it gets widely overlooked.

    But since his influence has steadily grown to the point where's he's such an enormous presence in the blogosphere, people are beginning to question his past (and his overbearing, insulting and condescending attitude toward those with whom he disagrees). Not saying I'm happy to help get this stuff out there, but given his thoroughly disingenuous machinations, I'm not saying I'm sad, either. Here's an example (and yes, I wrote this):

    http://sadredearth.com/glenn-g.....ork-times/

  • ||

    Still, your quote sounds like a mea culpa - and a very public one at that. He's become such a passionate defender of civil rights and military restraint that I can forgive him for owning up to his past errors. Sure, I could be cynical and say he's doing this to cater to a niche market for his "product" - but perhaps he really saw the error of his ways and of blindly following the President to battle. We've all likely had some unlibertarian view at some point, and Greenwald still obviously has a long way to go.

  • Rob||

    If Glenn Greenwald was truly interested in a "very public" mea culpa, he would have written one on his blogs. But he never has. The only place that's appeared was in the preface of his first book. And when I called him on it, he admitted that was the case. Mr. More-Links-Than-You-Can-Shake-A-Stick-At couldn't point to a single one to refute me.

    Hell, even some of his most ardent supporters (who'd been reading him for years) didn't know he supported the Iraq War. Nor did they know about his strong support of Bush in the run-up to the invasion of Afghanistan.

    So think about it: Greenwald routinely savages war supporters with rhetorical battle axes while blatantly eliding his own support of these wars. It's utterly disingenuous behavior. Not that I'd expect more from someone who routinely engages in absurd ad hominem attacks. Disagree with Glenn and he brands you either, A) A liar; B) An Obamabot; C) An apologist for war criminals; D) stupid; E) moronoic; or F) some combo of all of the above. And I'm not being the slightest bit hyperbolic. Glenn's contributions to civil dialogue on important issues of the day have often been about as helpful as malaria laden mosquitoes at a school picnic. Then again, that's what gets him attention and page hits.

    And hey, did you know Mr. Passionate Defender of Civil Rights was also an outright xenophobe? And this wasn't before he saw the "error of his ways," but in 2005 when, according to the same preface, he'd supposedly undergone his political conversion.

    Illegal Immigrants=Evil

    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.....legal.html

    He's a real piece of work. And the ironic thing is that I used to enjoy his work. That is until I had the temerity to disagree with something he wrote. That's when the real Glenn Greenwald emerged. And it wasn't pretty.

    I'd also suggest this for reading material on Mr. Greenwald:

    http://sadredearth.com/christo.....-of-ideas/

  • Matt R||

    Such behaviour totally undermines the vary reason for fighting this war. But i guess it's easy to hold this view having never experienced the realities of war myself. bees for sale

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