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Glenn Greenwald Terrorizes Logic

On the Guardian columnist’s response to the terror attack in London

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(itvnews)

Whenever a radical Islamist commits a horrific act of violence or an act of terrorism, Glenn Greenwald is there with the same all-powerful explanation: it is our fault. More specifically, it is the fault of anyone living in the United States or any “loyal, constant ally” state, as he put it on Twitter. Terrorists, it seems, have no agency.

Wednesday, on a crowded street in Woolwich, London, Michael Adebolajo and a second individual beheaded Lee Rigby, a drummer in the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Both attackers are British citizens of Nigerian descent. Adebolajo converted to Islam in 2003. At the time of his murder, Rigby was not in uniform. After butchering Rigby, Adebolajo approached a bystander who recorded the attack and said:

 “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. Your people will never be safe. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

 “We apologize that women had to see this today, but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don’t care about you.”

Instead of wondering if these two butchers were part of a larger terrorist cell, Greenwald tells us that he is going to discuss the “vital” matter of whether this barbaric act should be considered terrorism. Yes, it is “vital” to know whether beheading a drummer in the British army on a crowded street in London is an act of terrorism. But fear not. Greenwald only asks rhetorical questions so that he may provide his own answers. And his answers are always simple ones. Rigby, the drummer in the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was a soldier. An act of terrorism must be carried out against civilians. A drummer in the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is not a civilian. Therefore, beheading a drummer in the British army on a crowded street in London cannot be an act of terrorism. For Greenwald, it really is that simple. Things are always that simple.

But things are simpler still for Greenwald. Does the fact that Rigby was not wearing a uniform complicate things at all? Of course not, because, Greenwald tells us, “the same is true for the vast bulk of killings carried out by the US and its allies over the last decade.” The US has even re-defined “militant” to mean “any military-aged male in a strike zone.” Do you get it yet? It is not terrorism to behead a drummer in the British army on a crowded street in London because the US and its allies do it too. It does not matter that when the US and its allies carry out these killings in clear and recognized warzones, they wear uniforms to identify themselves as combatants, whereas here, the two individuals were dressed in plainclothes. It does not matter that, according to the Laws of Armed Combat, Rigby would not have been considered a lawful combatant because, among other things, he was not wearing “fixed distinctive emblems recognizable at a distance, such as uniforms.” No, what Greenwald endorses as sound logic is Adebojo’s brutish logic: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

But Greenwald is not satisfied with already having answered his own question. Greenwald goes further and entertains another possible definition of terrorism: “any act of violence designed to achieve political change, or more specifically, to induce a civilian population to change their government or its policies of out fear of violence.” Surely, not even Greenwald can explain how this attack in London, done with an overtly political purpose (e.g. “the only reasons we killed this man is because Muslims are dying daily” and “you people will never be safe. Remove your government”), fails to meet that definition of terrorism.

Dear reader, never lose the ability to be surprised.

Greenwald tells us that if we prefer this definition, then the vast majority of violent acts undertaken by the US and its allies over the last decade are likewise examples of terrorism. The US/UK “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad, the ongoing US drone attacks, the massive air bombings in World War II, all of these must also be terrorism.

Why these things matter in the context of two civilians (i.e. not States) who beheaded a drummer in the British army on a crowded street in London is unclear, because according to terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman, “‘terrorism’ is understood to be violence committed by non-state entities” (emphasis mine). This may be a definitional issue, but it helps explain why people are quick to call a violent act committed for political purposes by two civilians an act of terrorism, despite being unwilling to say the same when a state engages in a similar act.

Why Greenwald includes the attack on Baghdad as an act of terrorism despite the fact that, during the second battle of Fallujah, civilians were evacuated from the city in advance of the fighting (which lasted several weeks and was assisted by the US Marines), is unclear. (In other words, those who chose to remain effectively declared themselves combatants.) Of course, there were families that did not or could not leave Fallujah during the evacuation. But according to Michael Totten, who spent a month in Fallujah during the surge, Marines spray-painted the word “FAMILY” in red on the walls outside their houses so no one would accidentally shoot them.

Why Greenwald must look to famously controversial tactics employed in World War II–a war fought over sixty years–when he claims to have available the vast majority of violent acts undertaken by the US and its allies over the last decade as examples of terrorism is, likewise, unclear.

But do not overthink things. Everything is actually simple.

The thing is, Greenwald’s predictability is the only thing that is simple. There are only so many times you can say, as Greenwald does in this column, that “nothing about [his article] has anything to do with justifiability” before it has everything to do with justifiability. Nearly every column that Greenwald writes about Islamist terrorism is about how we brought terrorism upon ourselves, as if history only began the moment we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Greenwald never takes a moment to feel sorrow for the innocent victims of Islamist terrorism in the West (or elsewhere, for that matter) because he is too busy feeling an implacable rage towards the West and the victims of its wars, regardless of the justness of those wars. Right after the Boston Marathon bombing, for example, Greenwald engaged in this hallmark victim competition:

“[W]hatever rage you’re feeling toward the perpetrator of this Boston attack, that’s the rage in sustained form that people across the world feel toward the US for killing innocent people in their countries. Whatever sadness you feel for yesterday’s victims, the same level of sadness is warranted for the innocent people whose lives are ended by American bombs.”

The most loathsome part about Greenwald’s columns is that they quite literally employ the very logic and propaganda tactics employed by al-Qaeda and its affiliates. (If you do not believe me that I mean this literally, click here and see how many of those ten he satisfies.)

Underlying Greenwald’s column on the London beheading is a soft-racism that assumes that because the two attackers were Muslim, they can claim to be at war with the West and engage in attacks against the West as part of the “War on Terrorism.” What Greenwald misunderstands is that these two attackers were British citizens, not Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, or Yemenis i.e. people who can make a claim that the West is at war with them. By assuming that these two British citizens could legitimately claim to be at war with Britain, Greenwald adopts the al-Qaeda narrative that the West is at war with Islam, not with certain states that happen to be Islamic or have sizable Muslim populations. This is no exaggeration. Greenwald approvingly cites a tweet from Michael Moore saying just that: “I am outraged that we can’t kill people in other counties [sic] without them trying to kill us!” To repeat the point, then, these two terrorists who beheaded a drummer were not part of “other countries.” They were British citizens. What else can we call this conflation of Muslims if not bigotry?

Despite Greenwald’s repeated insistence that he is not justifying Islamist terrorism, he regularly does just that. He takes on the case of any terrorist pro bono from his comfortable home in Brazil. When his case is not going well, he resorts back to the time-tested tactic of blaming Israel. That is right. Israel is responsible for the beheading of a drummer in the British army on a crowded street in London.

It is not difficult to see through Greenwald’s elementary logic, his many red herrings, and sleight of hand tricks. No amount of Western wrongdoing can justify beheading a drummer in the British army on a crowded street in London. This is terrorism, plain and simple. And no amount of columns by Glenn Greenwald can change that.

 

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Elias says:

Also ironic is that Greenwald spends a lot of time criticizing Western Islamophobia and the demonization of Muslims on the basis of the acts of a few, but by saying Islamist terrorist attacks are just a natural reaction to the West’s wars against Muslims, he is actually the one implying that any Muslim can potentially react this way, i.e that any Muslim is potentially an Islamist terrorist.

Adam Glantz says:

Greenwald is a sharp, polished exponent of the Noam Chomsky approach to political ethics, so he exhibits the strengths and weaknesses of that approach. I agree that it’s especially easy to grant a moral carte blanche to “our” side and blame everything on “the other”, because the former speak our language, dress like us, share the outlines of our culture, and otherwise have a disproportionate ability to influence us. So we must be especially careful to scrutinize the claims of “our” spokespeople for hypocrisy, double-standards, etc. I’m with him on that. But the Chomskyites go farther and give a complete free pass to people outside of our society. We can’t control what outsiders do, but we CAN impact our own societies, so we can only criticize our own societies. Or so the argument goes, but it’s much too extreme for me to take it seriously on its own merits.

Rob26 says:

Greenwald writes the same column over and over. Only the actors change. As for Iraq and Afghanistan, he supported both wars because he wanted to “exact vengeance” on Muslims for 9/11 and subsequently trusted Bush on the Iraq invasion because his “loyalty” was to his “leader.”

http://bit.ly/HH5c3U

mickstep says:

To state that Chomsky or Greenwald state that other states can never be criticised is a complete lie, if you are simply misconstruing what Chomsky says, which as you state is the only thing you don’t agree with then you can be happy to know that you were mistaken, and can now consider yourself a Chomskyite.

Chomsky says that there is little point in him paying much attention to the crimes of other states as there is not a lot he can do about it. Not that it is immoral to do so.

When other states get criticised it’s also important to look at the agenda for doing it, when the media criticises other states for the nasty things they do it always follows a close correlation as to whether they are ‘our’ allies or not.

What Uzbekistan does to it’s people is of no interest because that brutal regime is allied to the US and Britain.

The crimes of Iran are for some reason of major importance to us? I Wonder why?

Garrett says:

I read Greenwald’s article, and it seems like you have done some good twisting. His intention was to plead for logical consistency in our use of the word terrorism. He was saying that if you call this an act of terrorism, you would necessarily have to concede that certain government policies are terrorism. I fail to see any “soft-racism” or sympathy with Islamist terrorism in Greenwald’s article. That is a blatant and dishonest mis-attribution. Speculating as to the causes of an act of terrorism does not imply you sympathize with the perpetrators. In fact, this is one of the main strategies of intelligence agencies — to understand the root causes of terrorism, which is often UK, US, or Israeli policy. Likewise, criticizing your own government’s violence does not imply that you are justifying other people’s violence. One can simultaneously denounce state and non-state terrorism. In fact, it is necessitated by anybody who uses conceptual and moral consistency; it is not coherent to say that an act ceases to be terrorism because it is committed by a state. Hoffman fails to see this basic logic.

Adam Glantz says:

Here’s a Chomsky quote lifted directly out of a previous Greenwald blog entry in The Guardian. In the original, the last sentence is emphasized, either by Greenwald or clearly with Greenwald’s editorial approval. Before that sentence one might say Chomsky is just advising us on where to concentrate our moralizing efforts. OK, fine. But I detect a different register in that last sentence. It’s as if he’s saying: Don’t even TRY to make any ethical judgments about someone else’s atrocities.

“So even if the U.S. was responsible for 2 percent of the violence in the world instead of the majority of it, it would be that 2 percent I would be primarily responsible for. And that is a simple ethical judgment. That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.”

Barry Kort says:

The War on Terror, wherein the Terrorist and the Anti-Terrorist establish their mutually agreeable terms of engagement.

Terrorist: You have sown fear in me. Now I will repay you by sowing fear in you.

Anti-Terrorist: I will hunt you down and annihilate you and your kind.

Terrorist: I am not afraid to die. My violence will strike anywhere, anytime, when you least expect it.

Anti-Terrorist: I am not afraid of your terrorist attacks. I will redouble my efforts to bring you down.

Terrorist: There are more where I came from. We will continue to fight your violence with our violence until the end of time.

Anti-Terrorist: Our violence is holy. We are using authorized and sanctioned violence under the color of law to fight your unlawful, evil violence.

Terrorist: I believe in my violence even more than you believe in yours. It is my true religion. I have no compassion for your lawful violence.

Anti-Terrorist: I have no compassion for your unlawful violence.

Terrorist: Then we are in agreement. Our mutual lack of empathy and our mutual fear ensures that our drama will continue forever and ever.

Anti-Terrorist: Suits me fine.

Terrorist: Me too. It gives meaning to my life.

Anti-Terrorist: Mine, too.

Terrorist: Then we’re in agreement. We will escalate the mutual and reciprocal violence forever and ever.

Anti-Terrorist: Roger that.

[Bonus Cartoon Animation: http://youtu.be/fz7Rgic9sb4

mickstep says:

Exactly he is saying that there is no agency to doing so, he has said this because people constantly say to him, “why do you only criticise the motherland, and don’t focus on the crimes of the motherlands enemies?” Implying he is some kind of traitor, of course.

Criticising the acts of the enemy as Chomsky’s detractors seem to think is so noble, is futile. But furthermore it is a kind of propaganda, because as I pointed out these people actively ignore the often far worse crimes of the allies.

The lie that those who like to concentrate the attacks on the likes of Iran are doing so because they care about very human being on the planet, even those that are citizens of Iran, is completely laid bare by the fact that they don’t care enough about the forced labour of children in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan, and political dissidents being boiled alive to make any effort to publicize it, in the way that they publicise the rights abuses of gay men in Tehran.

Barnes says:

What an utterly ridiculous piece. To try and use Bruce Hoffman to advance an argument that basically amounts to ‘there is no such thing as state terrorism’ is absurd. Hoffman is typical of ‘terrorism scholars’ who serve establishment interests. Former RAND, former advisor to CIA – its quite obvious why Hoffman seeks to exempt violence perpetrated by States from the terrorism debate. And its says a lot about the author that he would try and perpetuate this odious line of very shoddy reasoning. Hoffman’s odious self-serving and establishment enabling desire to frame the question of what constitutes terrorism has been roundly destroyed by Remi Brulin

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/08/20/terrorism_is_terrorism

Furthermore’ your claim that Greenwald blamed Israel for the attack in Woolwich is a lie. As he correctly points out, Israel and its oppression of the Palestinians is a source of ire and recruitment amongst jihad I circles. So Greenwald was simply stating an obvious truth.

So here we have an author who quite obviously seeks to define ‘terrorism’ as western govts would like to see it defined, thus giving them a freer reign. Whereas for those of us who care about things like morals and decency, recognise that terrorism does not just emanate from non-state actors, it can and very often does originate in the polished environs of government offices.

TimothyLeary says:

This entire article is a lie, as anyone who reads Greenwald’s piece will know, and most of the commenters have pointed out. You can always feel an intellectually devoid argument coming at the beginning of hit pieces when they are short on quotations, and heavy on pious anger, snark, and rhetorical flourish—as if only an idiot would consider the topics Glenn’s article discusses. Novetsky is clearly polishing off his credentials as an attack dog like Jeff Goldberg, which is probably smart career advice. It’s a shame that his argument is so specious as to be laughable, and relies almost entirely on falsehoods and straw men. But so it goes with this crowd. I would like to think that Tablet’s desire to preserve its intellectual credibility would deny this man a platform in the future. But when your target also happens to be a critic of the Israeli government—and his great “crime” is simply dissecting how the term “terrorism” is employed in Western discourse—I guess the idea is so dangerous that it seems there’s no shortage of American publishers willing to regurgitate it. Tablet should’ve gotten their graphics department on board with an illustration of Glenn thinking and in the thought bubble being a giant incarnation of Hitler. At least that type of emotionally-potent propaganda would fit the childish screed below it.

TimothyLeary says:

This entire article is a lie, as anyone who reads Greenwald’s piece will know, and most of the commenters have pointed out. You can always feel an intellectually devoid argument coming at the beginning of hit pieces when they are short on quotations, and heavy on pious anger, snark, and rhetorical flourish—as if only an idiot would consider the topics Glenn’s article discusses. Novetsky is clearly polishing off his credentials as an attack dog like Jeff Goldberg, which is probably smart career advice. It’s a shame that his argument is so specious as to be laughable, and relies almost entirely on falsehoods and straw men. But so it goes with this crowd. I would like to think that Tablet’s desire to preserve its intellectual credibility would deny this man a platform in the future. But when your target also happens to be a critic of the Israeli government—and his great “crime” is simply dissecting how the term “terrorism” is employed in Western discourse—I guess the idea is so dangerous that it seems there’s no shortage of American publishers willing to regurgitate it. Tablet should’ve gotten their graphics department on board with an illustration of Glenn thinking and in the thought bubble being a giant incarnation of Hitler. At least that type of emotionally-potent propaganda would fit the childish screed below it.

TimothyLeary says:

“That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century.” Whether you agree with the comparison or not, Chomsky is at no point in this quote saying that other countries get a “free pass,” as you claim. Rather, he’s saying that from a moral perspective, there’s nothing special or effective about denouncing the crimes of others. That’s just simply true. If one’s concerned with violence and dignity, it is the most morally fulfilling and effective to do it within domains in which your voice matters. As an American citizen, the mullahs don’t give a hoot if I talk about their evil—anymore than Americans care when Press TV denounces Obama. At no point in displaying the moral dynamics in such pronouncements does Chomsky say anything along the lines of “DON’T EVEN TRY”. He just explains why if you do, it’s cheap and meaningless.

Garrett says:

From my understanding, he affirms a simple moral principle: apply the same moral standards to your own government that you apply to others. He goes one step further and says that it is more practically useful to criticize your own government. Therefore, you can make useless criticisms of foreign governments all you want, as long as the bulk of your efforts are devoted to doing something more useful at home. For instance, Obama announced this week he is reforming his drone policy. That was in response to domestic (not foreign) criticism. It is safe to say that pundits who focus primarily on criticizing Iran and North Korea do not precipitate progressive developments in US foreign policy. It’s egotistical jingoism if anything.

Habbgun says:

OOOHH….the Leftists are out in force! This is great for them. They get to bash the US and Israel, vicariously experience being a big bad terrorist and brownnose another higher up in the social hierarchy of professional leftists.

And the arguments are all the same,

Actual men destroy actual skyscraper cruelly killing civilians they answer “you have a terrorist government therefore you are a target and a terrorist”.

Actual men bomb actual civilians at a foot race they answer “you have a terrorist government therefore you are a target and a terrorist”

Actual men send actual missiles into civilian areas in Israel killing civilians they answer “you have a terrorist government therefore you are a target and a terrorist”

Actual men kill an actual harmless old man on a cruise ship they answer “you have a terrorist government therefore you are a target and a terrorist”

Actual men kill an actual man (who is in the internationally recognized honest profession of a soldier but is wearing civilian clothes at the time and is not armed) they answer “you have a terrorist government therefore you are a target and a terrorist”

Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, the Kims in North Korea use the state to terrorize, starve, lock up and kill millions they answer “you can’t assume that just because the state has the same beliefs that we do that we’re wrong or we can ever be blamed for that. Why you….you…you McCarthyist running dog”

Then they wonder why decent people consider them lower than scum.

mickstep says:

And there you have it, the victims of state terror we are pointing to, don’t count because in your mind they are not real people.

TimothyLeary says:

Congratulations. Your trollish ways have spoiled a comment thread that hitherto had (surprisingly) been full of substance, in both the replies that supported the article and those that didn’t. Bravo.

Note: you should probably address the points you disagree with on their merits, not with screeds against Pol Pot and Stalin, whom no one here was defending. Stay classy.

Habbgun says:

And there you have it …. the victims we are pointing to…..which means you are selective which means that the perpetrators of the crimes you don’t believe are terrorist acts are agents acting on behalf of your beliefs so basically they are actors in violence and you are a facilitator of terror. Good job. Your arguments must seem profound with the rest of your lumpen proletariat friends at the Occupy campsites.

You do realize that your argumentation about Imperialism, etc comes from the continent of Europe which was the Imperialists. You don’t think we don’t see the clever little trick where you pretend to deplore imperialism while you hope Europe gets on top and again and your own sorry background gets elevated in your own eyes. In the meantime you vicariously experience murder through celebrating killers of civilians.

CygnusA81 says:

Beautiful take-down Zach!

Habbgun says:

No it wasn’t full of substance. We constantly see one side obfuscate, use moral relativism, show no concern when certain types of civilians die but actively protest when cheap political points are to be made.

The reference to these past killers is that the rhetoric used by terror apologists and Noam Chomsky is supposed to be supported by the European intellectual foundation of the University system which is indeed an export and is meant to co-opt others into European thinking and not expand knowledge. When these ideas fail dramatically like they did in Russia, China, Cambodia and Korea let alone Eastern Europe there is a deflection that is only possible because your style of argument is a rigged game. You tried to make it a rigged game on this discussion thread as well but this is a Jewish website and Jews know pretty well right now have these arguments work and what is left unsaid and waiting in the wings.

Stay trashy.

TimothyLeary says:

It’s hard to find the words to describe the theory that ideas differing from your own are part of a conspiracy by European universities to brainwash the world…Alex Jones on PCP would be jealous.

“Jews know pretty well right now have [sic] these arguments work and what is left unsaid and waiting in the wings” — because a diverse and geographically disparate religious grouping of individuals acts and thinks uniformly as a collective, right? Where have we heard that theory before?

Guest says:

Irrelevant.

Habbgun says:

because a diverse and geographically disparate religious grouping of
individuals acts and thinks uniformly as a collective, right? Where have
we heard that theory before?

Yeah…keep spinning Timmy boy. You don’t want to admit that you want to rig the argument beforehand and engage in semantics. No, universities are not conspiratorial but they are damn well biased and plenty of professors actually teaching in them will say the same (yeah, but they’re wingnuts right?).

You would not accept a Yeshiva argument about Israel being Jewish land but somehow Chomsky is supposed to have incredible weight. This is not physics and this is not math. You can not categorically assert anything like that argument here. Try something without a prearranged slant but you’ll come up empty.

There was hanging in my synagogue pictures of the hundreds killed by the missiles of Jihadist terror in Israel but your sympathy was not apparent then nor are you likely to care if it happens again. They are pretty much forgotten but a man with literal blood on his hands you are arguing in favor of.

We both know what you are getting at. The end game must be those you don’t like admit their “crimes” similar to the crimes of kulaks everywhere and the “right” people put in charge.

By the way if an Islamist or maybe a victim of communism kills someone in the Marxist Institute in Manhattan would you be willing to see the known perpetrator go and to be understood? Maybe I would and if I did and didn’t want to show that I was sympathetic how would my moral equivalencies sound any different from yours?

DrMikeH49 says:

Zach points out something which isn’t being discussed enough: “What Greenwald misunderstands is that these two attackers were British citizens, not Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis, or Yemenis i.e. people who can make a claim that the West is at war with them. Greenwald adopts the al-Qaeda narrative that the West is at war with Islam, not with certain states that happen to be Islamic or have sizable Muslim populations. ”

even casual readers are aware of the frequent charge of dual loyalty leveled against American Jews who support Israel (ie the overwhelming majority of the American Jewish community and all of its institutions, in concert with the majority of all Americans). Yet we Jews haven’t engaged, as individuals or as a community, in violence against our country’s law enforcement or military, or plotted mass murders of our fellow Americans. (yes, before anyone wants to bring up the JDL plot against Congressman Issa’s offices, there are a precious few instances that not only were the acts of deranged individuals but were immediately and thoroughly condemned by OUR community leadership).

Yet the Times Square bomber, the younger Tsarnaev brother, Major Hassan (the Ft Hood shooter), Naveed Afzal Haq (who murdered 6 people at the Seattle Jewish Federation in 2006), Abdelhakim Mujahid Mohammed (who murdered 2 soldiers at a Little Rock AR recruiting station in 2009) and others were all American citizens who attacked in the name of Islam. Some were native born, others were immigrants. All chose to murder their fellow citizens, in some cases soldiers.

Now before the Islamophobia industry lumps me in with Pamela Geller, these Islamist terrorists should not be held as representatives of all US Muslims. There are many brave Muslims (Dr Zuhdi Jasser is the first name that comes to mind) who are publicly speaking out against the murderous extremists in their community. But why is it that those who are so quick to promote the dual loyalty canard against Jews– for entirely open and legal political activism– ignore the question of loyalty for those who commit cold-blooded murder of their fellow Americans in the name of Allah?

Beatrix17 says:

The difference between terrorism and war is the difference between standing in the line at Walmart Saturday morning and having the person behind you take out a knife and slit your throat and the sounding of sirens warning you of an enemy attack so you and your family can run to the shelters. Both are terrifying, and we will not be civilized until we can settle our differences without war, but trying to equate the first primitive act with the second means we have no hope of ever being civilized.

Coffee Party says:

Intelligent and incisive article, Zach. How many times can Greenwald and his minions champion every Islamic act of terror against America and its allies, and villify the democratic and egalitarian values and policies of Western democracies? Their arguments are hypocritical, biased, and more tedious than ever.

mickstep says:

What you fail to recognise is that a person can be a European and not be blinded by that, in your mind everyone has to be on a side. Because I am British I am guilty of Imperialism so therefore I am hypocritical.

I know fine well what evils Britain has done, but I don’t see why I should be forced to own them.

I do see how I can disown what Britain is doing now as a satellite of the US empire, and I do disown it to the best of my ability, and yes there are flaws that are too difficult to avoid through circumstance.

That doesn’t render the causes and ideas invalid. How can any person existing in an environment they didn’t create, and object to resist it.

By your logic which suits you very well, anyone who dissents to your opinion should live an Amish life where your voice will never be heard. How convenient.

Glenn Greenwald has made a career writing crazy illogical responses to real events and as long as people take him seriously enough to respond he will keep doing it.

The guy is a loony bird who can’t sing and isn’t funny.

What a weak apology, Garret?

The British killers had been refugees who had found a home in England. is this how they repay the countries generosity?

What crap.

Tell me Garret (or Greenwald?) what other religious or national group claims the right to avenge wrongs done some members of that group in other parts of the world?

ibn dirac says:

You are actually not addressing the point Garret nor Greenwald make. As far as your question is concerned, the US is a pretty good example of a national entity that claims the “right to avenge wrongs done some members of that group in other parts of the world”. i.e. Afghanistan, without feeling too worried or shaken by the resulting civilian casualties.

The article by Zach is a nipple-twisting piece of rhetoric flying ten feet above Glenn’s point, which is as simple as saying if X is orange, then perhaps we shall recognize that Y that has similar attributes is also orange, hence X is equivalent in many respect to Y. Pretty much the type of simple logic that only fails when confronted with a raging sense of ethnocentrism.

Rob26 says:

Only a GG drone would actually accept his (typically long-winded) inane explanation. Anyone else said something that pathetic, you’d be heaping scorn on them for being a Bush cultist. Fact is Bush and Cheney prayed people like Glenn would silently accede to their invasion of Iraq. And by the way, after years of spitting invective on his blogs against anyone that supported the war, why did it take Glenn almost SEVEN YEARS to actually write about HIS support, on a BLOG? I’ll tell you why: he wanted too keep it buried in print. But the ol’ internet has a way of getting things out in the open. Oops.

mickstep says:

oops, you don’t actually know where the quote came from, (hint: it didn’t come from something he wrote on his blog)

That happens when you half read other peoples arguments and repeat them ad infinitum for the “cause”.

LevAryeh says:

Really? Then explain BDS to me. Why should a bunch of Americans, Brits, Irish, and other Europeans be boycotting Israel rather than concentrating on abuses in their own countries? Shouldn’t Americans be boycotting the defence industries in their own country which produce drones and other war materiel? Shouldn’t they be standing in solidarity alongside the Sioux of South Dakota, whose children are still being stolen from them by state agencies and handed over for adoption by white families. Isn’t it here where their actions and protests would have the most impact? Ditto the Brits, Irish, etc., in their own countries. And true to Chomsky’s (and Greenwald’s) thesis, BDS has an absolutely minimal impact on Israeli policy anyway. Aside from pissing Israel off, BDS has the practical effect of causing Israelis to circle the wagons and eschew engagement with change they might otherwise embrace. So I suppose we should resstate the Chomsky/Greenwald thesis as follows: It is pointless to denounce the crimes of others, and one should stand against violence where one’s voice matters most, except where Israel is concerned, in which case one should self-righteously rant and rave while ignoring abuses at home.

LevAryeh says:

Really? Then explain BDS to me. Why should a bunch of Americans, Brits, Irish, and other Europeans be boycotting Israel rather than concentrating on abuses in their own countries? Shouldn’t Americans be boycotting the defence industries in their own country which produce drones and other war materiel? Shouldn’t they be standing in solidarity alongside the Sioux of South Dakota, whose children are still being stolen from them by state agencies and handed over for adoption by white families. Isn’t it here where their actions and protests would have the most impact? Ditto the Brits, Irish, etc., in their own countries. And true to Chomsky’s (and Greenwald’s) thesis, BDS has an absolutely minimal impact on Israeli policy anyway. Aside from pissing Israel off, BDS has the practical effect of causing Israelis to circle the wagons and eschew engagement with change they might otherwise embrace. So I suppose we should resstate the Chomsky/Greenwald thesis as follows: It is pointless to denounce the crimes of others, and one should stand against violence where one’s voice matters most, except where Israel is concerned, in which case one should self-righteously rant and rave while ignoring abuses at home.

LevAryeh says:

Really? Then explain BDS to me. Why should a bunch of Americans, Brits, Irish, and other Europeans be boycotting Israel rather than concentrating on abuses in their own countries? Shouldn’t Americans be boycotting the defence industries in their own country which produce drones and other war materiel? Shouldn’t they be standing in solidarity alongside the Sioux of South Dakota, whose children are still being stolen from them by state agencies and handed over for adoption by white families. Isn’t it here where their actions and protests would have the most impact? Ditto the Brits, Irish, etc., in their own countries. And true to Chomsky’s (and Greenwald’s) thesis, BDS has an absolutely minimal impact on Israeli policy anyway. Aside from pissing Israel off, BDS has the practical effect of causing Israelis to circle the wagons and eschew engagement with change they might otherwise embrace. So I suppose we should resstate the Chomsky/Greenwald thesis as follows: It is pointless to denounce the crimes of others, and one should stand against violence where one’s voice matters most, except where Israel is concerned, in which case one should self-righteously rant and rave while ignoring abuses at home.

Rob26 says:

I know exactly where the quote(s) came from: Greenwald and an OPINION of the NYC Bar. Not a RULING from the American Bar Association.

Greenwald: “The American Bar Association had expressly ruled that surreptitious tape recordings of witnesses by lawyers was permitted.”

http://ggsidedocs.blogspot.com/2013/01/frequently-told-lies-ftls.html

Go ahead, click on the “expressly ruled” hyperlink. See if it takes you to anything “expressly ruled” by the ABA. Not even close. Typical distortion/outright lie from Greenwald. He’s caught so he resorts to fabrications.

And you probably accept his lame excuse that he didn’t actually support the Iraq war because he quietly acquiesced to his leader, George W. Bush. In other words, he helped enable all he decries today. But never blogged a word about it while nastily vilifying others for making the same decision he did.

TimothyLeary says:

Well I’m not an advocate (or even supporter) of BDS so I can’t speak for the movement, and agree with the moral calculation you’re implying. But advocacy for Palestinian national determination actually fits quite well into the framework Chomsky and Greenwald describe, because of America’s overwhelming role in economically, diplomatically, and militarily supporting the West Bank occupation. So I don’t think there’s any contradiction there necessarily. But I do agree however that, from this moral perspective that they articulate, Turkish atrocities against the Kurds should figure just as prominently as those committed against the Palestinians by the Israeli government since the US pays for Turkey’s weapons also.

TimothyLeary says:

Which by the way they do figure prominently, at least for Chomsky. If you examine his role in Kurdish advocacy within Turkey (particularly during the 1990′s during the Kurdish insurgency) it far outweighs anything he’s done on the Israel-Palestine issue

LevAryeh says:

Well, we do agree here. But while such thought might have some validity in the US, whose aid to Israel is huge, it has no such validity in Ireland and other very vocally anti-Israel European states, which provide no aid to Israel at all. Yet the Irish Teachers’ Union just instituted a complete academic boycott against Israel. What, the Irish have no ethical messes to clean up at home? A rhetorical question, of course.

TimothyLeary says:

Fair point. Although persons are motivated by whatever drives them personally, for whatever array of reasons. Many young American Jews support Palestinian rights because they believe that Israel as a Jewish democracy will be destroyed by the occupation (a sentiment not lost among high level Israeli officials). Similarly, in the case of the Irish, I’ve noticed there’s a natural identification with people they see as being colonized by a foreign power—for obvious reasons. Does this manifest itself in ways that seem particularly harsh to the Israeli government? Sure. But I only say this as an Irish-American (with a Russian Jewish stepfamily) whose sympathetic to both the need for a Jewish homeland as well as the plight of the dispossessed. It’s extremely hard for me as an American to beat my chest about the evils Israel does when America not only facilitates Israel’s policies, but does much worse across the globe and on a much wider scale. What Israel is doing now pales in comparison to the American genocide of natives and colonization of their land. A modicum of moral consistency is required, but there are also reasons for particular identification with either the Israelis or the Palestinians for different individuals all across the globe.

Garrett says:

With $3 billion a year of American tax dollars as foreign aid, Israel should be one of the first places they look actually.

And the movement seeks to stop Western countries from engaging in commerce with Israel. Therefore, in the end, it is a movement to affect the foreign policies of the states you mentioned, not Israel.

thuggyBear says:

You aren’t very good with the reading comprehension, are you?

“As I’ve endlessly pointed out, highlighting this causation doesn’t remotely justify the acts…

“I know this vital caveat will fall on deaf ears for some, but nothing about this discussion has anything to do with justifiability. An act can be vile, evil, and devoid of justification without being ‘terrorism’: indeed, most of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century, from the Holocaust to the wanton slaughter of Stalin and Pol Pot and the massive destruction of human life in Vietnam, are not typically described as ‘terrorism’. To question whether something qualifies as ‘terrorism’ is not remotely to justify or even mitigate it. That should go without saying, though I know it doesn’t.”

He also calls it a “horrific act of violence” and a “barbaric and horrendous act.”

Perhaps you should read the article in question before trotting out the whole sanctimony thing. How many MPG does that waaahmbulance get, anyway?

LevAryeh says:

Interesting points. I came of age during Vietnam. Our protests were mostly against our own government. The one boycott I remember was urging our universities to divest from Dow Chemical, the company that made napalm. There’s precious little of that these days. Progressives rant about Israel and other distant causes while ignoring what’s going on at home. I am similarly shocked by the lack of progressive involvement in Native American causes. Tearing up during Dances With Wolves does not consitute involvement. The Sioux have never accepted the money the government apportioned for their loss of the Black Hills. They want the Black Hills back. Why aren’t thousands of progressives standing by their side?

Natan79 says:

Glenn Greenwald has long been part of Al-Qaeda. It’s not for nothing that he left the US. Like his intellectual companion, Anwar Al-Awlaki.

Natan79 says:

We do have a hope. It’s just that Glenn Greenwald is not part of it. The guy is an Islamic fascism collaborator if there ever was one.

Natan79 says:

You’re an imbecile. I am a proud liberal and I am offended by your imbecile and evil libel.

Natan79 says:

If you pretend we liberals are supporters of Chomsky, I will assume you are a supporter of the KKK, David Duke, Pat Buchanan and other right-wing Nazi Jewish haters. Now go fuck yourself, you dishonest filthy bastard.

Natan79 says:

Go fuck yourself with your Chomsky argument, you filithy right-wing Buchanan lover Nazi.

Natan79 says:

How convenient to just accuse America. Do you often go and protest the British occupation of Gibraltar, Falkland and countless other colonies?

Natan79 says:

You really Jews and israel, don’t you? Coz it shows. Creep.

Natan79 says:

Afghanistan helped the 9/11 attackers and sheltered Bin Laden and his crowd. That’s why it was attacked. Conveniently, you “forget” that.

TimothyLeary says:

The reference to the Hitler illustration was recounting a graphic that Tablet ran accompanying an article by Spencer Ackerman. Nothing else in my statement remotely concerns, or can be construed as even vaguely antagonistic toward, Jewish people. The article I’m referencing can be seen here: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/89404/sounding-off

ibn dirac says:

Whatever the Afghanistan “government” did to support the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there are clear procedures according to International law to bring culprits to court, judge them and make them pay for their crimes. But all that is pretty much gibberish because as American we have the balance of power and we can just go and kill civilians without having to worry about too much consequences, either legally or militarily. If your point had any merit whatsoever, then you would have the integrity to also consider the opposite scenario. Imagine all the numerous times the United States government committed and/or supported terrorist actions abroad, and God knows it did (Chili, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan etc..), that some loony decided it was fair game to bomb Washington or Chicago and kill tens of thousands of civilians. That is without a doubt barbarism because even though as Americans we “elected” our government, very few of us hold any responsibility in these crimes. Yet, it would never come across your mind that we make the rules and transgress them whenever we see fit or appropriate for us or our puppet states.

LevAryeh says:

You’re wrong about the movement. It ostensibly seeks to dislodge Israel from the Territories. Go to the BDS website and surf around. Interestingly, it also considers Tel Aviv to be occupied territory.

mickstep says:

The Falklands were uninhabited, I don’t really have anything against the colonisation of unoccupied lands.

I do believe we should give Gibralter back to Spain, but it’s hardly severely effecting anyone enough to be bothered much about it’s presence, if there were a signiciant movement in Britain I would support it.

But yes I do bang on about the horrible things Britain has done, specifically what it has done to the Chagossians, infact if you go to the Guardian website you will find me trying to shoehorn the Chagossians into conversation in some of the comment sections to Glenn’s articles.

thuggyBear says:

Straw man much, my self-righteous friend with poor reading comprehension skills?

You do know the point of this whole thing is to actually read the stuff you are attacking, right? Give it a shot, you might enjoy it.

Habbgun says:

You should be forced to own them because your point of view is utterly consistent with what British antisemites have engaged in in the past. The Jews are always guilty of something to an antisemite. In addition the Brits did plenty of yellow peril yelling and screaming as well. Read your popular literature of the past. Read Arthur Conan Doyle, read Sax Rohmer. They are actually authors I can enjoy but you and them sound alike.

Those authors Moslems are portrayed as misunderstood and Jews as avaricious and criminal. They could write the same things to today for you as an audience. I can understand why you think you should not be held to the crimes of the past but I don’t ask for that. I want you to understand that your opinion is meaningless. Europe has to earn any moral relevancy and the Euro fiasco is proving it won’t happen.

Habbgun says:

And you do know Glenn Greenwald uses sock puppets and slander on other people’s websites. Stop running to Jewish websites and hang out at whatever echo chambers suits you b

Habbgun says:

Keep spinning about the Amish. Actually I would like to see you live an Amish life you would create goods and not be heard and that is a good option for anyone myself included and whether the world would be more advanced is in doubt but that it would be more peaceful is not in doubt.

Let us look closer at the lefts consistent views on the Middle East on the whole. Atrocities by Arab nations towards other Arab nations or their own people are ignored. Mass graves in Iraq were ignored. Killing of Iranian protestors in plain sight (who vocally announced that Irani interests in the Palestinians was phony and Israel was defending its citizens while the mullahs were killing their own citizens) was ignored. Execution of homosexuals, curtailing of what is called women’s rights (usually a Leftist pet cause) ignored. Killing of Israeli civilians ignored. Killing of Western civilians ignored and yawn

ed over.

Responses to actions by terrorists though brings you guys out in droves.

There is only one way of looking at this that makes sense. Your animosity is racial and supremacist. The Palestinians were a pet cause of Germany because the Palestinians specifically signed on to German ideas of their own racial superiority. When looked at this way your ideas are consistent and easy to predict. Arab on Arab violence. Not a problem, they haven’t said Europeans are superior so we don’t care what happens. Homosexuals executed and women in Afghanistan shot for the crime of going to “school” you don’t care. The real issue is European supremacy and you’ll jettison pet causes as soon as their job is done. Attacks against Americans. Not a problem. America whatever its faults is not eurosupremacist. In fact non-european groups including Arabs do better here than in Europe. Since the goal is to put Europe back on top an enemy of America is a friend of the Left.

I know what your argument will be. I also know that with this in mind I always guess what people like you will respond to and how you respond.

By the way answer this question (but you won’t). If somebody bombed the Marxist Institute in New York City because of Marxism’s destruction of millions of Asians and Slavs under Mao, Pol Pot, Kim and Stalin and wanted to prevent the MI’s goal of more Marxist states and I was all for it how but wanted to be crafty about not admitting it how would I sound any different than the usual Moslem apologist? Do not the millions cry out for revenge? Do we not remember how State governments have acted in the past and will do again unless those with enlightened memories act to prevent it?. Should we only react to the victims when they fight back and not try to be proactive in ending what offends them? Does not the death of a few people as collateral damage mean less when considered against the greater struggle of freedom from genocidal communism?

brynababy says:

If only what you write could be understood! Is this supposed to be ‘intellectual’? Do not lump all liberals together. We are individuals with many differing opinions and gradations of opinion. Unfortunately, and frighteningly, it seems that all those on the right, think (and disgustingly, speak) as one.

brynababy says:

Oh, how right you are. I am a liberal and I totally reject Greenwald and Chomsky philosophies. Their obsession with Israel is unjustifiable and illogical.

Habbgun says:

No not trying to be intellectual. Truth is not an intellectual exercise, pretending to be anti-war while actually in support of the other side is an intellectual exercise.

So brynababy be an individual! This is your chance to shine!!!

Answer the pertinent question I keep asking if if an Islamist or maybe a victim of communism kills someone in the
Marxist Institute in Manhattan would you be willing to see the known
perpetrator let go and to be understood? Maybe I would and if I did and
didn’t want to show that I was sympathetic how would my moral
equivalencies sound any different from yours?

I know for a fact that if the Marxist Institute was attacked the Left would want immediate police action and prosecution. No understanding of the motives of the attacker….no wider discussion of the crimes of communism (legion though they are).

I as a member of the monolithic right can understand why university professors and Marxist institutions living in major cities, taunting the victims of the oppressive states they once ruled and trying their best to rule again might be targeted by enlightened elements of once victimized peoples in their own self-defense. Now let me know what we do about it other than the aforementioned police actions which would be the Left’s immediate response.

Nola Baar says:

The attack in London is an act of terror as are the drone attcks that “our” government carries out. Murdering thousands of civilians from the air IS an act of terror, all for oil and empire.

http://www.livingunderdrones.org/report/

http://www.livingunderdrones.org/report/

edneedham says:

I see that you plainly do not agree with Greenwald’s opinion piece, yet no where in your response do you effectively discount anything Greenwald has said. While I don’t agree with everything out of Greenwald’s mouth, your article has managed to make his argument look all the more valid.

plus15 says:

What a pleasure to see someone call this simpering fool out.

thuggyBear says:

Maybe you should stop drinking and posting. Kind of hard to follow what you mean here: are you suggesting I’m ruining your echo chamber by introducing quotes of what was actually said?

I know that reprinting parts of the actual article does ruin your criticism of this imaginary character you’ve invented, but that is sort of my point.

“To use the example recently provided by former CIA agent Barry Eisler in his brilliant explanation of “blowback”, if Person X walks up to Person Y on the street and spits in his face, and Person Y then pulls out a gun and shoots Person X in the head and kills him in retaliation, one can observe that Person X’s spitting was a causal factor in Person Y’s behavior without remotely justifying Person Y’s lethal violence. One can point out that a potential cost of walking up to people on the street and spitting in their face is that they are likely to respond with similar or worse aggression – and that this is one reason not to engage in such behavior – without justifying or legitimizing the response that is provoked and without denying (or even minimizing) the agency or blame of the person who responds.”

You might find taking a few minutes to read the things you are criticizing a good idea.

Natan79 says:

International law did not bring Eichmann from Argentina. On the contrary, it sheltered him there, as it sheltered thousands of Nazis in South America. International law condemned Israel for bringing that Nazi to trial. Not surprisingly – international law is based upon the participation of various dictatorships, from Communist China to Iran to Syria (all countries that regularly have seats even in the Human Rights Council!).

International law, based on having to submit to the will of a Syrian or Communist Chinese judge, is a law I am glad is not respected by the US. It’s a GOOD sign that the US doesn’t respect it.

Natan79 says:

It must hurt mickstep to hear the truth. Thanks for quoting exactly. And no surprise Glenn Greenwald lies. For him, it is a way of life.

ibn dirac says:

Now that’s pretty rich. International law has mostly been made useless thanks to US and other Western powers who have relentlessly denied it when it did not please them. Why would Iran, China and other dictatorship respect it ? Do you hold them to a higher standards than the US ? Unless you are not protected or supported by Americans, you can commit all the war crimes you want. Where’s the Suharto, Pinochet, Kissinger, Sharon et al. ? But let’s accept your poor excuses for the sake of argument. If international law is meaningless, and the rule of law is meaningless, why is it that you have a problem with lunatics from abroad reciprocating to the attacks their very people have suffered at the hand of our armies ? They don’t really respect the rule of law either. They think civilians are fair game in the face of the crimes they oppose. They basically say exactly what we say and do exactly what we do. Can you please open the dictionary and read the word integrity 10 x times ? What is good for Joe is good for Mo. The difference between you and me is that the narrative justifying the death of civilians is never acceptable and never justified. There are always other alternatives, and no matter what your political goals are, peace and safety of your citizens will not be guaranteed unless you avoid engaging into violence that will be reciprocated in one way or another. The propaganda that there was no other way but to engage in war against Afghanistan and Iraq was a lie, justified by geopolitical and economical reasons. If Bush, Blair and their supporters had any respect for the lives of Americans deceased on 9/11 during the terrorist attack they would not have used their death as mean to fulfill imperialistic goals. I am not a pacifist, far from that, but the use of violence by Americans has so far resulted in greater threat for Americans abroad and has in the process caused the death and suffering (both psychologically and physically) of millions of human beings who had nothing to do with 9/11, Saddam or terrorism. They were people like you and me, and the fact that you are oblivious to that is disgusting and tragic.

Aloevera says:

To Timothy Leary:

Two points about the Chomskyian dictum followed by Greenwald of critically attending to the doings of one’s only country and not that of others:

-There is no reason why anyone can’t do both: criticize their own country AND criticize others.True, one may have more leverage in one’s own country–but there is no problem in high-lighting or exposing the travesties of others–and in our globalized world, where everyone is more interconnected than before–the Chomskyinan dictum is rather out of date. (The mullahs may not “give a hoot”, as you say, to what you say about them. But there is no reason why you should not contribute to exposing their travesties in public and alerting others about them).

-Greenwald does criticize or otherwise high-light unpleasant doings in places outside of the US and Israel–not often–but he does. He recently tweeted about the imposition by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar of a 2-child limit on the Muslim minority families of that country. This unusual departure from the Chomskyian dictum seems to be done for the sake of supporting Muslims–which appears to be a bias–since Greenwald does not appear to send out alerts regarding the problems of, for example, Copts in Egypt–which is an American ally receiving financial aid from the US and would therefore be a greater candidate for Greenwald’s critical attention according to the Chomskyian dictum.

Greenwald has the right to have a bias by either supporting one side in current disputes and even in abandoning principle by applying different standards to different sides in current disputes–he does have the “right” to do this if he wants. But if so–he no longer has moral standing to complain of others having biases.

John Salisbury says:

Would extra-judicial executions,using foreign passports,qualify in the first or second category?

we use the word terrorism too much. it is fast losing any meaning at all. the incontinent way we employ it as a descriptor is not helpful. it’s harmful, in fact, cos it codifies bad things as something they are often not & thereby closes our eyes to what has really occurred. i think describing individuals w/ no group backing as terrorists is very hinky. very suspect.

until we know more about the boston bombing, i would put that event in the same category. as is, we have two brothers who went crazy. their specific influences matter as much as they do when the same type of incident occurs for other reasons. if they are proven to have more reach & at least several followers or, perhaps, knowing & still hidden accomplices—if there is a group somehow behind what happened—then terrorism is, of course, far more likely. for now, though, this isnt even quite like the old hijackings. there were no political demands, there was no manifesto, there was no taped announcement, there wasnt even a guy w/ two bloody knives in hand talking into a cellphone camera. there was nothing. as it is now, there was only someone who, once again, used religion to justify bad & mad behavior. that is common throughout all earthly time & earthly space. the only difference here, so far redux, is that he took his brother w/ him.

also & unfortunately, i cant say i can still trust what we are told by our government. this has been a long long time coming, at least for me. i hate conspiracy theories, i believe they are used by the established ptb to keep the rabble quiet. but even i cant explain what happened when they shot the guy, the tsarnaev friend, in florida. & although all of the tsarnaev clique’s ancestors might well have been beating mine w/ sticks, still, that does not excuse my government’s behavior. & finding out what yrs, mine, & our government did in that case is way way more necessary doings at this moment than deconstructing glen greenwald.

TimothyLeary says:

I actually agree with the whole first half of your post, in the sense that just because it’s cheap and amoral to criticize the policies of official state enemies doesn’t mean that such criticisms should never be uttered. When asked about Iranian election repression, for example, Chomsky will summarize it as he does any world event. But there’s a difference between answering an interlocutor’s question and proactively writing against such an activity, as if it carries any weight.

Look, I can’t speak for Greenwald. Nor did I ever state that these two men only conduct themselves in a manner so as to never abridge the rule we’re discussing (“it’s most effective and fulfilling to criticize crimes for which you’re responsible.”). But, by and large, their written statements really do conform. Just because Greenwald tweeted something doesn’t negate the fact that nearly ALL of his writings pertain to US policy, US media discourse, or US elites—and then Israel insofar as they relate to those three topics (most often the second). Is there more room for discussion on the Coptic community in Egypt? Sure there is. But just because Glenn tweets something about Myanmar I don’t think is nearly enough evidence to display a precise bias (and seeing as you have Twitter to notice this event, I have to imagine you’re familiar with the type of forum it is and how “off the cuff” tweets often are). Bias, in my experience, can only be accurately displayed with a litany of evidence from proactive written or public statements on a subject, whereby one’s statements or writings continuously invert, distort, or discard principles that they themselves had used or continue to proclaim to use when analyzing and decrying the actions of Others. This is actually a near universal, in any country, when it comes to discussing, say, the right of aggression. No one in their right mind thinks Iran has the right to invade Iraq, but not that long ago here in the US many people had it in their mind that the US was justified in it. That’s a clear violation of the principle: “Aggression against a non-threatening country is wrong.” That’s bias (nationalistic bias, more accurately). Same with arming the Syrian rebels. Can anyone honestly say that if they weren’t fighting against an official enemy (Assad), that the US would be arming al Qaeda-linked rebels? To ask the question is to mock it. If there’s anyone in the public sphere being consistent, with one or two tweets perhaps notwithstanding, it’s Chomsky and Greenwald.

Rick Roberts says:

The thing is, Glenn does not actually feel outrage. He is nothing more than an insecure attention seeker. He has conjured an image of himself as Master Moral Crusader, and he is oh so in love with that image. He can’t simply make an argument and let it stand. When he is challenged in any article or a comment thread or Twitter, you will see him or one of his sock puppets show up to defend The Moral Crusader. This man is an odious little worm. One wonders how his views would change and how he would shriek like a frightened rabbit if it were his own head about to be sawed off by one of these wild-eyed, religious lunatics. They have no love for him, a feminine, Western homosexual. He should invite them to coffee one morning, any morning, and see how it goes.

Rick Roberts says:

Any long response defending Glenn must be viewed as a possible sock puppet. Keep that in mind as you read.

Aloevera says:

Dear Timothy–

I agree with much of what you say–true–one tweet (about Myanmar) does not by itself constitute an inconsistency or bias. And I agree that Chomsky and Greenwald are relatively consistent within the frames they set up for analysis and criticism (however deficient I may find those frames for today’s globalizing situation).

But–both Chomsky and (lately) Greenwald have become high-profile voices, the latter blogging from an internationally high-profile venue (The Guardian)–so–they naturally attract a great deal of attention. Regarding Greenwald specifically: he now has a substantial body of work on which to judge his orientation. I do think that his lack of any attention to some of the travesties committed by America’s other allies in the Mid East (apart from Israel) is problematic. One of Greenwald’s purposes seems to be to alert about-, and correct, what he perceives as double standards in the way we (Americans) reckon what is going on. Fair enough. But there are double standards, dropping like ripe apples from trees, from all sides of the Mid East (and other) disputes among all involved parties. I would like to see others in the MId East held, from time to time, to the same standards of self-criticism for their actions, and same publicly-aired correction for their double standards, as we demand of ourselves. If Greenwald is going to make self-critique a principle to follow–I think that his complete lack of attention to the deficiencies in the following of that principle by our other allies in the MId-East is something af a problem.

Habbgun says:

Well done….I’m guessing Thuggy Bear is a sock puppet given that he defends Greenwald but professes not to know what a sock puppet reference is actually in reference to.

Natan79 says:

Greenwald would say “It’s my fault as a Westerner and Jew” while they make him a shish kebab.

Habbgun says:

Well Natan…..here is the thing…..We both know that a Tea Party crowd would not accept the moral equivalence of a Glenn Greenwald and an Occupy crowd which was praised by mainstream liberals such as Elizabeth Warren would. That is one way I judge who to run with. If you don’t have the courage to examine your own beliefs in light of events do not think that lashing out will be a substitute. The Left is not what you scream it is….it is what it is. If the people I politically identified with turned out to be terror apologists I would change my mind about them. I do so all the time.

Whether you like it or not the Left is resorting to its harder more European roots as economic life gets harder. People of European background are demanding “theirs” and the first place they feel they can get some leverage is in getting their intellectual viewpoint as deemed superior. If you don’t think that is the case then how come so many of these Leftist comments support my point of view and not yours. In politics you need allies. You can’t bark at everybody. I choose to bark at jew-haters and terror apologists and work out my differences with the rest.

Natan79 says:

Pro-terror nonsense. You are an Islamic fascism troll. I lived for years in a Communist country with links to your beloved Islamic Fascism. I know evil first-hand and do not need your stupid lessons. What Communism and Nazism were to the 20th century, Islamism and Communism are to the 21st century. You are clearly on their side. You also are an anti-Semite,

I escaped both types of evil you so much like and I am happy they cannot reach me where I am. I am also happy that US refuses to allow the reach of these bastards – Communists and Islamists like yourself, who hold the power in so many countries.

ibn dirac says:

Poor thing. You are talking to an agnostic. You are being challenged and have a hard time to reconcile your black and white simplistic worldview with anything remotely complex. Sorry for being so harsh on your poor self. I thought you were worthy of a debate. I wish you all the best.

herbcaen says:

The FBI or MI5 should investigate Greenwald. Perhaps Greenwald is inciting Muslims to terror

Aloevera says:

To Garrett:

There is one point that seems to me tantalizing, if frustratingly, unclear–and that is: how useful is blogging and posting comments in the first place? Does any of this–what we are doing here–affect public opinion and more: make for social and political change? I think there is no easy answer to that question. I have seem some bloggers self-reward themselves for little online campaigns they may have waged which, they claim, did lead to a change somewhere outside of the virtual world of online discussion and into real society. Maybe.

I labor under the assumption that all online fare constitutes myriad little streams that feed into the great ocean of public opinion–which may, more probably indirectly and slowly, contribute to change in the social world. Therefore, I think it is generally important to air alternative points of views “out there” in the blogsphere, even when about other countries outside of my own US–because doing so can expose or critique features in other countries that their members are not always carefully “keeping up their ends about”–but which also affect world relations. I try to do both: attend to my country’s untoward doings, as well as those of others.

But–I don’f flatter myself that anything I write specifically (and I am not a prolific poster in the first place) is going to be of great moment in the grand scheme of things. Maybe, what I have to say will make a few readers think anew about something–a very small part of a very large picture.

Garrett says:

Just look at it as the butterfly effect taking place within the marketplace of ideas. I wouldn’t downplay the importance of “making a few readers think about anew about something”. If your opinion is a good one, and you convince one person to agree, then he or she can persuade others, with potentially exponential effects. That may be optimistic, but it’s definitely possible. I’m not saying that it works for me, but I think eventually the truth wins out. That’s the beauty of the internet. Outside of the nonsense, it allows for nuanced discussions that wouldn’t otherwise take place.

Natan79 says:

Just perhaps?

To DrMIKEH49: Why do you support Israel? I am an american and have never supported any other country not my own. I’m not surprised the majority of “american” jews support Israel, or it’s institutions, either-but when you claim the vast majority of other americans do also you go way too far. This is not true. Sure you manipulate politically, and the politicians, some support. Especially if they’re jewish? No doubt. Reading what you wrote makes that clear. The west has declared war on Islamic nations. Any can’t see that, just listen to politicians-they admit it, but use different words to effect the same meaning. We need to change this. A review must take place in the future. Of this country’s support of Israel, and of how people of the Islamic faith are persecuted for being believers of Islam. They are. It’s a matter of the record. You lumped some names together and said they are all guilty of killing country men in the name of ‘allah” yet one named there hasn’t had trial yet, and truly may not be guilty of anything at all. Another instance of a jew taking a stance against one of a faith not supported by Israel. If you only want a relationship with my country for the goodies and favors and power to use for yourself-get out. we don’t want you. Jews have been pulling strings for too long and not to this country’s benefit. We once had pride we earned by our good values and hard work. Then entered into relationships with the likes of Israel and now look at where we are- fighting another war of Israel’s. The war against Islam and muslims-and to what gain? There’s no gain in killing muslims or who’s going to be next? Our homeland Security Emergency Management Training techniques are given directly from Israel. And out go our civil rights and the constitution. Leave DRMIKEH49! Leave!

DrMikeH49 says:

wow, so many classic anti-Semitic tropes at play here!

Let’s start with the basic facts: Americans support Israel, more now than they ever did: http://www.gallup.com/poll/161387/americans-sympathies-israel-match-time-high.aspx. And there are many valid reasons for that– Israel is a democracy in a region full of autocratic or Islamist regimes, Israel supports women’s rights, LGBT rights, minority rights and civil rights in a region where these are almost nonexistent. Americans also understand that the Jewish people, like all other peoples, have the right to national self-determination in their homeland.

Now as to your misconceptions: Islamism (political Islam, that demands the rule of Islam in every land) is at war with the US, with Europe, with Israel and with people of all other faiths. Our gov’t is certainly not persecuting Muslims for exercising their faith, and there are many brave Muslims such as Dr Zuhdi Jasser who speak out against the extremists in his own community. I don’t advocate war against Islam. Nor do I think the US should refuse to defend itself against the hate demonstrated by the murderers I referred to.

And finally to your raw anti-Semitism: are you advocating the ethnic cleansing of Jewish citizens from this country (or at least the ones who are pro-Israel)? My relationship with “your country” is that I am a citizen, with exactly the same rights as you, with exactly the same ability to use my free speech rights to influence the political process, and with the freedom to call out your vile Jew-hatred. Now go back to reading David Duke or Malik Ali or Gilad Atzmon or whatever other racism that you find appealing.

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Habbgun says:

I have lived outside of NYC and I know for a fact that in the US support for Israel is high and most Americans have a dual loyalty. It is a decent loyalty born out of love for what is right in each culture and they appreciate what is right in Israel as well. Most military veterans I’ve met are overwhelmingly pro-Israel especially since unlike the protesters they’ve actually been abroad and to the ME and know the rule conditions.

Besides there is any easy way out of the ME and war for oil. We have energy resources at home. Lets use them!!!! Then we can all agree there will be no war for oil. By why doesn’t the left like that approach?

thuggyBear says:

“Arab on Arab violence. Not a problem, they haven’t said Europeans are superior so we don’t care what happens.

“Homosexuals executed and women in Afghanistan shot for the crime of going to “school” you don’t care. The real issue is European supremacy and you’ll jettison pet causes as soon as their job is done.

“Attacks against Americans. Not a problem.”

Great argument, bro. Too bad no one actually believes these things outside of your fevered imagination. Take another ride around the block on you waaahmbulance. I guess it never runs out of gas.

Just in case I’ve made to big of a jump for you, let me break it down:

I oppose bombing non-combatants and children, regardless of race/nationality. See, I have one set of rules for everybody- and while this might seem like a foreign concept to you, I also believe that other people around the globe have the same feelings and motivations that I do. I also believe that they have the same rights that I do.

You, on the other hand, don’t. You make long, hysterical arguments about the cruelty of governments that wouldn’t exist were it not for Western interference. For instance:

Iran was once a moderate socialist country who had the audacity to nationalize their oil fields. So the US/UK overthrew their democratically elected government and installed the Shah, a terrible, murderous dictator who happened to be friendly to US/UK business interests- oil specifically.

The theocratic crackpots that run the country now would have never been elected had me not installed an even worse (for the Iranians) dictator.

Now, a person who actually believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness knows that these rights of self-determination are not abrogated because you don’t sell oil cheaply enough to the West.

Habbgun says:

Last time we talk to the sock puppet.

You only prove my point. You can only justify yourself with propaganda and agitprop…..if only the West was not guilty of A ….. B would not have happened as if a terrorist can’t and doesn’t have views that constitute C and could justify his actions outside of A and B (in fact the terrorists do….they use Islam as their starting point don’t they).

What you are really saying is despite whatever the terrorist’s professed motives are you see him as a soldier fighting back against A and you are fine with that. That is called terror apology……. especially since if the terrorist was to do the same thing within the Marxist Institute (and Marxists have plenty of crime to answer for) you would not accept it. You would want immediate capture and prosecution.

Don’t tell me you are above it all because at some point there has to be law enforcement for the protection of innocents and that will always be imperfect. You will never accept law enforcement except by a government that specifically features the people and goals you specifically want it to reflect. That is why you continually use agitprop.

And by the way we can get out of the ME by using alternate energy sources and that is the best solution, isn’t it?

thuggyBear says:

I’ll talk to you as long as continue to blabber amusingly.

Which part of what I said was propaganda? Did the US not back the Shah’s coup? Yes, we did.

Was the Ayatolla in power before we installed the Shah? No, he was not.

Is it unreasonable to expect people to be hostile to foreign countries deposing their democratically elected governments? No, it is not.

Am I using word that are too big? I’m trying to help you out.

joey_c says:

“when the US and its allies carry out these killings in clear and recognized warzones, they wear uniforms to identify themselves as combatants”

Yeah, because the people who have been killed by the US and its coalition partners in air strikes under the redefinition of ” ‘militant’ to mean ‘any military-aged male in a strike zone’ ” have been able to see the USAF logos on the drones, or the uniforms of the guys piloting the drones, right?

joey_c says:

“I have lived outside of NYC and I know for a fact that in the US support
for Israel is high and most Americans have a dual loyalty.”

The plural of anecdote is not data.

joey_c says:

From what I’ve seen of your comments, anyone who doesn’t agree with you is “an Islamic fascism collaborator”.

You claimed in another comment to be happy to live in the US after having lived part of your life in a “Communist country with links to… Islamic Fascism.”

I have news for you – in the US we try to disagree with each other without insisting that those who disagree with us must be fascists.

thuggyBear says:

My point of view (that non-combatants and children should not be killed in drone strikes) is consistent with British anti-semitic authors you like to read?

Your arguments are totally awesome, bro.

Beatrix17 says:

Obviously, the first.

Beatrix17 says:

Greenwald is actually an empty-headed bozo, but the same thing has happened on Tablet as happened at Salon where he used to have a column. Greenwald would make a brief, meaningless remark and there would be 600 fervent responses. The very hollowness of his thought allowed others to read into his statements whatever they wished and his column actually consisted of his readers ideas and their arguments with each other. Everyone thought Greenwald was brilliant and he was always invited on political talk shows. Now he works for the Guardian and lives in Brazil. They have a lot of parrots there, don’t they?

John Salisbury says:

You mean there were warning sirens in Dubai?

Thad Z. says:

Mr. Novetsky, you are far too simplistic. I see this as a regular issue whenever someone criticizes the neocon view (which you apparently subscribe to), so let’s try to discuss this without a broad brush, shall we?

Issue 1: Anyone who stayed behind in Fallujah automatically declared themselves a combatant (in reference to how America’s military could be seen as terrorizing in Iraq).

Really? So, families who didn’t want to leave their homes at the gunpoint of a foreign army declared themselves the enemy of that army? You know who used that logic? The German armies in WWI and WWII as they invaded Belgium. It’s astonishing that you would use that formulation. I’m not saying America’s military acted in the same fashion, but your argument certainly would support such tactics.

Issue 2: There is a large difference between blaming Jews and blaming Israel for (X/Y/Z). I am a supporter of Israel, and while I am a Christian, I have gone to services with friends at a nearby synagogue. However, my support for Israel is tempered by the fact that right-wing ideologues have, when in power, done many things that are NOT beneficial to Israel. Slow-pacing a peace agreement, which thereby enrages Palestinians, then clamping down on them, leading to violence, and then using that violence to justify further clampdowns is morally and legally wrong. Netanyahu and Sharon have visited a great many wounds upon Israel, chief amongst them violating agreements that might’ve meant everlasting peace for the nation. Furthermore, the continued building of more settlements in area designated for Palestinians under the peace agreements is another hostile act.

Do you, Mr. Novetsky, believe it’s okay for Israel to continue to abuse its relationship with its sponsor nation (America) and to abrogate agreements its leaders signed 20 years ago? Do you think, perhaps, that this just might anger people? While violence is not justified in response, certainly not against innocent people, one cannot deny it is a prime motivator for the BEHAVIOR of those committing the violence. Greenwald is not defending the violence, but he’s explaining the reasoning behind it, however heinous it might be.

Issue 3: Our constant drone attacks in multiple sovereign nations is a terrible precedent for America, Israel, and the rest of the Western world. We are claiming the right to be the world’s policemen here in America, and when someone decides to return the favor, we’re going to end up going to war over it, because we set the precedent. It’s terrible behavior that should’ve stopped ages ago. We’re giving every enemy of ours a casus belli. Is that what you want?

Attacking someone for speaking an unpleasant truth is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and pretending to not hear anything that isn’t in line with your worldview. It is a phenomenally stupid way to act, and I don’t think you’re stupid, you’re just choosing to act that way.

Beatrix17 says:

Not even close. Terrorism is killing innocent people to make a political point. Assassination of an individual designing bombs to destroy you is an act of war. If you assassinated an innocent person who worked at the hotel in order to make a point about people who make bombs, that would be terrorism.

Drones strikes that harm innocent civilians are more problematic, as is sabotage. European countries invaded by Hitler had to deal with the fact that sabotage of a train that harmed the Nazis would also harm their countrymen on the train. And since the last century, pilots have known that bombs dropped on the enemy will also kill civilians.

The difference between collateral damage and terrorism is intention.

John Salisbury says:

King David Hotel.

thuggyBear says:

Do you think your comment makes sense? What did I accuse America of doing? And are you offering other examples of British Imperialism as an argument against British Imperialism?

The US/UK installed the Shah into power. This isn’t an accusation. This actually happened. Nobody claims otherwise, unless Michele Bachmann said it after saying that the Founding Fathers worker tirelessly to get rid of slavery.

thuggyBear says:

@Natan79:disqus , if you are accusing me of siding with terrorists against America, I should once again quote Greenwald:

“To use the example recently provided by former CIA agent Barry Eisler in his brilliant explanation of “blowback”, if Person X walks up to Person Y on the street and spits in his face, and Person Y then pulls out a gun and shoots Person X in the head and kills him in retaliation, one can observe that Person X’s spitting was a causal factor in Person Y’s behavior without remotely justifying Person Y’s lethal violence. One can point out that a potential cost of walking up to people on the street and spitting in their face is that they are likely to respond with similar or worse aggression – and that this is one reason not to engage in such behavior – without justifying or legitimizing the response that is provoked and without denying (or even minimizing) the agency or blame of the person who responds.”

Beatrix17 says:

Absolutely terrorist. No one said Israel has never committed terrorism. Or America. Two atomic bombs. Who can beat that?

slev09 says:

“Speculating as to the causes of an act of terrorism does not imply you sympathize with the perpetrators.”

Oh, you can see both sides of the issue? STOP SUPPORTING HAMAS YOU ANTI-SEMITE.

That’s what I have to deal with constantly as someone who thinks critically and sees both sides (and attempts to remove my bias) as part of the Jewish community.

slev09 says:

International law sheltered Eichmann. Ignore international law and just start killing people willy nilly because we’re ‘murica

slev09 says:

This is rich. I’m a jew and I can’t help with agree with this guy’s points. Part of the reason I rarely comment online is trolls like you who accuse anyone who is critical of America as being an Islamic fascism troll.

Expanding on Garrett’s original post, because you criticize US foreign policy in the middle east does not mean you are running guns to Hamas. Bullshit dichotomy is Bullshit, there IS a middle ground.

Bayou Boogie says:

“Anytime there is a terrorist attack, Glenn Greenwald is there to tell us it’s our fault.” That is not only a statement you would expect a 9 year old to say (“it’s our fault”) but is a gross misrepresentation of what Greenwald ACTUALLY means. He is saying that the U.S. actions in the Middle East and elsewhere over DECADES have spawned a hatred for the U.S. and – therefore – a culture of vengeful people intent on ‘Pay Back.’ For instance, the hatred Iranians have for us began in 1953 when “our” CIA (with the help of British Intelligence) concocted a ‘coup’ which overthrew the democratically-elected President Mossadegh who was replaced by the blood-thirsty U.S. puppet Shah Reza Pahlavi. The Iranian revolution was the result of years of authoritarian rule, and ever since then the U.S. has been tweaking the nose of the Iranians (not to mention outright acts of war like the downing of Iran Air 655 which murdered 290 innocent men, women, and children, the arming and goading of Iraq to attack Iran which killed at least 500,000 Iranians, the incessant clandestine attempts to wreak havoc inside Iran’s infrastructure, murder its scientists, disrupt its legal nuclear power program, and make continual claims of (non-existant) “Nuclear Weapons” manufacturing, et al, etc.). Try getting the facts straight next time, or just relieve yourself of any further comments which prove you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

Lily Alldub says:

“Why Greenwald must look to famously controversial tactics employed in World War II–a war fought over sixty years–when he claims to have available the vast majority of violent acts undertaken by the US and its allies over the last decade as examples of terrorism is, likewise, unclear.”

Its because he is an actual card-carrying Nazi.
http://www.germanywatch.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/guardian-greenwald-who-released.html

Hi,

Fantastic read. Thank you very much. Keeping anon as I’ve been attacked on numerous occasions for speaking out against Greenwald.

Any chance of a link to the original article?

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Glenn Greenwald Terrorizes Logic

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