I used to make great sport of Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and his idiotic rantings against Bush, conservatives, Republicans, and individual bloggers he would attack irrationally. There is no one on the internet who exaggerates more, takes what someone writes or says completely and dishonestly out of context more often, or sets up larger strawmen - knocking them down with the kind of feverish frenzy one might see in a 14 year old drama queen.
His over the top, hysterical warnings about the imminent demise of American democracy, his one dimensional take on everything from the war to same sex marriage, and his insufferable, loutish, smugly self righteous attitude figured to be just too tempting a target for many of us who see in him the epitome of netroots hypocrisy and stupidity.
But it got boring after a while to pillory Greenwald because he was so predictable. This is why he largely goes unchallenged these days; people are just too busy with other, more important matters, than going through one of his 3,000 word rants and calling him out for the lies, the exaggerations, the deliberate twisting of intent, and other grevious sins that is this sock puppet’s stock in trade.
Occasionally, however, the urge comes upon me to try to set the record straight. It may seem vainglorious for me to think that anything I write on my little blog matters a whit in the larger scheme of things - even in so insignificant a matter as Glenn Greenwald and his latest smears against those with which he disagrees. But winding up and throwing a haymaker toward Greenwald’s jaw - in a literary sense - is nevertheless a quite satisfying exercise emotionally and I will therefore indulge myself as I desperately need some spiritual uplift following the decline and fall of My Beloved Bears last week.
Greenwald has written perhaps the most dishonest, ignorant, deliberately deceptive piece on the War against Hamas that has yet been penned. And given the tripe that’s been vomiting forth from sites like The Nation and Firedoglake, that is a truly remarkable achievement.
Greenwald is a liar. Either that or he is so oblivious to facts, reason, and logic that he must experience life on the level of a two year old. How else would you describe his opening to this anti-Israeli screed that drips with venomous hatred against his political enemies:
This Rasmussen Reports poll — the first to survey American public opinion specifically regarding the Israeli attack on Gaza — strongly bolsters the severe disconnect I documented the other day between (a) American public opinion on U.S. policy towards Israel and (b) the consensus views expressed by America’s political leadership. Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally “are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip” (44-41%, with 15% undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive — by a 24-point margin (31-55%). By stark constrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign (62-27%).
The smear written here - so casually made - that “as one would expect” (as if everyone were as intellectually dishonest as Greenwald), Republicans have a “history” of supporting “any proposed attacks on Arabs or Muslims.” What history might that be? A favorite Greenwaldian subterfuge is to throw as many charges against his enemies just to see if any stick. This one’s a biggie, of course.He is saying that all Republicans are bigots and hate Muslims and Arabs - without one single example or any evidence to support his wild, unsupported lie.
No, very few people “expect” Republicans to act in such a bigoted manner - especially 62% of them - except Greenwald and his ilk whose exaggerated sense of disproportion allows them to posit all kinds of evil without offering a scintilla of proof. Supporting wars against Saddam Hussein and the Taliban for reasons of national security is not the same as hating Muslims so much that Republicans relish the thought of killing them. The fact that I have to point this out would seem silly to most rational people except Greenwald apparently believes it - or is a liar.
It would also be relevant point out that while Democrats and liberals were willing to allow Muslims to be slaughtered in Bosnia and Kosovo, it was Republican support that allowed a Democratic president to go to war against orthodox Christian Serbia and save them. Does that mean that liberals hate Muslims because they didn’t mind seeing them murdered and raped? In Greenwald’s world, yes.
If possible, this statement is even more dishonest:
It’s not at all surprising, then, that Republican leaders — from Dick Cheney and John Bolton to virtually all appendages of the right-wing noise machine, from talk radio and Fox News to right-wing blogs and neoconservative journals — are unquestioning supporters of the Israeli attack. After all, they’re expressing the core ideology of the overwhelming majority of their voters and audience.
What “core ideology” is that Mr. Greenwald? The subtext is, we assume, the same as above; that the GOP hates Arabs and Muslims. And where in God’s name did this worthless dreck of a human being come up with the idea that the “overwhelming majority” of Republican voters and audience hates Muslims?
It might be interesting to have Mr. Greenwald link to the poll that shows that the “overwhelming majority” of Republicans buy the “core ideology” of bigotry and hate against Muslims and Arabs. It is this kind of deliberate smear that Greenwald gets away with for the simple reason no one takes the time (or wastes it) in responding.
This calumny is not your run of the mill political mud wrestling where eye gouging and leg twisting is done with relish and opponents end up covering themselves in manure when all is said and done. This is the world according to Glenn Greenwald - a very special place where simply having him say that up is down, black is white, and the “overwhelming majority” of Republicans are bigots makes it so.
Note I have not called Greenwald an “anti-Semite” for opposing Israel’s war of survival against an enemy whose public policy toward their neighbor is total destruction. You can be an idiot without being a hater. But his selective outrage against Israel (and tepid, pro-forma objections to Hamas’s cruel barrage of rockets targeting civilians in Israel) is indicative of someone without moral awareness. Is he deceiving us or himself? A good question that too many on the left - lacking the desire for introspection as they do - fail to ask themselves.
But what really has Greenwald’s panties in a twist is the fact that American political leaders of both parties have, for the most part, taken Israel’s side in the War:
Ultimately, what is most notable about the “debate” in the U.S. over Israel-Gaza is that virtually all of it occurs from the perspective of Israeli interests but almost none of it is conducted from the perspective of American interests. There is endless debate over whether Israel’s security is enhanced or undermined by the attack on Gaza and whether the 40-year-old Israeli occupation, expanding West Bank settlements and recent devastating blockade or Hamas militancy and attacks on Israeli civilians bear more of the blame. American opinion-making elites march forward to opine on the historical rights and wrongs of the endless Israeli-Palestinian territorial conflict with such fervor and fixation that it’s often easy to forget that the U.S. is not actually a direct party to this dispute.
As Israel’s biggest and best ally and virtual guarantor of their existence, of course we have an abiding interest in the conflict. The wonder is that Greenwald evidently feels sticking a knife in the back of your ally while she is fighting for her life by condemning this bomb going off in the wrong place or that bullet not hitting its intended target is just fine. Better yet, take the morally reprehensible position of a “pox on both your houses” and condemn everybody. That way, you can do away with the only democracy in the Middle East as an ally and simply treat them as we might look upon Sierra Leone or Gabon.
When one’s moral compass goes in a circle and taking the “out” that the survival of an ally is none of your business might be satisfying from an ideological standpoint but is hardly practical or even desirable. Taking sides in a war is a necessary evil when it comes right down to it. The US is not Sweden or Switzerland, although Greenwald might prefer that kind of “neutrality” to the sort of practical realization that the survival of Israel is important to the US national interest.
Whew! Remind me not to ask Greenwald to be an ally.
The rank deceitfulness of Greenwald is really getting tiresome. The idea that this ignorant hypocrite - as ignorant and hypocritical as any right winger he wants to name - has been given such a big megaphone at Salon would be incomprehensible except when you realize that his followers among the netroots are equally obtuse and perfidious when it comes to attacking their political and ideological enemies.
With that kind of devoted following, he’ll probably grab a Pulitzer someday.