Archive for ‘Glenn Greenwald’

June 10, 2009

Pot, Meet Kettle

It requires an astonishing lack of self-awareness for Glenn Greenwald to write stuff like this:

But this is the right-wing movement at its core: its leaders cynically ratchet up fear levels as high as possible to justify whatever they want to do (invade Iraq, torture people, spy on Americans with no warrants) and their adherents (along with plenty of others) become more and more paralyzed by their fears of anything Muslim. . . .
As damaging as the resulting policies has been from the last eight years of constant fear-mongering, far worse is what it has done to the American national character, turning much of the citizenry into a weak and easily frightened herd, where the mere mention of the word Terrorist — or Muslim — sends people into spasms of fear and blind submission.

And there’s much more in that vein. Greenwald and others on the Left, of course, have spent the past eight years engaged in “contant fear-mongering” of their own, except instead of Muslim terrorists, the Left’s bogeymen are Republicans.

So far, however, American airliners aren’t being hijacked and flown into skyscrapers by Republicans.

February 20, 2009

Glenn Greenwald: ‘No anti-Semite could possibly hate me worse than I hate myself’

Well, that’s the subconscious meaning of his latest column in his ongoing effort to win the Nobel Prize in literature with his wicked satire of a stereotypical self-hating Jew.

Now, I am friends with some of the writers Greenwald names as contributors to The American Conservative, a publication to which I have twice contributed myself. I understand well what a world of evil is involved in the business of denouncing as anti-Semites all critics of Israel, all critics of U.S.-Israeli relations and all critics of U.S. Middle East policy. The world is more complex than that.

David Frum has recently expressed regret that he and others paid insufficient heed to Iraq war skeptics, but he’s never apologized for his “Unpatriotic Conservatives” smear that impugned Bob Novak among others. Oh, that the Bush administration had included some of those “unpatriotic” voices, to counterbalance the “Cakewalk Ken” Adelmans!

Some would accuse Frum of having been biased on the issue of the Iraq war because he is Jewish and Saddam Hussein was hostile to Israel. Frum would naturally be expected to defend himself as having been concerned only with U.S. interests, and to argue that our alliance with Israel furthers U.S. interests. Many other Americans, Jew and Gentile alike, believe the same thing. The arguments for and against that position have been expounded at great length. That is not a debate I wish to revisit here and now.

What I do want to say is this: If Frum were pro-Israel purely because he himself is Jewish, such a sentiment would be entirely healthy, normal and defensible. I expect Sean Hannity to care more for Ireland than for Iceland, and I expect Barack Obama to care more for Kenya than for Cambodia. The Jew who is proudly Jewish, the Arab who is proudly Arab — these are men I admire and understand, even if I wish their ancient quarrels didn’t continually result in hatred, murder and wars that cause me to pay more for a gallon of gasoline.

By God, I remember when gas was 39 cents a gallon and I believe in my heart that if the descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac could live in peace, we would get back to 39 cents a gallon again. (Providing, of course, President Palin’s first executive order in 2013 is to round up the environmentalist nitwits and ship them to Gitmo, where they belong.)

On the other hand, if some of the more atavistic descendants of Ishmael continue vowing to kill every Jew they can get their hands on, then it behooves every Jew with any sense of honor to respond: War to the knife, and knife to the hilt.

When you’re a Jet, you’re Jet all the way. Certainly American Jews can disagree over the wisdom of Israeli policy, considering that the Israelis disagree amongst themselves. But to denounce Israel as guilty of “terrorism” for responding forcefully to repeated rocket and mortar attacks by those Hamas thugs in Gaza, to denounce Marty Peretz’s defense of Israel as “uniquely despicable” — this is what Greenwald has done, and in so doing has covered himself with dishonor.

The effect of Greenwald’s discourse is that Israel can undertake no meaningful action against her enemies without being condemned in similar terms. If it were within Greenwald’s power to enforce his policy preferences, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and every other half-baked cabal of terrorist crackpots would be able to kill Jews with impunity.

The terrorists have no intent or purpose — no political philosophy or policy aim — that cannot be summed up in two words: Kill Jews.

If Glenn Greenwald can’t see that, he’s blind. And if he sees it, but would deny Israel the right to fight back against genocidal hatred, he’s perverse.

But perhaps I’ve told you something you already knew.

UPDATE: Greenwald (who’s obviously got Google alerts for all his sockpuppet pseudonyms) accuses me of “trite little condemnations so predictable and over-used that one almost falls asleep reading them,” while mocking as “adolescent” Jeffrey Goldberg’s response:

[H]e knows that I’m not a revanchist Zionist, but falsely accuses me of being one anyway. What a putz.

Does that make me a “revanchist Zionist” or what? Swear to God, if they ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be “forward march” and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order “about face” would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.

That’s my “Middle East peace plan,” and until it’s carried out, there will be no peace.

UPDATE II: Excuse my extremism, but if you’re going to conquer the land, by God, conquer the land. This was kind of the point of my citing Sherman in response to Greenwald during the Gaza war. The South, really, should be grateful that men like Grant and Sherman finally determined to win the war. Otherwise, the headlines would still be all about the latest “incident” in Nashville or the “uprising” in Charleston, with the United Nations dithering about whether to impose sanctions and crap like that.

While I’m opposed to federal tyranny — and boreal supremacy — you cannot end hostilities fighting by half-measures. A hard war brings a more durable peace. Notice that the Comanches haven’t scalped any settlers lately?

UPDATE III: “Words fail.” — Andrew Sullivan.
UPDATE IV: Under Rule 2, I’m required to link Donald Douglas at American Power., who is the actual neocon chickenhawk Sully’s readers think I am. In fact, I’m just nucking futz, but if you ever hear the Knesset debating whether a Gentile could be prime minister . . . Dude, it’s only a hypothetical. Even Likud would never be that crazy.
UPDATE V: Noted Middle East policy scholar E.D. Kain finds me suffering from “both an inherent lack of understanding regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, and an unhealthy degree of bloody, American-made machismo.” Look, E.D., no need to be so coy. If you want to see the notorious Speedo pic, just say so.

UPDATE VI: As someone pointed out in the comments, I did not win the Malkin Award, but was merely nominated. True. You’ve got to admit, though, The Peace Through Total Annihilation Plan sets the bar pretty high. So I’ve ordered my gown from Bob Mackie and am practicing my acceptance speech (“I’d like to thank the Academy . . .”) in anticipation of the star-studded gala.

Earned my own Memeorandum thread, “Links of the Day” honors at Kingdom of Idiots, “Quote du Jour” at Alas a Blog, and Moe Lane weighs in:

Remind them about their new pro-torture stance! That’s always good for extra spittle.

Moe’s blog-fu is impressive.

UPDATE VII: Welcome Instapundit readers! What Professor Reynolds may not realize is that if they let me be prime minister, he’ll be my defense minister. But first he’s got to get himself one of those cool Moshe Dayan eye patches. Because chicks dig that. (And if anybody wants to hit the tip jar, be my guest!)

February 1, 2009

Thanks to the two Glenns

Y’know, I’m starting to wonder if maybe Glenn Greenwald is actually a sockpuppet created by Glenn Reynolds for the purpose of ginning up fantastic traffic with pass-the-popcorn flame-wars.

This suspicion was inspired by reflecting on my January traffic figures when, after three months of declining readership — “Sarah Palin bikini picsGoogle traffic began fading in October — the SiteMeter bounced up to a respectable 117K visitors for January. The spike was largely due to the Gaza war between Reynolds and Greenwald.

You think the Gaza war was between the IDF and Hamas? That’s what they want you to think.

In fact, Israel invaded Gaza merely to give Greenwald an excuse to scream “war crimes!” And let’s face it: He doesn’t need much excuse. He allegedly once demanded that the Hague investigate a particularly spirited field-hockey game between St. Elizabeth’s Academy and Westfield Prep.

Some sources say “Glenn Greenwald” is actually a 52-year-old Republican housewife/real-estate broker in Connecticut named Janice Smythe whose hobby is over-the-top parodies of the sort of ACLU/Greenpeace twerp who still sports the faded remains of a Dukakis-Bentsen bumper sticker on his one-owner ’87 Volvo. Smythe, an anti-Semitic homophobe, reportedly created “Greenwald” as a vicious satire of self-hating gay progressive Jews.

Or at least, so “sources say.” My hunch is that these sources are lying, and that in fact Glenn Reynolds created “Greenwald” as a sort of strawman doppelganger, a convenient punching bag for his rhetorical jabs, who also functions as a clandestine pseudonym through which he collects a check from the putzes who run (How did I arrive at this startling conclusion? It was when Reynolds explained that he is actually Mycroft.)

So what you might be tempted to think is a brutal blood feud between Reynolds and Greenwald may be no more genuine than the 1980 Shea Stadium match between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.

Layers . . .
January 22, 2009

Greenwald vs. ‘abject ignorance’?

“There are times when the glaring ignorance one encounters from people who are paid to write about political issues is so severe — so illustrative of how distorted and misleading our political discourse is — that it’s impossible to ignore even though one would really like to.”
Glenn Greenwald

There are times when a writer so compulsively over-dramatizes everything — hypes it up so relentlessly with words like “severe” and “impossible” — that one must struggle to resist the temptation to think of him as a histrionic stereotype.

Such temptation is especially difficult to resist when the object of Greenwald’s ire is not, say, Donald Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney, but rather the mild-mannered libertarian blogger, Megan McArdle, whose Crimes Against Humanity are (a) to ask a very sensible question about Gitmo detainees, and (b) to get linked by Instapundit for doing so. (Reynolds is to Greenwald as Moriarity was to Holmes.)

Glenn, think about: Do you really want to pick a fight with the Giant Blog Woman? She’s bigger than Godzilla, and you’ll be like Tokyo.

UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter who points out this previous BloggingHeadsTV exchange between Greenwald and McArdle:

I’m watching this video and severely disliking Glenn’s arguments for requiring journalists to report this, that or the other. With the sole exception of libel law — and American libel law is stacked in favor of the defendant — I don’t want government requiring journalists to do anything. We can complain all we want about the quality, amount and content of journalism (and I do), but government compulsion in journalism is frightening.

UPDATE II: All your Instalanches are belong to us. For the benefit of readers who are not Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans, Mycroft Holmes is Sherlock’s older brother, “the most indispensable man in the country.” (This may be arcana, but some fans say that Myrcroft’s wife, Dr. Helen Holmes, was the hottest babe in fin de siecle London.)

UPDATE III: In the comments, someone calling themselves “Glenn Greenwald” writes:

[P]lease identify a single instance where, either in that video or anywhere else, I’ve ever advocated that the state impose obligations on journalists. I don’t and haven’t.

All righty, then. I don’t want to transcribe the entire video, but here are a couple of sentences of what Greenwald said to Megan about “public interest” in journalism:

“I see journalism as a profession like the medical profession or the legal profession, where going into work every day and thinking about, ‘How do I maximize my profits? How do I feed my readers whatever they want so I can charge as much as I want for commercials?’ is not the only concern. There are other concerns that conflict with that, and I think the law gives privileges, special privileges, to journalism, to journalists, in every single possible realm that’s based upon the assumption, the premise that journalism owes a duty to the public interest besides maximizing profit.”

OK, the medical and legal professions are both licensed by the state, correct? Not just anyone can hang up a shingle and declare himself a surgeon. And what, pray tell, are these “special privileges . . . in every possible realm” accorded to journalists? If I get a speeding ticket on my way to an assignment (it happens), can I go to court and say, “Your honor, I am a journalist,” and expect the charge to be dismissed? No.

Greenwald seems to imply — excuse me if I don’t fully grasp his entire argument — that the legal privileges (he says are) accorded to journalists might be made contingent on their acting in “the public interest.” Well, who is to be the judge of “the public interest”? Me? Megan? Glenn?

If Greenwald feels that the press corps as a whole is not doing a bang-up job, he’s got a lot of company (including the editors of most newspapers and magazines). But when he compares the practice of journalism to law and medicine (both state-licensed professions), and speaks disparagingly of the profit motive, excuse my paranoia in discerning the implied threat of a Federal Bureau of Journalism looking over my shoulder.

I’ve got no more “privileges” than Greenwald has, and I’m sure that his affiliation with Salon would be plenty enough to get credentialed as a reporter, if that’s what he wants to do. He can go and do all the eat-your-vegetables journalism he wants — or at least as much as Salon is willing to pay for.

That’s just it, however: Somebody’s got to pay for all this reporting, and as long as the bill is paid by publishers dependent on ad revenue, the incentives of the market will prevail. From all the baleful headlines I see about the newspaper industry, it certainly doesn’t appear to me that publishers are guilty of paying excessive attention to market demand. If a newspaper doesn’t make a profit, it won’t do much good to demand they serve “the public interest” once they’re bankrupt and out of business.

UPDATE IV: The Case of the Tortured Analogy, wherein I find myself accused of likening Glenn Greenwald to Sherlock Holmes. What I intended, of course, was to suggest that (in the Greenwaldian mind) Professor Reynolds is a shadowy menace like Moriarity, the evidence of whose evil handiwork is . . . everywhere.

The Doyle reader will recall how relentlessly Holmes pursues Moriarity. This relentlessness occurred to mind as I pondered how Greenwald can’t go two days without lashing out at his nemesis Reynolds — which I think is just hunky-dory, BTW, since I end up getting ‘Lanched for posts mocking Greenwald. (How do I maximize my profits?)

January 15, 2009

The Greenwaldian style

“Tom Friedman, one of the nation’s leading propagandists for the Iraq War and a vigorous supporter of all of Israel’s wars . . .”

See? It’s the label that does the trick. Whatever Friedman’s argument, and whatever Glenn Greenwald’s argument against Friedman, where the real brilliance of Greenwaldism comes into play is in his inerrant sense of his readership’s attitude.

Iraq War = Bush/Cheney = neocon = Republican . . . and it’s showtime for the Greenwald Fan Club, cheering as heroic Glenn does battle with The Forces of Darkness.

Israel’s engagement with Hamas and Hezbollah is a very different thing than the U.S. excursion into Iraq. But this is not how Greenwald wants his reader to think, so he begins by identifying Friedman in the reader’s mind as a Bush/Cheney/AIPAC/neocon warmonger, ensuring that his readership — whom he knows the way Barry Manilow knows the old ladies in his Vegas audiences — will identify Friedman as a villain.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter what Friedman actually argues (in fact, he argues that Israel can tolerate Hamas sovereignty over Gaza, provided that Hamas will seriously enforce a ceasefire), the Greenwaldized reader will reject the argument because, after all, it’s coming from someone whom heroic Glenn has pre-identified as The Enemy.

Friedman is, so far as I can tell, offering a liberal argument for a negotiated peace, but Greenwald makes him out to be an apologist for war crimes. The Greenwaldized reader imagines heroic Glenn as Richard Widmark in Judgment at Nuremburg and Friedman’s part played by Werner Klemperer.

It is necessary that Friedman be darkly evil in order that Greenwald’s brilliant goodness might shine brighter by comparison, because the celebration of Greenwald’s brilliant goodness is the entire point of this drama, and the specific realities of the current Middle East situation are only so many stage props in the matinee. Excuse me if my seat is empty after the first intermission.

January 10, 2009

Glenn Greenwald’s convenient memory

Talking about Bill Moyers:

Moyers worked in Lyndon Johnson’s White House when Johnson escalated the Vietnam War, and was Johnson’s Press Secretary for much of that time (from 1965-1967). His views of bombing campaigns of civilian populations are undoubtedly shaped by that experience.

Funny you should mention “bombing,” Glenn. Moyers was the slimy hatchetman who made the Vietnam disaster possible, with the infamous “Daisy” ad. Documents from the Johnson archives clearly establish Moyers’ responsibility for one of the most dishonest libels in the history of American politics, and Moyers pronounced the ad “wonderful.”

Remember the context: The Johnson campaign of 1964, in which Moyers played a key role, smeared Goldwater as a reckless warmonger and portrayed LBJ as a man of peace, even as Johnson was planning the “escalation” in Vietnam.

Moyers lied, 58,000 died.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers. Also linked by Frog March at LGF. Thanks.

UPDATE II: An anonymous commenter attempts some revisionism on behalf of Moyers. You forget that I’ve lived in the DC area for years, and have heard hours and hours of C-SPAN Radio’s broadcasts of the LBJ White House tapes, which make abundantly clear what kind of ass-kissing toady Moyers was.

It is worthwhile to contrast Moyers’ conduct with with that of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who quit the White House in 1965 rather than continue working for Johnson, whereas Moyers stayed until 1967. It is not as if LBJ were a historical cipher. He was an arrogant bully, domineering and manipulative, and Moyers was “his boy.” Moynihan refused to be LBJ’s boy.

Moyers (like certain members of more recent administrations) has labored diligently to depict his own White House as all honor and glory. If, four decades from now, Michael Gerson is widely celebrated as an eminence grise of journalism, perhaps Bill Moyers will be owed an apology. But not before.

January 4, 2009

Greenwald vs. Goldfarb

UPDATED & BUMPED: Ace of Spades weighs in:

The idiot Sullivan even calls Greenwald “fearless” for taking an anti-Israel position which not only won’t lose him any readers, but is common wisdom among the liberal establishment.

Read the whole thing. I borrowed Ace’s shtick today and got an Instalanche with it, so if you don’t read the whole thing, the terrorists win.

UPDATED (AGAIN): Reliapundit delivers a barrage of facts with Black Hawk minigun ferocity.

PREVIOUSLY: Glenn Greenwald today accuses Michael Goldfarb of bloodthirstiness in the death of Nizar Ghayan (or Nizar Rayan, as some have it). Goldfarb’s offending post was not a mindless advocacy of violence, but rather a reflection on the fundamental difficulty of fighting a fanatical enemy:

The fight against Islamic radicals always seems to come around to whether or not they can, in fact, be deterred, because it’s not clear that they are rational, at least not like us. But to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause. Perhaps it will make the leadership of Hamas rethink the wisdom of sparking an open confrontation with Israel under the current conditions. Or maybe not, and the only way to stop Hamas is to eliminate its capacity for violence entirely. Or Israeli leaders can just try to find a diplomatic solution — as a majority of Democrats apparently favor. It worked so well with the last cease fire.

The notion that the obliteration of Ghayan’s entire family might “give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause” is enough to inspire 1,500 words of Greenwaldian gibberish, including a shot at Glenn Reynolds for displaying a “wretched mindset” by suggesting that the Israelis are “civilized people and not barbarians.” One mercifully brief slice of moonbat pie:

If you see Palestinians as something less than civilized human beings: as “barbarians” — just as if you see Americans as infidels warring with God or Jews as sub-human rats — then it naturally follows that civilian deaths are irrelevant, perhaps even something to cheer. For people who think that way, arguments about “proportionality” won’t even begin to resonate — such concepts can’t even be understood — because the core premise, that excessive civilian deaths are horrible and should be avoided at all costs, isn’t accepted. Why should a superior, civilized, peaceful society allow the welfare of violent, hateful barbarians to interfere with its objectives? How can the deaths or suffering of thousands of barbarians ever be weighed against the death of even a single civilized person?

Wait a minute: Who is ultimately responsible for the plight of Gazans? Has it been non-stop misery since 1967? Or at some point over the past four decades, did the Palestinians in Gaza actually have a better life under Israeli occupation than they have had under Hamas rule?

This war was not caused by any genocidal ambition of the Israelis, but by the genocidal ambition of Hamas. Excuse me for repeating myself:

You cannot negotiate with a shark. To the extent that Hamas represents any coherent political philosophy, that philosophy can be summed up in two words: Kill Jews.

And, to further repeat myself, the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas by a landslide majority. The Gazans fully intended that there should be consequences to their election of genocidal terrorist leaders and their only disappointment is that the consequences are not (yet) what they intended, namely the death of every Jew in Israel.

You will perhaps be surprised (or perhaps not) that Greenwald imagines it is supporters of Israel who need a lecture about “excessive tribalistic identification.” Sending suicide bombers to obliterate Shiri Negari and 18 other passengers on bus 32A — that’s not “excessive,” eh?

UPDATE: “Jihad to its maximum degree” — Right. Like they haven’t been trying hard enough to slaughter the infidels. There is kind of a “Black Knight” quality to this.

UPDATE II: Fausta Wertz has a post showing how the genocidal Hamas mentality has spread to the streets of America. “Death To All Juice!”

UPDATE III: At NRO, Gregory McNeal notes that IAF is delivering phone warnings to targets, compared to the 15 seconds of “Code Red” warnings for Israeli civilians targeted by Hamas:

Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom has related thoughts.

UPDATE IV: The Times of London:

Israeli troops fought heavy battles with Hamas fighters in two densely populated Gaza towns today as the Army sought to split the strip into three sections to cut off the Islamist group’s supply lines. . . .
The Israeli strategy of splitting Gaza into north, central and southern sections mirrors a similar tactic employed when settlers used to come under attack in the strip.
It enables the military to stop Gaza City being supplied from the south, stops Hamas movements and gives troops distinct areas to clear.
Israeli troops also took up positions in the old Jewish settlement of Netzarim which controls the main north-south road.

Hmmm. It’s almost as if the Times were suggesting that Israel’s erstwhile policy of territorial settlement was vital to the embattled nation’s self-defense. Nah, couldn’t be . . .

UPDATE V: A pro-Israel rally . . in France? Somewhere, a French intellectual is muttering to himself, “If only we could have kept the Vichy for another few months . . .”

UPDATE VI: MK Ham: “The Guardian is now eulogizing terrorist leaders in official ‘obituaries’ chock-full of euphemisms and moral equivalence. Not news stories, but obituaries.”

December 18, 2008

Thank you, Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald throws me some traffic with a response:

For obvious reasons, the most blindly loyal Bush followers of the last eight years are desperate to claim that nobody cares any longer about what happened during the Bush administration, that everyone other than the most fringe, vindictive Bush-haters is eager to put it all behind us, forget about it all and, instead, look to the harmonious, sunny future.

This is amusing. Greenwald is demanding war crimes prosecution of Bush administration officials and yet I am “desperate”? Frankly, I don’t even give a damn. If I turned on the TV sometime next year to see Paul Wolfowitz in the dock at the Hague, I’d shrug in mute acceptance, and if I blogged about it, would do so in an insouciant way.

But that’s never going to happen, which is why I can merrily mock Greenwald’s frothing outrage. Nothing, not even a New York Times editorial, can turn this madness of the fanatical fringe into a “mainstream” project. The Democrats would never allow it, no more than they would allow Obama to withdraw too precipitously from Iraq.

The political winds have blown, and the system has encompassed that wind, directing it toward the recent resurgence of the Democratic Party, and smart Democrats know that the surest way to lose that favorable breeze would be to overplay their hand by pandering to the monstrous appetites of Greenwald and his ilk. Obama, Pelosi and Reid will all answer this idiotic demand in the only way it deserves to be answered: Fuck you, Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE: Politics is about majorities. Politics is about the future. Greenwald’s idiotic crusade aims to incite a passionate few about the past. In my original response to Greenwald, I tried to make this point by comparing his latest anti-Bush jihad to the way some on the Right spent years pushing conspiracy theories about the 1993 death of Vince Foster, long after it became clear to all sensible observers that — like Oakland — there was no there there. Judging from the comment field, some of Greenwald’s readers are unaware of just how foolish they look now, let alone how foolish they’ll look six months or a year from now.

If it makes you self-styled progressives happy to howl at the moon, don’t let me stop you. Howl until dawn, sleep all day, then rise to howl again tomorrow night. The American majority has spent its fury at the Bush administration and does not share your passion for endless hindsight recrimination. The leadership of the Democratic Party understands this and — just as they refused to satisfy your bloodlust against Joe Lieberman — they will not support you in this mad effort to exhume the corpse of the Bush administration so that you may inflict posthumous injury upon the remains.

Do not, however, think for a moment that I mind being today’s proxy scapegoat. Nor should you let my mockery of your madness shake you into sanity. Go, lemmings — your cliff awaits you. And when you find yourself plunging downward, accelerating at 32 feet per second squared, remember who told you so, you damned fools.

UPDATE II: Jules Crittenden has fun at the expense of the New York Times.

UPDATE III: Just watched the end of “It’s A Wonderful Life” with my wife and kids. Remember: Every time you hear a bell ring, a blogger gets an Instalanche!

UPDATE IV: God bless ’em: “If Obama Fails to Prosecute War Crimes, Is He A Criminal Too?” High crimes and misdemeanors! We eagerly await the Left’s next bumper sticker: “Impeach Hope.”

UPDATE V: Jules Crittenden offers helpful advice on how to deal with Greenwald, if you must. I think the key factor involved is the extreme self-seriousness of the man. And this is a habit he shares with many others on the Left. A lot of lefties don’t get the self-deprecating humor of my mock braggodocio (“bon vivant and raconteur“) and will make comments suggesting that I am actually being boastful. They simply can’t conceive of someone not taking themselves seriously, because they are so very serious about their own selves.

An excessive concern with how one is perceived by others — trying to conform the perception of others to your own self-perception — is not “ego,” but rather evidence of a damaged ego seeking some sort of validation. And being unable to joke about yourself is a characteristic trait of this brittle type of personality.

UPDATE VI (Sat. 12/20): Greenwald is like the gift that keeps on giving. Today, Instapundit links Crittenden, and I get yet another cascade of traffic.

December 17, 2008

The outrage merchant

You know Glenn Greenwald’s about to write something particularly stupid when his first line includes a descriptor like “extremely pro-war, neoconservative.” (Why not just “pro-war”? Why must it be bookended between “extremely” and “neoconservative”?)

In the case of Greenwald’s latest emission at Salon, the elaborate descriptor is applied to the defunct New York Sun, two of whose former staffers have recently contributed to the New Republic. One of them, Jacob Gerhsman, published an article expressing surprise toward Eliot Spitzer’s early attempt at political rehabilitation. This article — “a finger-wagging sermon,” per Greenwald — inspires a counterblast comparing Spitzer’s crimes (hiring high-priced call girls) with the crimes alleged against Dick Cheney who, Greenwald says, “literally admitted, brazenly and unapologetically, to committing war crimes; blithely justified the atrocities that were committed as part of our attack on Iraq; and glorified the whole slew of illegal surveillance programs he ordered.”

Greenwald’s a one-trick pony. Being outraged at Republican “war crimes” is his shtick, and God knows how he’ll fill his days when the Bush administration leaves office. The man certainly doesn’t get work on the basis of his engaging prose. A single sentence as sample:

The reason the American political establishment tenaciously refuses to acknowledge the devastation and crimes that have been unleashed during the Bush era is obvious: aside from the generalized belief that Americans are inherently good and thus incapable of meriting terms such as “aggressive wars” and “war criminals” no matter what they actually do (those phrases are applicable only to lesser foreigners), most of the establishment supported these crimes and the criminals who unleashed them.

Seventy-four words, in case you were counting, and not much real meaning except: “Boy, do I hate Bush!” If you share Greenwald’s outrage, perhaps it’s satisfying to watch him reiterate it endlessly — a sort of online Olbermann rant to tide you over until you can go home and watch “Countdown.” If you aren’t outraged, however, there’s no reason to read Greenwald except as a species of grim duty.

Anti-Bush indignation is his stock in trade, and the sell-by date of that particular commodity has probably already passed. No one, however, has told this to Greenwald. He’s like one of those guys who got on the “who killed Vince Foster?” bandwagon in 1993 and kept peddling it long after the public had lost interest.

Expect Greenwald to keep chasing his idee fixe. He won’t change his tune, he’ll just look for new excuses to sing it. Some member of the Obama administration will be caught in a minor scandal, and Greenwald will trot out his obligatory column saying that whatever the administration official did, it can’t possibly be compared to “the devastation and crimes that have been unleashed during the Bush era.”

By 2010, this method of argumentation will be known as the Greenwald Defense, and will be widely employed throughout society: “Yes, officer, I realize I was doing 83 mph in a 55 mph zone, but is this really worth a traffic citation, when you consider the devastation and crimes that have been unleashed during the Bush era?”

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Linked at Instapundit. Thanks! And with only a week left until Christmas, this would be a great time to remind everyone of the 2008 Holiday Book Sale.

UPDATE II: The New York Daily News has more on the Spitzer career rehabilitation project.

UPDATE III: Greenwald links, and I respond.

December 13, 2008

Glenn Greenwald on TV

Launched under “false pretenses”? Keep your day job. And your socks.