But He Uses Pretty Words

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald responded to Jeffrey Goldberg’s ridiculous “think about the Kurds” post hoc justification for the war in Iraq (which itself was Goldberg changing the topic from the accuracy of his pre-war reporting, which then led to the ridiculous spectacle of Eli Lake guest-posting for him to continue to attempt to make the Al Qaeda/Hussein link case- I can only assume Goldberg couldn’t get a Weekly Standard intern to fill in), and noted that throughout history, whenever any country is invaded, there is always some group within the invading country who was pleased:

It’s difficult to find an invasion in history that wasn’t supported by at least some faction of the invaded population and where that same self-justifying script wasn’t used. That’s true even of the most heinous aggressors. Many Czech and Austrian citizens of Germanic descent, viewing themselves as a repressed minority, welcomed Hitler’s invasion of their countries, while leaders of the independence-seeking Sudeten parties in those countries actively conspired to bring it about. Did that make those German invasions justifiable?

This has sent Time’s Joe Klein into one of his usual frothing rages (which seem reserved for Greenwald or anyone who dares attack the village):

Greenwald also disagreed with Goldberg, but used the opportunity to launch another of his litigious, ambulance-chasing forays–in Greenwald’s case, it is “hits” he’s trying to collect, not fees–in which he posited Jeff as an arch-villain, practicing a form of dishonest journalism that Greenwald believes is corrupting the Republic. To be sure, lazy, corrupt journalism happens; always has, always will. But Goldberg’s work is quite the opposite: rigorously reported, beautifully written and fiercely honest. Indeed, Jeff’s willingness to be candid about lessons he learned along the way created a book that Greenwald rarely, if ever, mentions: Prisoners, a memoir of Jeff’s time as a member of the Israel Defense Forces when he served as a prison guard and developed a close, difficult and unresolved friendship with one of his Palestinian prisoners. This is the sort of work that Greenwald, locked in the sterile prison of his ideology, is completely incompetent to understand.

And now, Greenwald–who, so far as I can tell, only regards the United States as a force for evil in the world–has laid out the incredible notion that the liberation of the Kurds, which Jeff celebrates (and so do I, and so do civilized people everywhere) as a happy byproduct of George W. Bush’s dreadful war in Iraq, can be compared to the Nazi seizure of the Sudetenland:

Actually Joe, you’ve completely missed the point.

Let’s put this in words Joe can understand- If Israel were to be attacked, occupied, and have millions of her citizens murdered or killed in an invasion by Egypt, six years from now, it would not be ok to point to that immoral invasion and say “But look how happy the Palestinians are!” Which is precisely what Goldberg was doing, and exactly what Greenwald was pointing out. Even worse, Klein needed a reader to point out the very fact that Greenwald himself insisted the invasion of Iraq and the Nazi invasions are not the same. Now that’s some close reading of something that really upset you!

Joe noted that he was interrupting his vacation for this outburst- for his sake, I hope it was written from the hotel bar, because he completely missed the point. And for the record- I really like reading Joe Klein- most of the time.

*** Update ***

We’ve now got the spectacle of two prominent journalists, one for Time, one for the Atlantic, willfully misinterpreting someone’s remarks and screaming that person is a Nazi lover and hates America. Godwin wept.

104 replies
  1. 1
    Redshirt says:

    This is all progress, I think (hope). Once they start eating each other (the media), perhaps some sort of resolution will be reached on the other side.

    Probably not, but I need to hope.

  2. 2

    the liberation of the Kurds, which Jeff celebrates (and so do I, and so do civilized people everywhere)

    Thousands of American dead celebrate! w00t. (sorry, watching “The Messenger” on Netflix, so I’m a little bit sensitive about our foreign adventures atm).

    Joke Line can DIAF (only for BalloonJuiceCommenterList private listserv consumption).

    ETA:

    And for the record- I really like reading Joe Klein- most of the time.

    Is this going to be required from now on?

  3. 3
    Erik Vanderhoff says:

    I think the thing that grates most about Greenwald is that for all his rhetorical excess (and desperate, desperate need for a goddamn editor), he’s fundamentally right.

  4. 4
    geg6 says:

    OT, but R2K is now saying that their dustup with Markos will result in Markos being brought down and that he is a criminal.

    I’m thinking, instead, that R2K is completely screwed and going nuclear with the crazy. But I am not a numbers geek, so what do I know?

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpoi.....?ref=fpblg

    I will be back to comment on the actual subject of this thread, perhaps, later.

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    JC critiques a spat between Klein and Greenwald over Greenwald’s response to Goldberg’s spat with Weigle over Weigle’s criticism of Drudge… ?

    “Blogospheric Navel-Gazing” is an understatement.

    (yes, i get the irony of my adding yet another layer of commentary)

  6. 6
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    You note that you were on vacation when you wrote that- for your sake, Joe, I hope it was written from the hotel bar, because you completely missed the point.

    More proof that any work related item one does while on vacation or when not actually at work is crap.

  7. 7
    geg6 says:

    @Erik Vanderhoff:

    Most of the time. Gotta just say, most of the time. Certainly not all. In fact, definitely not all.

    This time, though, he is exactly right. Tore Goldberg a new asshole, using facts and logic. Which is why Jokeline is pissed.

  8. 8

    @cleek: Weigel.

    And yep, inside inside inside inside baseball.

  9. 9
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Erik Vanderhoff: Not only is he usually right, but he is always “civil” about it. They cannot even dismiss Greenwald on the grounds that he uses bad words on the internets. And so they resort to “he hates America.” Classy. (And civil!)

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    And you know who else besides Jeffrey Goldberg was a good writer, don’t you?

  11. 11
    Ash Can says:

    And I’m sure those “liberated” Kurds are on easy street these days thanks to the Iraq clusterfuck, too.

  12. 12
    Kryptik says:

    Joe has become leaps and bounds better than he was a few years ago. But he’s still a hack when it comes to certain subjects, and the Middle East remains the thing that renders many of his opinions moot and wholly ignorable. Not to mention any time he decides to further his vendetta against Greenwald.

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    @Redshirt:

    Once they start eating each other (the media), perhaps some sort of resolution will be reached on the other side.

    When they are pooped out on the other side, will the result be any worse than what we have now?

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    And for the record- I really like reading Joe Klein- most of the time.

    Is this your version of “I have great respect for him as a reporter.” ?

  15. 15
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Sure, Greenwald makes sure to be explicit:

    “Invasion of Iraq” != “Nazi invasion of Sudetenland”

    But still:

    “Goldberg’s pro-invasion apologetics” == “Nazi pro-invasion apologetics”

    Really if the reichwingtards don’t want to be CALLED Nazis, then they should stop ACTING LIKE Nazis.

  16. 16

    […] note that John Cole critiques a growing spat between Joe Klein and Glenn Greenwald over Greenwald’s ongoing spat with […]

  17. 17
    PeakVT says:

    But Goldberg’s work is quite the opposite: rigorously reported, beautifully written and fiercely honest.

    If Goldberg was fiercely honest he’d stop writing anything at all about the Middle East.

  18. 18
    twiffer says:

    just so i have this straight. for days now, these people have been bitching and moaning publicly about each other and the firing of weigel; a firing which stemmed from an email saying drudge should die in a fire? that’s all he said? do these ridiculous fuckheads never read any message boards? that’s the standard response to idiotic “first!” posts.

    sure, to someone who does not know about these internets thingies, telling someone to “die in a fire” sounds bad. it is, afterall, a horrific way to die. to anyone who has spend more than an hour reading message boards and comment sections, DIAF translates directly to “please go away, slightly irritating person”. got no teeth anymore.

    in short, why the fuck is anyone still talking about this? the whole of it is much ado about nothing. i’m still baffled as to how such a common and mundane insult results in getting canned (other than as an excuse).

  19. 19
    catclub says:

    Joe Klein does his best writing when he has been ( or feels)
    personally attacked.

    Greenwald is one of the people who so enraged him. It was for Joe Klein regurgitating crap about the Telecom Immunity bill – which Klein even said he never botherred to read/understand.

    aimai is another one who got under his skin – bravo aimai

    Too bad his outrage never extends to insults or horrors faced by _other_ people.

  20. 20
    brother cod says:

    Indeed. Joe K hates Greenwald with Biblical fervour. And it only gets worse each time he lets it out, because not one person supports him in the commentary.
    The question is – how long will he be able to ignore the fact that there are very few (usually none) people who will take his side in the article’s comments?
    How many will he write off as Glenbottery?

  21. 21
    PeakVT says:

    Also, I’m really glad Klein took time out of his vacation to respond to an (entirely justified) attack on somebody else, instead of writing about unimportant stuff like this.

  22. 22
    catclub says:

    Please note: best writing does not mean he is right, just more interesting to read.

    He only responded to the conservatives (at Commentary?)
    calling any Jew that says boo about Israel, a self-hating anti-semite, when they did it to him.

    Highly selective outrage.

  23. 23
    p.a. says:

    100,000+ dead but such pretty, pretty words. bygones!

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    Not only is he usually right, but he is always “civil” about it. </blockquote

    Is it "civil" to declare that disagreeing with him about Obama shows cultlike devotion to Dear Leader? Because he does that a lot.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    Desperate people say stupid things and Joe Klein is desperate. Recognizing that his place as a pundit is being usurped by smarter people in the blog-o-sphere has got to hurt. He as spent a good part of his career becoming and then being someone people treat with deference because he sounds so smart. Unfortunately in his desperation he says shit that exposes what he always was – not nearly as smart as he though he was or as smart as he convinced people he was.

    Then there is the fact that he is resentful that Greenwald didn’t put in the appropriate time in the pundit apprentice program and GASP, created a blog that people read like the used to read Klein’s crap (and does anyone really read with the same “awe” Klein anymore).

  26. 26
    frankdawg says:

    I hate reading JoKe line – he is vapid & the consummate ass-kissing cocktail party insider. Never once have I read him & felt like it was a worthwhile endeavor.

    As for civilized people & the Kurds – I doubt very much that the Turks were pleased, as the majority of Kurds live in Turkey & there has been unrest & bloodshed as the Kurds try to carve a nation out of the areas of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey that they live in. As a minority they have been pissed on by the West every time we carved up the region & they have been used again & again as a weapon against leaders in the area the West didn’t want to confront directly. Their celebration of our Iraq quagmire has a lot more to do with their aspirations of nationhood than the overthrow of Saddam. They are a wild card in the region that could easily make things a whole lot worse of us in which case we would turn on them in a murderous rage that assholes like Goldberg would cheer on for whatever phony reason he could imagine. Its what evil men do.

  27. 27

    I like how Klein can write such a vociferous defense of a pig like Goldberg without even vaguely alluding to the root of the matter; Goldberg’s fanciful, wildly inaccurate pre-war “reporting” about links between al-Qaeda and Saddam.

  28. 28
    eemom says:

    @cleek:

    the blogosphere as Russian nesting doll.

  29. 29
    JC says:

    I protested the Iraq War, along with millions of others.

    The one troubling issue I had though, is that Saddam was just so VILE.

    Like North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il. As much as I dislike the Iranian government, those two, Saddam’s and Kim’s, they are just…so…vile.

    I will never excuse the absolute piss poor, borderline psychopathic UNCONCERN that the invasion was launched with.

    But is the current Iraqi government much better for those living inside it?

    I think so.

    Does that excuse the Bush-Cheney cronyism?

    No at all.

    But in a way, I would LOVE to be able to wave a magic wand, and change the government of North Korea. Really, I would. It is absolutely tragic, evil, and insane, what is happening in that country.

    Can someone help me out – what is the SOLUTION for North Korea?

    Just watching the suffering?

    In that way, and that way only, I’ll always have a tiny bit of sympathy for the Iraq war. There really was no other way to deal with Saddam and his sons, given the terror that they wielded over Iraq. Except to just…watch. And let Saddam get away with various border provocations, and other malign wielding of influence in Iraq’s, neighborhood.

    The counterfactual here (and all counterfactuals are questionable), is that Iraq would have continued, like North Korea has continued, as a terror state, subject to Saddam’s depredations.

    Are they worse than the U.S.’s depredations, in removing Saddam without a plan, and the hell of a civil war that unleashed?

    I would say no. Except that if the counterfactual had been 30 years more of Saddam and sons, then the moral calculus doesn’t look so clear.

  30. 30
    catclub says:

    @JC:
    “In that way, and that way only, I’ll always have a tiny bit of sympathy for the Iraq war. There really was no other way to deal with Saddam and his sons, given the terror that they wielded over Iraq. Except to just…watch. And let Saddam get away with various border provocations, and other malign wielding of influence in Iraq’s, neighborhood.”

    1. Whenever Saddam’s radars would paint one of our planes, we would respond by bombing the shit out of that site.
    So that ‘get away with various provocations’ bit is at least partly bull.

    2. Bush considered various fake provocations, discussed them with Tony Blair.

    3. ‘There really was no other way’ – except to not actually invade – which is of course, impossible.

    Actually, they had a schedule for war, and had to meet it.
    Remember the troop buildup and how they ‘could not just have them in the desert there indefinitely?

    How about this: promise $200 billion in development funds to Iraq if they dump Saddam and have open elections?
    Have it as a bounty.

    We would save about $1 trillion over what was actually spent. Of course, then we would not be spending that money on US miltary contractors, but actually spending it on Iraq.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    As usual, Greenwald’s stuff is overly long, self-indulgent and needlessly repetitious. I agree with his main point that Goldberg attempts to evade the plain fact that the justifications for the war against Iraq were a pack of lies.

    But Greenwald’s use and abuse of history, and his premise that “unprovoked wars of aggression” are always wrong simply ignores the painful complexity of life. By his logic, the US Civil War could be described as an unprovoked war of aggression.

    I agree with Greenwald when he says that “pointing to the happy and rewarded Kurdish minority” does not justify or legalize the attack on Iraq, but is that really the end of the story? Should it be, “tough shit, Kurds?” and that’s the end of it?

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @JC: I’m beginning to think you are really DougJ.
    This has to be spoof, along with your obvious posts yesterday.

  33. 33
    John Cole says:

    @cleek: I’m sorry you find it boring, but I cheerleaded this bullshit and am in a small way responsible for the disasters that have happened overseas. I feel personally responsible for it, so when I see this stuff going on today with Klein and Goldberg, I think I owe it to try to shoot it down and expose it and make sure I’ve done my best to keep this from happening again.

    In a just world, people like me who eagerly spewed the bullshit in 2002-2004 that got us into these messes and led to untold suffering would be spending the rest of our lives doing minimum wage work in veterans hospitals. So allow me to indulge in what little I can do to knock down warmongers like Goldberg.

  34. 34
    Rick Massimo says:

    @catclub: Yes, Greenwald completely annihilated Klein for repeating Pete Hoekstra’s opinions on the Democrats’ FISA bill as unquestioned fact.

    The best Klein could do in lieu of a correction, or a clarification, or any sort of response, was “I have neither the time nor the background to figure out who’s right.”

    Naturally, he said this AFTER writing a piece in which he unequvocally stated who was right.

    I have never forgiven him for that. No one should.

  35. 35
    Keith says:

    Shorter Joe Klein: “Glenn Greenwald never served Israel the way General Jeffrey Goldberg has.”

  36. 36
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @FlipYrWhig: If by civil you mean the Villiage accepted definition of then yes, cult-like devotion is civil since it contains no bad words and as long as it refers to a non-card carrying member of the village. Any attack on them is, of course by it’s very nature, uncivil.

  37. 37
    Tiny Tim says:

    the civil war was an unprovoked war of aggression, began when confederate soldiers fired on ft. sumter. how things would have played out otherwise i have no idea.

  38. 38
    sukabi says:

    for some real fun, read the comments attached to Jokelines whine… he gets spanked by everyone of his commenters…

  39. 39
    El Cid says:

    On this:

    We’ve now got the spectacle of two prominent journalists, one for Time, one for the Atlantic, willfully misinterpreting someone’s remarks and screaming that person is a Nazi lover and hates America. Godwin wept.

    Yeah. Read any fucking significant journalist or pundit on Noam Chomsky, especially when he endorsed free speech rights for Holocaust deniers and the collective ass-holery of the lunatic establishment accused him of thus supporting Holocaust denial, because, you know, if you even want assholes and racists to have free speech rights, you agree with what they say. Just like the Founding Father Gods said.

    [Oh, and when he criticized unsupported statistics on how many were dying in Cambodia from both starvation and the Khmer Rouge — Noam even was quoting U.S. State Dept estimates — since then the lying asshole brigades labeled him as loving the Khmer Rouge and wanting to have their babies.]

  40. 40
    Morzer says:

    @John Cole:

    Go easy, Mr Cole. Any minute now some of Goldberg’s friends will be offering you a vacation in Kurdistan.

  41. 41
    JC says:

    “This has to be spoof, along with your obvious posts yesterday”.

    No, just feeling contrary, I guess. Maybe I’m just a squishy ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ philosophic type.

    The posts from yesterday, haven’t been shown to be wrong, though they may well be.

    It’s just when Cole says things like “In a just world, people like me who eagerly spewed the bullshit in 2002-2004 that got us into these messes and led to untold suffering”, well, Saddam has been in power 24 years, logically Saddam and son might have been able to be in power another 30 years, so this ‘untold suffering’ thing, is always – compared to what?

    I still think the best counterfactual is to figure that Saddam would be like Gaddafi, somewhat contained.

    But to say it’s OBVIOUS that 30 more years of Saddam and sons is less worse than the hell the U.S. unleashed – is more certainty than I am comfortable with. And that Saddam and sons would stay in power, may be a false counterfactual, but it is a reasonable assumption, given he stayed in power after 1991, given that Il-Jong is a son, and staying in power in North Korea, given Gaddafi’s hold over his country. That’s 30 more years of ‘untold suffering’, for a hell of a lot of Kurds and Shias.

  42. 42
    HeavyJ says:

    Klein and Goldberg reserve the Nazis (and everything related to their history) unto themselves alone. None can compare, question, or point out similarities to anything related to that era.

    Except, of course, if one is advocating attacking a country in the Middle East starting with an “Ir.”

    Despite the actual deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of Americas in this fraudulent war, the history of the Sudetenland and its similarity to Kurdistan (for example) is entirely off limits to Greenwald. He’s mentioning Nazis, you see, and only advocates for Israel can do that.

    A powerful rhetorical show stopper. No wonder Klein and Goldberg, enraged, are forced to distort Greenwald’s words to retain that power.

  43. 43
    IrmaLaDuce says:

    Chinua Achebe makes this same point in Things Fall Apart. It’s been years since I read the book, but I do remember that one characters didn’t fit/felt alienated by their own culture and felt more at home w/ the foreign missionaries.

  44. 44
    fucen tarmal says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    more like, i haven’t seen this many plays run off of a weigel since st tim of tebownia was qb of florida.

    baseball=passe

    football=passtime.

  45. 45
    Daveboy says:

    Brachianator, what is this:

    “his premise that “unprovoked wars of aggression” are always wrong simply ignores the painful complexity of life. By his logic, the US Civil War could be described as an unprovoked war of aggression.”

    How could it? The South attacked the North at Fort Sumter, and the North then engaged them. This is basic, fourth-grade history knowledge. Are you smarter than a fourth grader?

    Please name an “unprovoked war of aggression” that was, in your opinion, just. Please explain how “the painful complexity of life” applies when one country just starts beating the ass of another one. I can’t wait for this.

  46. 46
    JC says:

    Of course, my rumination is sideways to Cole’s main post, which is correct about Klein.

  47. 47
    Allan says:

    We’ve now got the spectacle of two prominent journalists Jews, one for Time, one for the Atlantic, willfully misinterpreting someone’s remarks and screaming that person is a Nazi lover and hates America.

    Obligatory fixed.

    I wonder: if an actual anti-Semite walked up to the two of them while they are flecking each other with spittle carrying a sign reading “Kill the Jews,” would they even notice him?

  48. 48
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Daveboy: It depends on the meaning of “provoked.” Imagine a war along the lines of what used to be called “humanitarian intervention,” like Rwanda, where the US intervenes to curtail atrocities by one population against another one. US involvement under those circumstances wouldn’t be _provoked_, insofar as no tangible US interests would be in jeopardy, but it might be considered “aggression” by those who didn’t support it, thought it was neo-colonialist, etc. That group of conflicts in the early 1990s including the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Somalia are borderline cases that were critiqued by many on the left in terms similar to “unprovoked wars of aggression” but were defended by many others, perhaps more liberal than left, as defenses of fundamental human rights.

    And IMHO that’s why the rationales for the Iraq war have always been such a hodgepodge. The Bush and Blair administrations said that the WMD argument was the most convincing one, so that’s what they went with; but lurking behind it was always a humanitarian-intervention argument. Liberals who supported the Iraq war, like Josh Marshall and Matt Yglesias, let their skepticism about WMD and terrorism be overridden by that humanitarian intervention idealism. Joe Klein is probably in that camp too.

  49. 49
    Vanya says:

    Just in the interest of challenging people’s comfortable assumptions, I would just point out that on its own terms the German annexation of the Sudetenland was arguably very justifiable. The German population WAS somewhat unfairly treated by the Czechs, like the Wesh in England, say . The Bohemian Germans were arbitrarily carved out of the multiethnic Habsburg empire and dumped into a Czech nation state without anyone asking them how they felt about it. If they wanted to join Germany, and most did, why did officious vengeful French and English bureaucrats get to dictate their future? The problem was that Hitler was a vicious anti-semitic fuck who clearly did not plan on stopping there. But had Hitler died of a heart attack in April 1939 we would all consider it just as normal today that Bohemia and Austria were provinces of Germany as it seems normal that Texas is part of the US.

  50. 50
    Vanya says:

    Just in the interest of challenging people’s comfortable assumptions, I would just point out that on its own terms the German annexation of the Sudetenland was arguably very justifiable. The German population WAS somewhat unfairly treated by the Czechs, like the Wesh in England, say . The Bohemian Germans were arbitrarily carved out of the multiethnic Habsburg empire and dumped into a Czech nation state without anyone asking them how they felt about it. If they wanted to join Germany, and most did, why did officious vengeful French and English bureaucrats get to dictate their future? The problem was that Hitler was a vicious anti-semite who clearly did not plan on stopping there. But had Hitler died of a heart attack in April 1939 we would all consider it just as normal today that Bohemia and Austria were provinces of Germany as it seems normal that Texas is part of the US.

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @Daveboy:

    Please name an “unprovoked war of aggression” that was, in your opinion, just. Please explain how “the painful complexity of life” applies when one country just starts beating the ass of another one. I can’t wait for this.

    Brachiator has been trying on a lot of false equivalence lately. He did it in the epic I/P threads when he said essentially we couldn’t talk shit about harsh treatment unless we were willing to talk about India/Paki/Kashmir.
    Then he went out on it again re: Afghanistan basically saying American peaceniks were to blame for…something.
    I’m not exactly sure but it seems like he thinks we should both do nothing and do everything at the same time. And if we don’t then it’s somehow the fault of those who desire and push for peace.
    It’s interesting, to say the least.

  52. 52
    Dave Ruddell says:

    Greenwald is correct, but he set himself up far too easily. Surely he could have thought of some non-Nazi examples. I do realize that he would have been excoriated for whatever he came up with, but it would have kept things out of Godwin territory. Momentarily.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Rick Massimo:

    The best Klein could do in lieu of a correction, or a clarification, or any sort of response, was “I have neither the time nor the background to figure out who’s right.

    I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very punditry I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a keyboard and type a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!

  54. 54

    […] Cole also has a good post on the […]

  55. 55
    Dave S. says:

    @JC: Your argument assumes the legitimacy of invading another country based on that country’s mistreatment of its own citizens. However terrible that may make us feel, in and of itself that is not a legitimate reason to make war. As cold as it may sound, unless it directly affects our interests or constitutes a threat to us, it is none of our business. That does not exclude acting in concert alone or with others, by means short of war, to try to influence or affect the situation, but unprovoked unilateral aggression is right out.

  56. 56
    the pair says:

    i for one hope this goes on for weeks or months. both the Serious Foreign Policy Experts greenwald is demolishing are neocons and, as most rational people are aware, neoconservatism is a form on mental illness and they simply can’t help themselves. they’ll keep on trying to bend reality to their will, g.g. will keep slapping them with the facts, they’ll drag up more comparisons to dead dictators, he’ll call them out again and so on and so on until klein and/or goldberg is wandering the streets covered in their own feces and speaking in tongues. i just hope i have a camcorder handy.

    it’s like getting a thief to incriminate themselves…”i’m just going to leave this wallet full of UN reports and historical facts and nuremberg principles lying here and go in the other room for a while…”

  57. 57
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @twiffer:

    a firing which stemmed from an email saying drudge should die in a fire? that’s all he said?

    This reminds me of a Politico story I stumbled upon yesterday. Reporters caught mocking Sarah Palin during speech. Here is the “mocking” in its entirety according to the article:

    “Oh my God, I feel like I just got off a roller coaster, going round and round, and up and down. S—- flying out everywhere.”

    “When you’ve got to write a report as a college student and you just try to jam as many quotes in as possible…That’s what I got.”

    “She didn’t finish a statement.”

    “Did she make a statement? Because I didn’t catch that either.”

    Yep, that’s it. Some reporters noticed that her speaking style can be, let’s be generous, on the disjointed side. No c-word or b-word. No cracks about Wasilla. Just that her speech is like a “roller coaster” and at the level of a college freshman term paper. How scandalous.

    I could think up a perfectly factual and unbiased headline for an article on this event: “Palin Gives Roller Coaster of a Speech in California”. In fact, this would be rather generous. But no, reporters aren’t allowed to tell us what anybody with an education above sixth grade knows about Palin’s speaking style. So the story here was not that Sarah Palin doesn’t speak in complete, cogent sentences, but that some reporters noticed as much.

  58. 58
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Dave S.: See, I think I have the diametrically opposite view: I’d rather see the apparatus of war used to remedy oppression and devastation than to secure oil or mineral deposits or to thwart the Domino Effect or what have you. But of course there are terrible problems in carrying off a humanitarian intervention, “nation-building” and all that, which is why the consequences are so often so much worse than the intentions.

    I think this is also the underlying tension in the Michael Hastings vs. Lara Logan dispute. It seems to me that Logan supports the counterinsurgency idea or at least thinks if anyone can make it work it’d have to be McChrystal, so she doesn’t like the idea that Hastings reported accurately in ways that embarrassed McChrystal. On the other hand, it seems to me that Hastings’s view is that the whole thing is doomed from the start and everyone should know, even if the facts are embarrassing to the principals.

    So it’s not that Logan went native because she was dazzled by being around important people, it’s that she believes in the ideals of the mission — counterinsurgency and humanitarian intervention being related in practice because they both involve rebuilding civil society and exercising restraint in the use of force — and thinks Hastings doesn’t. And he probably doesn’t. Taibbi doesn’t either.

  59. 59
    racrecir says:

    Speaking of Nazi love/hate relations…

    Dave Weigel reports on:

    Scenes From the Real America

  60. 60
    frankdawg says:

    @Brachiator:

    Are you suggesting that the Civil war was unnecessary or an act of aggression? The United Sates of America was attacked & responded as needed. It was as unnecessary as any war ever fought in that, had the slave owners not insisted on maintaining an obscene business & forcing it onto the rest of the country, it didn’t have to happen. Maybe I am missing your point.

  61. 61
    frankdawg says:

    @John Cole:

    Damn, this is why I love you John – thank you so very much.

  62. 62
    Sly says:

    Greenwald also disagreed with Goldberg, but used the opportunity to launch another of his litigious, ambulance-chasing forays

    I get it! He saying that Greenwald is a LAWYER! And everyone hates lawyers! Ha! You get ’em, Joe!

  63. 63
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Can someone help me out – what is the SOLUTION for North Korea?

    Airdropping encrypted anonymous cellphones over every population centre.

    I’m serious. Guns would be nice, but if the NK government can’t stop people from *talking* to each other without them listening in, they’ll crumble.

  64. 64
    Snarla says:

    Nothing against the Kurds or anything, but before we shine them up and put them on a pedestal, let’s look at their fondness for female genital mutilation.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/.....index.html

  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    Airdropping encrypted anonymous cellphones over every population centre.
    __
    I’m serious. Guns would be nice, but if the NK government can’t stop people from talking to each other without them listening in, they’ll crumble.

    This is actually a pretty awesome idea.
    People who could talk freely to one another.

  66. 66
    akak says:

    But wasn’t Saddam’s rule in the Iraqi north already curtailed in 1991, when the U.S. helped set up the Kurdish regional government and instituted no fly zones there?

  67. 67
    frankdawg says:

    @akak:
    Yes except for the oil rich areas which Saddam used to finance his lifestyle. The Kurds need that money to finance their war against Turkey & – eventually – Iran & Syria. FSM bless ’em they deserve thier own country but 1000 years of European (and then American) meddling in the region makes that an impossible task – blood will be shed.

  68. 68
    frankdawg says:

    @JC:
    BTW – you sir, are an idiot

  69. 69
    Mart says:

    Greenwald should have discussed the Loyalists and Tories opposed to the freedom fighters during the American Revolution. That would’ve fried their synapses. What Greenwald said is so common sense and easy to Google for any conflict it makes their hysterics comical.

  70. 70
    jl says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki:

    Greenwald did not say what you wrote:

    “Goldberg’s pro-invasion apologetics” == “Nazi pro-invasion apologetics”

    Greenwald did not say that they were equivalent, or identical.

    Greenwald said that ALL nationalistic pro-war apologetics had some common characteristics. One of them was the argument that an invasion was justified to right a wrong or come to the aid of an oppressed group in the invaded country.

    Greenwald might be right or wrong about the “all’ part, but he did not say what you claim he did.

  71. 71
    jl says:

    @JC: I have read that after Bush Jr. had Iraq surrounded and was poised to crush the place, Saddam had agreed, under pressure, to exile of himself and his sons and some of his cronies. Sounds to me like the US had the power to force some significant changes in Iraq without invading.

    If that is the case, the war was a monstrous crime.

    I think your case is pretty weak that Saddam’s regime had a high probability of continuing in operation as it had in the past, if it had not been for the invasion.

    But what the hell, I guess the Soviets had a right to invade the US before the Civil Rights Act because of oppression of African-Americans. We would all be happier now if that had happened, and such an invasion could be justified. Right?

  72. 72

    @JC:

    There really was no other way to deal with Saddam and his sons, given the terror that they wielded over Iraq. Except to just…watch.

    Plain old CIA assassination 101 would have been better than Shock and Awe.

  73. 73

    @JC:

    There really was no other way to deal with Saddam and his sons, given the terror that they wielded over Iraq. Except to just…watch.

    Even plain old CIA assassination 101 would have been better than Shock and Awe.

  74. 74
    addicted says:

    So the Iraq war has gone from smoking out Al-Qaeda (whom Saddam had connections with) to Weapons of Mass Destruction, to Democracy in Iraq, to Liberation of Kurds?

    Man, talk about shifting goalposts.

  75. 75
    liberal says:

    @JC:
    Uh, you do know, don’t you, that for much of his rule Saddam received support from the US?

  76. 76
    liberal says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Liberals who supported the Iraq war, like Josh Marshall and Matt Yglesias, let their skepticism about WMD and terrorism be overridden by that humanitarian intervention idealism.

    How do you know that’s the reason?

  77. 77

    Low hanging neo con fruit that Greenwald dutifully picks. He should stick to these subjects instead of pissing all over the tree he claims to support. He won’t because his real battle is with government power. That is all well and good when it is fact based and measured. But he has no designs on supporting measured government power. It is all evil, and any polemic argument to bring it down is fair ammunition for that cause, and no dem president slowly and imperfectly unraveling the criminal neo con strictures of Herr Cheney to a lawful one will suffice. It is not near enough to satisfy.

    He writes occasionally on common causes with progressives, because he needs tribal support to continue his mission, but he is no progressive, nor liberal on the issue he cares about. And that issue goes well beyond civil liberties. It lives in the libertarian utopia he craves, one with imagined liberal outcomes that would come from that semi anarchic fantasy. Which is the only real difference between him and the Reasonoids of the world.

    This is only my opinion. No more, no less.

  78. 78
    liberal says:

    @Vanya:

    But had Hitler died of a heart attack in April 1939 we would all consider it just as normal today that Bohemia and Austria were provinces of Germany as it seems normal that Texas is part of the US.

    Oh, Jesus, if you want to go down that route, what about all the Hungarians that are living in Romania?

  79. 79

    @FlipYrWhig:

    “The Bush and Blair administrations said that the WMD argument was the most convincing one, so that’s what they went with; but lurking behind it was always a humanitarian-intervention argument.”

    That’s naive.

    From the PNAC letter to President Clinton in 1998:

    It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard…. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf.”

    It was about asserting America’s power in the oil-rich Gulf. Of course, it had the side benefit of obscuring Bush’s inadequacies and keeping the MIC happy.

    By contrast, America did nothing about Rwanda because Rwanda’s biggest export is tea and coffee.

  80. 80
    liberal says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:
    Uh, what about the towers?

  81. 81
    liberal says:

    @jl:

    If that is the case, the war was a monstrous crime.

    Because it was a war of aggression, it was a monstrous crime regardless. As Justice Jackson, I think it was, observed at Nuremberg, aggressive war is the crime from which all other war crimes follow (paraphrasing).

  82. 82
    liberal says:

    @Martin Gifford:
    Assassinating Saddam wasn’t necessarily all that easy, given that Iraq was totalitarian and Saddam guarded power very jealously.

  83. 83
    liberal says:

    @Martin Gifford:

    It was about asserting America’s power in the oil-rich Gulf.

    By definition, of course, invading Iraq was a matter of asserting America’s power, and the Gulf is empirically absolutely oil-rich.

    But the idea that the neocons wanted to do it because the Gulf is oil-rich is nonsense. They did it because of Israel.

  84. 84
    JC says:

    “If that is the case, the war was a monstrous crime.”

    Agreed.

    “But what the hell, I guess the Soviets had a right to invade the US before the Civil Rights Act because of oppression of African-Americans”

    Well, to stop the ethnic cleansing in Albania we intervened. I consider that a good.

    so, contra Dave, sometimes – RARELY – intervention is justified.

    Martin – assassination of Saddam is a very good argument, from a humanitarian perspective, although I’m still not sure whether one can or should intervene, it is still a question. And definitely not in the way Bush did it.

    But, I still believe the reasons for invading Iraq were many, not just one, they all came together.

    a. 9/11 provided the opportunity for the bait and switch
    b. control over oil resources provided the realpolitik reason
    c. Saddam was causing trouble, in various ways, for U.S. interest.
    d. Saddam was a monster. A monster with significant resources in oil. And could conceivably be a thorn for years and years.
    e. the opportunity to project more power in the region, beloved by the neocons.

    Again, as Brach said above – we all know the given reasons for the invasion were a ‘pack of lies’. And the consequences of the invasion were horrendous in the civil war unleashed.

    At the same time – there is a believable counterfactual that, over 30 years, letting Saddam continue his reign of terror hurts more people.

    Again, I still don’t BELIEVE this. We have to act on the best knowledge we have.

    But that, and that both Kurds and the Shia in Iraq, have now more freedom (relatively), is lemonade from the lemons.

  85. 85

    @liberal:

    Assassinating Saddam would have been easier than the Iraq War. And cheaper and much less evil. But if America was serious about “humanitarian intervention” they would start with easier countries and build up moral authority. As it is, America has no moral authority anymore.

    You also wrote: “They did it because of Israel.”

    IIRC, Israel wasn’t keen for the invasion.

  86. 86
    JG says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Shorter you: “He shouldn’t criticize other liberals. It makes me mad.”

    As Greenwald always says, if Obama does things that Bush did and those things were wrong when Bush did them then they have to be wrong when Obama does them. Things don’t magically change into awesomeness because a less dickish politician is doing them.

  87. 87

    @JG: Nice slogan, but have heard it before. Obama bad as Bush, don’t think so spanky.

    Shorter JG = “He shouldn’t criticize Glenn Greenwald, it makes me mad.”

    Two can play that game. And I labeled mine opinion not the gospel according JG.

  88. 88
    Mike Kay says:

    I don’t get it. Wasn’t the invasion of Iraq similar to the invasion of Poland? The germans went beyond invasion and committed genocide in poland, but aren’t the underlying invasions the same: one giant “shock and awing” the shit out of a small country?

  89. 89
    Mike Schilling says:

    Austrian citizens of Germanic descent

    Like, all of them?

  90. 90
    Mike Kay says:

    should read:

    One giant country “shock and awing” the shit out of a small country?

  91. 91
    Mike Kay says:

    @JG: that principle is true.

    and the same time, glen is a liar and conspiracy theorists. he has no compunction about smearing people.

  92. 92
    Mike Kay says:

    @JG:

    Shorter you: “He shouldn’t criticize other liberals. It makes me mad.”

    I wish you guys would practice what you preach. The moment anyone crticizes glenn or whatzhername, some people always freak out, no matter how that person fucked up, with the “you shouldn’t criticize other liberals, because, even when they’re wrong, they’re still moving overton’s window to the left” defense.

  93. 93
    Mike Kay says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki:

    germany didn’t invade the Sudetenland, Britain and France gave the Sudentenland to Germany The Czech part of Czechoslovakia was subsequently invaded by Germany in March 1939.

    but tell me how the underlying invasion of poland and russia was different than the invasion of iraq? One country called it blitzkrieg , the other called it “shock and awe”. The occupations were differenct, but the invasion were the same.

  94. 94
    Mike D. says:

    The thing about Godwin’s law is that it just doesn’t reach to instances where the analogy is perfectly good. It actually proves Greenwald’s point all the more that Goldberg and Klein have to leap to a general outrage about a comparison with Nazi Germany, because clearly it is the heinousness of that invasion that precisely demonstrates Greenwald’s point – that you can’t judge the moral merit of an invasion by whether some group of people in the invaded country welcome. You couldn’t point to a “good” invasion to make this point – those would be irrelevant. Glenn point is that the presence of such minorities is indifferent as to the justification of an invasion, as the Nazi example (heinous) as compared to the Iraq example (open to question) shows.

  95. 95
    tkogrumpy says:

    @Dave S.: This. We are not responsible for the way Saddam treats the people under his control. We are,however responsible for our own military mis-adventures.

  96. 96
    Mike Kay says:

    ironic, Klein’s screed reads like one of glenn usual disasters: a litany of personal insults, combined with spinning facts to smear a person. glen should be proud – klein has adopted his writing style.

  97. 97
    Whispers says:

    It is very difficult to discuss the propaganda used by the Bush administration and their allies in the media without discussing how the Nazis did similar things. It is very difficult to discuss the war of aggression and place it in context without noting that the kinds of justifications used by war promoters have been used by every invading power in history. And the most recent examples of this kind of rationalization are the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese.

    At some point, people defending the motivations of the war have to do better than to play the card of the offended innocent. If you don’t want to be compared to Leni Riefenstahl, don’t use that kind of propaganda. If you don’t want to be compared to the KGB and the Gestapo, stop endorsing the usage of waterboarding and torture. If you don’t want to be compared to the Imperial Japanese, stop pretending that the invasion was necessary because of random (and unsubstantiated) allegations that acts of terrorism were coming from said land, and stop acting like our hegemony will be to the benefit of all the peoples in the conquered lands (the phrase ‘co-prosperity sphere’ keeps coming to mind).

    The myth of American exceptionalism serves as a psychological barrier against honest discussion of what actually is going on here.

  98. 98
    Whispers says:

    “germany didn’t invade the Sudetenland, Britain and France gave the Sudentenland to Germany”

    Seeing as the Sudetenland wasn’t part of either Britain or France, this argument doesn’t hold much water. If the Polish and the Serbs tell the Cubans that it’s OK with them if they annex South Florida, it’s still an invasion when the troops show up.

  99. 99
    Mike Kay says:

    @Whispers:

    Hitler, Daladier and Chamberlain met and agreed to Mussolini’s proposal (actually prepared by Hermann Göring) and signed the Munich Agreement accepting the immediate occupation of the Sudetenland. The Czechoslovak government, though not party to the talks, submitted to compulsion and promised to abide by the agreement on September 30.

    If the US signed an agreement with the PRC accepting the immediate occupation of Taiwan, and then China swallowed up taiwan, people could legitmately say, the US handed over taiwan to beijing.

  100. 100
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Martin Gifford: Fine, sure. What I mean is that there were and still are liberals who support wars on the basis of human rights, when from other viewpoints other liberals might characterize those same wars as “unprovoked wars of aggression.”

  101. 101

    […] blogger at Salon, of comparing the invasion of Iraq to the Nazi Conquest of Europe.  As John Cole writes: We’ve now got the spectacle of two prominent journalists, one for Time, one for the Atlantic, […]

  102. 102
    John Bird says:

    I think in general people support Glenn Greenwald because he applies his beliefs about civil liberties consistently, not because he’s “moving us to the left”. God knows I wish the latter were true – but people aren’t paying attention.

  103. 103
    Daveboy says:

    Glenn Greenwald has said a few things I disagree with, and he can get holier-than-thou and use insults in a way that I find offputting, but I’ve never read a weak argument from the man and his positions are about as consistent and moral as one can find.

  104. 104

    @FlipYrWhig:

    What I mean is that there were and still are liberals who support wars on the basis of human rights, when from other viewpoints other liberals might characterize those same wars as “unprovoked wars of aggression.”

    Yes. Like Christopher Hitchens, and maybe even Tony Blair.

    I think the world needs to come to a consensus that war is always evil.

    After that, we could use the idea of an international police force to stop terrorism, war, and dictatorship, but that would require some sort of robust international government or institution based on ethics and goodwill.

    Liberals who believe in some wars need to really understand why war is wrong. If there’s a hostage situation or a riot, the police don’t just start dropping bombs. Similarly, if there’s an international hostage situation or riot (war), then we can’t justify dropping bombs or joining the fight.

    War must be banned once and for all.

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  2. […] Cole also has a good post on the […]

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