In many cases, when you understand someone’s motivations, loyalties, and basic outlook, there is no reason to read that person’s actual arguments, because you already know what they will be (I am fully aware that this sounds arrogant and simplistic, but I believe it nevertheless). So it is with Joe Klein’s and James Fallows’ pieces in support of Jeff Golberg’s “who will bomb these meddlesome Persians” piece. In each case, the basic thrust is that Jeff Goldberg is a serious person who has written a serious piece. In Klein’s case, this predictably devolves into “fuck you, peasants, you don’t know what journalists do”. In Fallows’ case, it ends (also predictably) with some warmed-over freshman seminar musing about action versus inaction. Both tell readers to ignore the fact that Goldberg’s Iran scare-mongering is identical to his Iraq scare-mongering, neither mentions that Goldberg continues to push the myth of an Al Qaeda/Iraq connection or that, while Goldberg was claiming to be undecided about the bombing, he was encouraging everyone’s favorite canonized cancer-victim to talk about how we had a “moral obligation” to overthrow the Iranian government.
Glenn Greenwald’s piece (that John linked to earlier) on all of this is worth reading, but I don’t think it goes quite far enough. Fallows and Klein’s aren’t just motivated by elite media’s desire to forget the Iraq War, they’re motivated by a general loyalty to their class, the class of respectable elite journalists. Given the choice between killing a million Persians and discrediting one member of their club, they’ll kill the Persians every time. Bob Somerby once quoted The Iliad in a similar context:
Lost to the clan,
lost to the hearth, lost to the old ways, that one
who lusts for the horror of war with his own people…
One should always remember with Fallows, with Klein, with nearly all establishment bloggers and opinion writers, that their loyalty is to their career and their clan, not to their country, not to mankind, not to the truth, and certainly not to you, the reader.