Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Christmas Tree

Several weeks ago, after Glenn Greenwald had spent a river of adjective in a hilariously ham-handed attempt to bend a now-nearly-forgotten Twitter kerfuffle about the posting of the James Foley video into a Very Important Post About The Only Subject Glenn Greenwald Ever Talks About,  I wrote that... leads me to wonder if perhaps Mr. Greenwald isn't doing this for some other reason entirely?  If perhaps, like David Sirota and Ferguson, Mr. Greenwald isn't particularly interested in ISIS...or James Foley...or Twitter per se, but is instead laying out this elaborate, ridiculous argument (and hinging much of the rational for advancing it on the comments of a 24-year-old with a failing basic cable teevee show "If you want these companies to suppress calls for violence, as Ronan Farrow advocated...") because of a deep-seated obsession with finding a way to hang his narrow agenda like a Christmas tree ornament onto every single fucking tragedy that makes it into the headlines?

Of course, I can't read Mr. Greenwald's mind.  Yet.

But I can read his words (and even add emphasis to them):
If you want these companies to suppress calls for violence, as Ronan Farrow advocated, does that apply to all calls for violence, or only certain kinds? Should MSNBC personalities be allowed to use Twitter to advocate U.S. drone-bombing in Yemen and Somalia and justify the killing of innocent teenagers, or use Facebook to call on their government to initiate wars of aggression? How about Israelis who use Facebook to demand “vengeance” for the killing of 3 Israeli teenagers, spewing anti-Arab bigotry as they do it: should that be suppressed under this “no calls for violence” standard?

A Fox News host this week opined that all Muslims are like ISIS and can only be dealt with through “a bullet to the head”: should she, or anyone linking to her endorsement of violence (arguably genocide), be banned from Twitter and Facebook? How about Bob Beckel’s call on Fox that Julian Assange be “assassinated”: would that be allowed under Ronan Farrow’s no-calls-for-violence standard?
Now here we are, debating whether or not to go back into Iraq.


With guns.


Of course, the cast of characters has changed since the last time we were.  And this time the specific band of bad guys we assert are in Iraq are actually in Iraq.  And it appears that, with the exception of their fellow murdering lunatics, everyone in the Solar System -- from Israel to Iran to Ebola -- really, really thinks it would be a good idea for ISIS to be dead.

Is that enough of a reason for the United States to go back into the business of using bombs to adjusting the chakras of a culture we clearly do not understand?  Since there are exactly zero "good: options", from a toolbox full of terrible choices, is flying air support for other country's armies less terrible that standing aside and doing nothing at all?  Especially since it was out country that inflicted to gaping wound on Iraq which allowed the ISIS infection to spread in the first place.

Personally, I favor the "staying the Hell out" option.  We have already picked up the tab on sending the entire Iraqi Army to school long enough for each and every one of them to have three advanced degrees in marching and shooting.  Also, between them. the rest of the countries in the neighborhood certainly have more than enough collective firepower (much of is supplied by us) to take care of this.  But as little as I know about the factors as angles at play here, I do get that this ugly, complicated situation has been made infinitely more ugly and complex by George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq under false pretenses and break it beyond repair.  

So leave it to others in the same area code who are 1)  well armed, 2) in much more immediate peril than we are and therefor presumably more highly motivated to solve this problem and, 3) are versed by birth and upbringing in the long, interlacing cultural, tribal and religious realities of the region. And if a league of regional actors representing all the stakeholders wants to come to us, arm-in-arm, and ask for our temporary support with logistics and air power, well I have no particular objection to dropping a bomb on the beheaders, but I'm gonna have my assistant put that in the "parking lot" for now and we'll take those steps under advisement when such a united alliance actually shows up.

 If were going to be paternalistic clods, lets at least try to be competent paternalistic clods and insist that everyone do their own damn homework, and if you don't wanna, well I guess you're going to fail then, aren't you?

Anyway, if the White House called me and asked, that's what I'd tell them.

Meanwhile, for Mr. Greenwald, this very ugly, very tragic situation is just more Christmas tree from which he can hang his favorite ornaments (emphasis added):

...(7)  It’s easy to understand why beheading videos provoke such intense emotion: they’re savage and horrific to watch, by design. But are they more brutal than the constant, ongoing killing of civilians, including children, that the U.S. and its closest allies have been continuously perpetrating?
In 2012, for instance, Pakistani teenager Tariq Kahn attended an anti-drone meeting, and then days later, was “decapitated” by a U.S. missile - the high-tech version of beheading – and his 12-year-old cousin was also killed by that drone. Whether “intent” is one difference is quite debatable (see point 3), but the brutality is no less...
It is true that in the course of this post Mr. Greenwald makes several good points, and you can read them here, at the shiny, new media platform he now has at his disposal.

But it is also true that there is no grave or tragedy or crime scene into which Mr. Greenwald will not barge for the purpose of setting up his card table and handing out his pamphlets.


Pinkamena said...

In before DRONEGLASS BOOTLICKING STOOGE AUTHORITARIAN SECRET RIGHTY and "you suck when you're not saying what i want" and "hurr u just jelly".

And "I thought you were done with GG." Well, except for the fact that I'm saying "I thought you were done with GG". Personally even I can protest on that point - I don't need more of Saint Glenneth of Rio and his endless sanctimony, and I was hoping you could help with that.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Well, Drifty old friend, I too would just as soon not leap back into the exploding people business and I really wish they would drop the whole terrorism pretense and talk about what this is really all about... but nobody gives a damn what I think and I really do think that the calm black guy (remember him, everybody, the guy who did not freak out in the aftermath of the 2008 meltdown not that he gets any credit for it) will bungle the operation quite a bit less than the blood drinking ghouls who preceded him in the White House. If that makes me a baby killer, at least I have a cool hat.

n1ck said...

If bombs and bullets were able to fix the Middle East, wouldn't it be a fucking utopia by now?

But, my opinion doesn't matter. The cowards and bedwetters are in charge of the ordinance and the checkbook.

Hopefully the people who are actually over there can do the heavy lifting so that our bombs don't make everything infinitely worse.