Thursday, June 14, 2012

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Over at the Juice, John Cole asks:

I know this is Greenwald, so some of you are just going to lose your shit whenever you read the link, but someone please explain to me why this is so controversial:

OK, I'll bite.  What's he got to say?

Far from believing that another 9/11 can’t happen, I’m amazed that it hasn’t already, and am quite confident that at some point it will. How could any rational person expect their government to spend a full decade (and counting) invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting huge numbers of innocent children, women and men in multiple countries and not have its victims and their compatriots be increasingly eager to return the violence?

Just consider what one single, isolated attack on American soil more than a decade ago did to Sullivan, Packer and company: the desire for violence which that one attack 11 years ago unleashed is seemingly boundless by time or intensity. Given the ongoing American quest for violence from that one-day attack, just imagine the impact which continuous attacks over the course of a full decade must have on those whom we’ve been invading, droning, cluster-bombing, occupying, detaining without charges, and indiscriminately shooting.

OK.   At best, this is two wrongs coming together and having wild, passionate wrong sex, getting preggers, and certainly not making a right in the process.  At worst, this is Greenwald, a man who claims that he's interested in peace, justifying boatloads of bloody violence against Americans while being safe in Rio, using much the same logic we've seen from the terrorists themselves.

I'm going to say "I'm surprised Islamist fundamentalists haven't killed more of you" from a disgruntled American ex-pat sufficiently qualifies as controversial, John.  That's being diplomatic.  Even if you can see Greenwald's point (which I can, we have killed the purple quadratic hell out of a lot of people in that region in the last decade), I would still not hesitate to call the use of that point to then seek to justify violence in return very the hell controversial.

You can argue the point, but it's a controversial one, period.

[UPDATEBooMan does indeed argue the point and does so far better than I.

It's actually frustrating that Greenwald won't acknowledge any legitimate rationale for going after people who are plotting (or have plotted) attacks against civilian aircraft or other American interests, including our soldiers in the field. How does Greenwald think the president should handle the folks in Yemen who have been trying to explode bombs on our planes? How does he think Obama can morally and responsibly extract our military forces from Afghanistan? What it permissible when it comes to bringing the people responsible for 9/11 to justice?

If he were more willing to explore these types of questions, it would be a lot easier to debate him. But his overall point is valid. The way we conduct our foreign policy in the Muslim world creates a lot of new enemies and that does suggest that our policies aren't making us safer. And even if they are making us safer, our actions are of questionable morality and come at an unacceptable cost to the integrity of our criminal justice system and our civil liberties. 

I agree with BooMan totally on both points.  He does have a valid point, but he's not trying to argue anything, he's acting like he's already won and is looking to justify his point in hindsight.  It's a decent argument given the shabbiest of treatments.

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