So Many Strawmen, So Many Words To Knock Them Down

Shorter Glenn Greenwald: Eric Holder is asserting the president has the right to kill US citizens, contrary to what he said while Bush was president, therefore ALL Democrats have abandoned their principles regarding the War on Terror. And  I declare my position to be on the fringe, so I’m courageous. Also, too.

I’ve had my eyes opened to Glenn Greenwald’s persistent intellectual dishonesty a while now, but since President Obama brought Osama bin Laden to justice, Greenwald has gone full-on Pinocchio. Every column he’s produced since then has been an exercise in constructing self-aggrandising, supercilious strawmen. Take his latest, where 3/4 of the column is spent pointing out things administration figures and liberals have said supporting the idea of Terrorists (capitalisation is Greenwald’s – evocative of his permanent snideness) being tried and convicted like the criminals they are, before pronouncing:

“That view now, of course — once the centerpiece of the Democratic Party’s Terrorism arguments — is decreed to be a fringe and radical view.”

He then proceeds to offer not one shred of evidence showing that this is the case.  This is unsurprising, for no one either in the Obama Administration, the Democratic Party (save perhaps Joe Lieberman, and he is hardly a Democrat) or any mainstream liberal figures have ‘decreed’ this, much less changed their minds that trying and convicting terrorists is the ideal, and right path to take. And in his haste to pin down Eric Holder for hypocrisy, Greenwald chooses to forget that this is the same Eric Holder who fought very hard to bring KSM to trial, in a civilian court, in New York, because that would blow the straw right out of Glenn’s hands. By supporting Awlaki’s assassination, Holder isn’t so much guilty of hypocrisy as of accommodating to reality, which to an ideologue like Greenwald is the worst sin of all.

The problem with Greenwald’s defence of  Awlaki’s right to a trial and his opposition to bin Laden’s killing is that both these men repeatedly proved by their own words and deeds that they are indeed terrorists, or serving the terrorist cause. Bin Laden repeatedly and gleefully admitted to being behind 9/11. Awlaki doesn’t consider himself American and calls for attacks against America and the death of Americans. The man has to all intents and purposes renounced his citizenship. Both called for jihad against America, are/were an active and present danger to America and so the American president has every right to treat them as enemy combatants. Furthermore America has killed citizens who threaten other US citizens’ lives all the time – how many hostage situations have ended with the shooter being shot dead? Plenty. This is neither as abhorrent, nor as singular, nor as dangerous as Greenwald would like you to believe.