Tag Archives | Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald: Man of the Left

Over the years, some of Glenn Greenwald’s most ardent defenders, writing in VC blog comments and to me personally, have promoted the idea that he came to his foreign policy views from a unique perspective, completely independent of standard left-wing ideological commitments. Contrary to my impression based on his foreign policy writings, I was told, Greenwald has eclectic views, or, indeed, may even be a libertarian [because most of our old comments have disappeared in our transition to the new server, I can’t link to specific examples of such comments on old posts]. I happened to stumble upon a recent Greenwald column at The Guardian, his new home, which strongly suggests that Greenwald has left-wing views on economic policy, with more than a dash of conspiratorial thinking thrown in. Given the importance his fans have placed on arguing to the contrary, I thought I’d quote it here:

Exactly the same is true of Raddatz’s statements and questions about America’s entitlement programs. Here is the “question” she asked to launch the discussion:

“Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process.”

“Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?”

That Social Security is “going broke” – a core premise of her question – is, to put it as generously as possible, a claim that is dubious in the extreme. “Factually false” is more apt. This claim lies at the heart of the right-wing and neo-liberal quest to slash entitlement benefits for ordinary Americans – Ryan predictably responded by saying: “Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” – but the claim is baseless.

As the Pulitzer Prize winning former New York Times economics

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Glenn Greenwald and the Neocons

Greenwald has another post on the “Israel Firster” controversy.  It’s easy to miss this in Greenwald’s typical avalanche of verbiage, but he (finally) acknowledges that the term was originally coined by anti-Semites, and is “gratuitously inflammatory.” He analogizes it to using the word “fascist”  to describe contemporary politics or making comparisons to Nazis.

This, however, is just a side point in a screed that among other things takes to task Jeffrey Goldberg and others for “smears.” The accusation that Goldberg is accusing Greenwald and others of being anti-Semitic and anti-Israel as a way of attempting to silence them.  Goldberg can speak for himself, as he has previously in response to Greenwald. [UPDATE: VC Commentor Eyeysay notes that Greenwald was far from precise in characterizing Goldberg’s comments.]

But what I find remarkable is that in a post devoted to “smears,” “silencing,” “trite attacks,” and the misuse of language for political purposes, Greenwald refers to Goldberg as a “neocon,”  even though, to my knowledge, Goldberg’s political views are centrist leaning a bit to the left, and Goldberg has no obvious associations with the Commentary crowd or other centers of neocon thought.

More within my direct sphere of knowledge, Greenwald links to one of my posts while putting me in the category of “neocons like Goldberg.”  I’ve written about neoconservatism a fair amount, and when I’ve provided a normative opinion, I am always very critical (for example, here and here; there are other examples, but the VC’s move to a new host seems to have ruined the links, at least for now.)

Really, the only relevant things Jeffrey Goldberg and I–a moderate and a libertarian, respectively–have in common, and therefore the only reason to refer to us as “neocons,” is that we are both Jews who are far more favorably inclined toward [...]

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Kerstein on Greenwald

A few days back, Instapundit linked to this scathing and reasonably entertaining attack on Glenn Greenwald by Benjamin Kerstein. At the time, I thought about linking to it, with a post along the lines of: “here’s a link to an entertaining attack on Glenn Greenwald. It’s well-written, unfair, a bit hysterical, with some grains of truth. In other words, it’s exactly the sort of criticism that Greenwald merits, given his own writings.” I then reconsidered; even Greenwald deserves a fair shake.

But then I saw Greenwald’s response [scroll down]:

many of the most extremist neocons this morning (TNR’s Jamie Kirchick, Martin Kramer, The Weekly Standard’s John Noonan, Red State’s Josh Trevino, the “Republican Jewish Coalition”) are falling all over themselves in praise of this 2,800-word attack on me in The New Ledger for my views on Israel. Written by Benjamin Kerstein — a standard-issue, Israel-devoted neocon smear artist whose self-selected slogan is “Bostonian by birth, Israeli by choice” and who has written similar screeds about other heretics such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky (a whole blog devoted to that), and even Peter Beinart — it’s filled to the brim with trite neocon attacks that once worked to deter free debate but are now pitiable in their impotence…

I view the increasingly unhinged attacks by the worst neocon elements to be a vindication of what I’m doing. I see them as pernicious and destructive, and genuinely welcome their contempt.

So you see, Greenwald doesn’t take the opportunity to point out any actual errors or unfair statements in Kerstein’s piece, or even to simply express his contempt for Kerstein. Instead, he uses Kerstein’s piece as an opportunity to launch his own “unhinged” attack on “neocon elements,” which he seems to define as anyone who isn’t rabidly hostile to Israel like himself, [...]

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