Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. But what does he do if there is no forest? He grows a forest to hide it in.In a certain way, these words are applicable to the body of work created so far by Glenn Greenwald, a valuable gift from one bastion of progressive thought (Salon.com) to another one (The Guardian).
Aside of his inordinate fervor to be heard and to lead the progressive masses somewhere, Greenwald has hardly an original thought or original idea to his name. Most of his "creative" activities are dedicated to hiding this sorry circumstance, and even in this he is not very successful. Here comes an example: on April 20, only five days after the Boston Marathon bombing, Ali Abunimah* publishes an article in the infamous Electronic Intifada (no link, as per our custom), titled "Obama’s rush to judgment: Was the Boston bombing really a “terrorist” act?". In this article, Mr Abunimah says:
There can be no doubt that the Boston Marathon bombing was a murderous act, but does it –– based on what is known –– fit the US government’s own definitions of “terrorism”?Being an attentive colleague of Ali Abunimah (if the assorted bunch of CiF contributors could be called "colleagues"), in no more than two days, on April 22, Greenwald fires off a broadside of his own, titled Why is Boston 'terrorism' but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine? Well, you might say, great minds think alike. Even to the tune of writing in that April 22 opus the following:
It is important to recall that other, far more lethal recent events, including the mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado and the school massacre at Sandy Hook, Connecticut have not been termed “terrorism,” nor their perpetrators labeled “terrorist” by the government. Why?
But beyond that issue, even those assuming the guilt of the Tsarnaev brothers seem to have no basis at all for claiming that this was an act of "terrorism" in a way that would meaningfully distinguish it from Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine.You may have noticed the creative element in that last quote: Greenwald added Tucson and Columbine to the Abunimah's list (I bet one of the two is less of an ardent Michael Moore's fan). Anyway, this is a good example of that Chesterton's leaf, and Greenwald does his best in this article to hide it in a forest of verbosity he grows, that will literally leave you buried in similar decaying leaves. Like his (and Abunimah's too, accidentally) reference to the point made by Alan Dershowitz and totally misinterpreted by both thinkers, like the quotation marks used for the word 'terrorism', like the vague and vacuous nods at the definition of terrorism (why the dictionary one is insufficient for the likes of Greenwald and Abunimah is known only too well). Etc.
But, thankfully, the time passes. Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the little brother, started to sing in jail, and one of the first things he blurted out was the motive. Boston Marathon bombing was clearly understood to be another terrorist act. And Mr Greenwald, like a cat that has done that thing cats prefer to do in sandboxes, applied a similar cover-up technique (I mean feverish use of hind legs, throwing sand over the proceeds). The result, which indeed reminds of feline excrement thinly covered by sand, is his article of April 25: The same motive for anti-US 'terrorism' is cited over and over. Like a wounded but brave cat, Greenwald retreats fighting. The fight starts with the already familiar quotation marks around "terrorism" and continues with the picture heading the article:
A banner reading 'United We Stand For Peace on Earth' outside the Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts.One doesn't have to be an imam to understand the meaning of that picture, does one? I say it's a good preemptive measure, if a reader had a tactless remark or two about RoP in mind.
The fighting retreat continues to the next defensive line:
News reports purporting to describe what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told US interrogators should, for several reasons, be taken with a huge grain of salt. The sources for this information are anonymous, they work for the US government, the statements were obtained with no lawyer present and no Miranda warnings given, and Tsarnaev is "grievously wounded", presumably quite medicated, and barely able to speak.Uhu... indeed, but the bird sings freely with Miranda warnings duly given, so this line is obviously too weak...
By now even Glenn Greenwald must have realized that his position is wide open to any shooter and too vulnerable to defend at this point, so he graciously gives it up:
Those caveats to the side, the reports about what motivated the Boston suspects are entirely unsurprising and, by now, quite familiar...As you can see, he gives this line of defense up only to come out swinging. And here I have to grant him a measure of creativity, because his logic is (kind of) original. According to Greenwald, various terrorists are referring to the same, more or less, root causes that brought them to try to kill as many people as possible. The causes are (quoted): killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Palestine, killing of innocent and civilian Muslim populations in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and beyond, United States presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries controlled by Muslims, US terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people, feelings about what the United States was doing in Afghanistan. And the aggrieved people quoted above are:
- Attempted "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
- Attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad
- Attempted NYC subway bomber Najibullah Zazi
- Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan
What can I say? Imagine interviewing Pol Pot and six (or ten) of his henchmen on reasons for murdering people who think differently. Or interviewing several Nazis on extermination of "untermenschen". If you are ready to accept any thesis based on it being supported by a group of people (even of the kind mentioned above), you may remain a faithful reader of that character. Especially since he knows to conclude this part of his article by the ominous:
It should go without saying that the issue here is causation, not justification or even fault.The article in question could be scrolled down for another meter (3 ft approx.) and commented upon. But by now it should go without saying that The Guardian got itself a bargain: a totally amoral, un-original and quite stupid sleazoid, who is blending in famously with the CiF crowd.
Still, one could enjoy saying it...
(*) Ali Abunimah: this
More on the subject by Marcus Brutus at Harry’s Place.