I used to admire Greewald’s work, and he still does some worthwhile stuff, but too often he’s just looking for an excuse to get into some windy blogfight, which is basically what he’s doing here. There are plenty of ways to disagree with McArdle and Drezner on the merits (as there are substantive points to engage), but Greenwald ignores all this, pretends not to understand the difference between ‘is’ and ‘ought’, and accuses them out of the clear blue sky of supporting torture. It’s unfortunate, because he’s really talented at laying out lucid, logical arguments when he puts his mind to it. [...] I suspect Greenwald knows what he is doing here, I suspect he’s trying to raise a little hell in order to force discussion of his own (mostly substantive) media criticism. While we nice liberals wring our hands about ‘the hack gap’, Greenwald rushes unto the breach. Perhaps it is effective. Or maybe he just enjoys putting on a show. In any case, it’s depressing to watch.
It is doubly depressing because I actually agree with a lot of the policy points that Greenwald often makes. But - as with pundits like Ann Coulter, Michael Savage and Michael Moore - the fact that he is sometimes right does not excuse his ugly rhetoric and his willingness to blatantly misrepresent his opponents. Even when one agrees with them, one should not legitimize their loathsome behavior.
In addition to his tendentious psychoanalysis, there are two other problems to bring up:
Greenwald is now claiming he never suggested McArdle was "pro-torture". This is accurate insofar as he never actually wrote "McArdle is pro-torture". He did, however, argue that when the US government creates "a torture regime, then Megan McArdle will "[defend] it all".
So Greenwald isn't saying McArdle is "pro-torture"...just that she defend a "torture regime". That must be the kind of thing that Allahpundit likes to call nuance.
Greenwald is insisting that people "who advocate aggressive wars, such as the invasion of Iraq, are responsible for what naturally follows." Of course, torture, war crimes and lawbreaking invariably happen in just wars, too, but we're probably supposed to ignore that fact and imagine this sort of thing is uniquely "natural" in unjustified wars. Presumably, the reverse also applies and Greenwald would accept responsibility for bad things that happen as a natural result of any policies he supports.
Anyway, it's always worth pointing out that Howard Dean - who Greenwald said was "right" about Iraq - has explicitly acknowledged that the US has "always had a doctrine of preemption" and that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Dean frequently argued for unilateral invasion of Iraq regardless of imminent danger.
Finally, a happy note: all three remaining Presidential candidates vehemently oppose torture.
Except that Sen. McCain is out of step with his party for his disapproval of torture. Though his position on the issue is closer to a jello-style one currently as he tries to get the entire enterprise on board with his campaign.
Except that Sen. McCain is out of step with his party for his disapproval of torture.
Sadly, too many Republicans do support or tolerate terrible torture and detention policies. I won’t defend that at all, and I’d be very glad to see people prosecuted for it. But McCain opposes it, and the President is the one that counts.
Greenwald is insisting that people "who advocate aggressive wars, such as the invasion of Iraq, are responsible for what naturally follows."
It’s all well and good to say "if you support X, you are responsible for all the worst things that happen in connection with X," but like most other amusing games, two can play. By Greenwald rules, I hold Greenwald personally responsible for all the torture, murder, imprisonment and general mayhem that Saddam would have continued to inflict upon his people, and possibly surrounding countries as well, if Greenwald had gotten his way and we had not invaded.