Glenn Greenwald’s Hilarious Denial About His Support for Iraq War

FILED TO: Politics Abroad

Greenwald: Supported the Iraq war whether he likes it or not

Greenwald: Supported the Iraq war whether he likes it or not

Perhaps I should take a break from lobbing grenades at Glenn Greenwald. After all, I do actually agree with him far more than I disagree. It’s just that, well, he’s unbelievably irritating and the more I read him the more annoyed I get.

We had a pretty big traffic spike here at the Banter over the past couple of days, mostly because Sam Harris linked to us in a piece he wrote defending himself from Glenn Greenwald’s assertion that he was a closet racist. I’m actually (mostly) siding with Greenwald on the debate because I find Harris to be a pedantic fundamentalist when it comes to his anti religious views, and I believe Greenwald correctly nails him for disproportionally focusing on Islam. [I see this as a common meme amongst atheist fundamentalists – a complete inability to understand that any ideology, whether it be political, spiritual, religious or economic can be distorted by humans to evil ends. Harris relentlessly focuses on religion – particularly Islam – and it is, to be frank, rather childish. Human conflict almost always boils down to resources and who controls them, and ideology a convenient pretext.]

This isn’t to say Harris doesn’t have anything interesting to say – he does and he makes a number of good points in his debate with Greenwald. Which brings me to the war with Iraq and Greenwald’s infuriating hypocrisy on the subject. Harris linked to a short piece I wrote last year in regards to Greenwald’s initial support for the Iraq war, stating the following:

I have never written or spoken in support of the war in Iraq. This has not stopped a “journalist” like Glenn Greenwald from castigating me as a warmonger (Which is especially rich, given that he supported the war.) The truth is, I have never known what to think about this war, apart from the obvious: 1) prospectively, it seemed like a very dangerous distraction from the ongoing war in Afghanistan; 2) retrospectively, it was a disaster.  Much of the responsibility for this disaster falls on the Bush administration, and one of the administration’s great failings was to underestimate the religious sectarianism of the Iraqi people.

Greenwald confessed to general political apathy this in his book ‘How Would a Patriot Act?’ and admitted that despite his doubts about the war:

I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.

Fast forward to 2013, and Greenwald apparently didn’t actually give the Bush administration the ‘benefit of the doubt’, ‘trust and defer to them’, or ‘accept their judgement’ that  the invasion of Iraq would have ‘enhanced’ US security. In a piece titled ‘Frequently Told Lies‘, Greenwald penned a lengthy retort to a number of supposed myths told about him by progressives. Amazingly, he stated:

These claim [sic] are absolutely false. They come from a complete distortion of the Preface I wrote to my own 2006 book, How Would a Patriot Act?…

When the Iraq War was debated and then commenced, I was not a writer. I was not a journalist. I was not politically engaged or active. I never played any role in political debates or controversies. Unlike the countless beloved Democrats who actually did support the war – including Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – I had no platform or role in politics of any kind.

I never once wrote in favor of the Iraq War or argued for it in any way, shape or form.Ask anyone who claims that I “supported” the Iraq War to point to a single instance where I ever supported or defended it in any way. There is no such instance. It’s a pure fabrication.

So Greenwald didn’t technically support the war because he wasn’t yelling on MSNBC that America should trust George Bush, and you can’t find written record of him saying it either. You see, Greenwald can’t be painted with the same brush he paints everyone else who supported the war with, because was apathetic at the time and didn’t have a blog.

Look, I think it’s a great thing that Greenwald did an about turn on the Bush Administration and their astonishing lies. Greenwald clearly woke up from his apathy and relentlessly cataloged the administration’s severe abuses of power and hammered them for it until Bush and Cheney left in 2008. But he can’t lecture people who initially supported the Iraq war then turned against it when he did exactly the same thing. Virtually everyone who supported the Iraq war has used the same defense – “Had I known then what I know now, I would not have supported it”. Greenwald is a former constitutional lawyer, so he knows how to argue on technicalities, and that’s exactly what he is doing – using semantics to disguise the fact that he supported one of the dumbest wars in history.

It’s highly embarrassing  and I understand why Greenwald went to great lengths to obfuscate his support for the Bush administration’s catastrophic decision to invade Iraq.

But he did, and he should be big enough to admit it.


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  • bert Mcgert

    then stop “reading him” you little fuck face.

  • rch427

    Yeah, I’m late to the party, but linking here from Sam Harris’ site I had to alternately laugh, cringe and head-desk — especially after reading Cohen spout this nonsense about Harris’ focus on Islam: “…any ideology, whether it be political, spiritual, religious or economic can be distorted by humans to evil ends.”

    “Can be”, true, but not “is”. Try citing an example of Jain ideology being distorted to evil ends, or Quaker ideology. Good luck. Cohen is playing a thought game here while also positing an utterly false equivalency — the same sort where, in response to someone saying that drinking to much everclear can kill you, a person retorts “drinking too much WATER can kill you”. Factually correct but irrelevant and useless.

    Cohen conveniently ignores the immensely disproportionate example-base from just one particular ideology that has been used “by humans to evil ends” . Some of that has to be attributed to Islam’s ability to be used for evil ends *without* any distortion being necessary. It does, after all, explicitly exhort its faithful to take arms against kuffar (nonbelievers), to oppress women and so on. That gives it an immense head-start in the possible “evil ends” department, which is statistically borne out over the past two decades of history; Islam is by far the ideology most productive of “evil ends”.

    Cohen continues “Human conflict almost always boils down to resources and who controls them, and ideology a convenient pretext.”

    “Almost always”, eh? Nice weasel words. What “resources” or “who controls them” had any bearing on Nadal Malik Hasan’s massacre at Fort Hood? What “resources” or control of them is to blame for the rioting and killings over the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon controversy? How ’bout on the fatwa placed upon Salman Rushdie? -or the assassination of Theo van Gogh? None; these were entirely ideologically-driven, as have been most atrocities committed by Muslims for the past 20 years. Indeed, the vast majority of atrocities committed in the world over the past two decades have had little to do with resources and much to do with ideology and much to do with what Muhammad supposedly dictated 1,300 years ago.

  • Edo

    He asks of proof, where the freaking hell is the proof in your piece? BTW he links too the article in that piece where he showed Sam Harris talking about that article. It’s incredible how blatant that lie is.

    • reanimate

      Yeah, well…keep in mind that mainstream Democrats often see Glenn Greenwald as their “enemy” because he isn’t afraid to criticize both parties when they violate civil liberties and engage in illegal wars.

      This site is especially antagonistic towards Greenwald. Hence the character assassination attempt even though there’s basically nothing behind it at all.

      Another lie that keeps getting repeated is that Greenwald is a “right wing libertarian” who works for the Cato Institute. I looked this up and the entire basis of this claim seems to be that Greenwald wrote a paper for Cato about drug policy reform (not exactly a right-wing cause) and participated in an event at Cato where he debated conservatives about civil liberties.

  • reanimate

    So Greenwald’s apathy and non-involvement with politics = support?

    Seems like pretty thin gruel.

    • Edo

      This is really a extremely strange article. It offers no proof what so ever, yet it’s extremely confident of it’s case. Until you offer some shred of evidence, Glenn Greenwald just is completely right. He probably didn’t supposed the war, nor thought anything about it, it wasn’t yet a topic he was interested in. Which means, his claims that these are lies are absolutely correct.

      • Guest

        so yeah, I agree with you.

    • Edo

      So I agree with you.

  • Nicholas Cerce

    nothing but haters on this comment list. blabbering…idiotic haters…you talk of greenwald sitting on his ass when your all being coffee shop revolutionarys sitting on your asses arguing in a comment box no one truly cares about instead of helping change. boy see how easy it is to point the finger? stop trying to rip apart truth. if we don’t unite soon where all friggin screwed and who’s party train you ride isn’t ganna matter truth is truth no matters whose mouth it comes from.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    Greenwald’s “I was naive” excuse sounds like complete bullshit to me. I might believe it if he were 16, but he was 36 when war was declared.

  • thuggyBear

    Giving the administration the benefit of the doubt doen;t really count as supporting the war- it sounds more like he just didn’t give a shit until he became politically active.

    • Susan Wood

      Unless of course the administration to which you want to give the benefit of the doubt is Obama’s. Dare you suggest as I once did in a comment thread on one of his columns about the targeting of Anwar Al Awlaki for a drone strike that sometimes a leader has no good options available, and has to pick the one that will cause the least damage? Then you are evil, fascist, an apologist for drone strikes, murder, surveillance honk blat honk blat honk blat and besides you’re a HYPOCRITE because you criticized Bush but not Obama. More often than not, Glen Greenwald has been on the right side of moral issues, but he’s also one of the most unendurably sanctimonious people in creation.

      • thuggyBear

        And we do hate sanctimony, don’t we?

        I think there is a difference between someone who ignore politics and when asked, shrugs and says “It’s all good, dude” and someone who actively comments one posts.

        One isn’t paying attention and just goes where they are told (this seems to be how Greenwald unflatteringly describes himself). The other, like the person who supports drone strike/signature strikes in comments/blog posts/etc, has consciously entering into the public discourse and has invited comment. There’s nothing wrong with criticizing public statements.

        I have several friends (though some of them are not quite as sure as they once were) who think it is OK for Obama to order people to be killed in their own country because they look “terrorist-ish”- this is the very definition of a “signature strike”. They believe that Obama should be able to do this because he is handsome and delivers pre-written speeches in an inspiring manner. Also, he’s a Democrat.

        However, when these same people are asked how they would feel about President Cruz, Sessions, Bachmann, Perry, Caine, Gingrich having those same powers, they are whole-heartedly horrified.

        Some of us think that the law applies to both people we like as well as people we don’t like. When Obama blows up a goat herder’s family based on fabricated evidence, those children are just as dead as if Bush had given the order.

        And yes, if you criticize Bush and not Obama for doing the same things, you are a hypocrite. That’s what that work means, if you were confused.

        • Susan Wood

          Yes, when anyone makes a public statement, one can expect responses. Glenn Greenwald just can’t deal with any that disagree with him, even in the mildest terms, and his instant response is that you are trying to silence him, make him shut up, make him stop criticizing Obama etc. For the record, I never told Glenn to shut up (fat chance of that happening anyway). What I did say was that in some situations a President has no good options and has to choose the least bad. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for any policy, I don’t think, unless you see the world in very binary terms.

          • thuggyBear

            And then Greenwald called you a evil fascist apologist for drone strikes, murder and surveillance?

            Do you have a link? I’d like to see this.

          • Rob26

            Depending on the day, he just might claim those who disagree with him on drones have an insatiable thirst for killing Muslims.

            So instead of being an “evil fascist apologist for drone strikes, murder and surveillance,” you’re simply an outright bloodthirsty lunatic.

            Here’s your link. Hope you like seeing it.


          • thuggyBear

            1) Twitter’s 140 character limit does make nuance difficult.

            2) Hyperbole: the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally.

  • Paul Strait

    This is silly. The only reason you know about what he thought about the Iraq War at the time is that he published it. He didn’t keep it a secret. He doesn’t criticize people for changing their mind about the war, but for denying that they ever did (which he clearly doesn’t do, obviously, or how else would you know about it). And brushing aside the fact that he didn’t actually, you know, *support* the war in public is stupid. That is a critical fact. He might have personally accepted at the time the explanation for the war, but he did nothing to support the effort. What is your beef with Greenwald really about?

    • BodieF

      They hate him for speaking truth about President Obama. The center left Democratic machine supporters hate the truth. This article is worthy of something Sean Hannity would have on his show. Complete misinformation and spin.

  • Simon Jm

    I suppose this depends on how sincere you think he is. There are times when just wars can be fought, and one hopes the people and institutions making the decisions are competent and not corrupt. There is nothing wrong with such a stance in principle. In practice given the history of the US that’s a naive call to make, but he then reversed that decision. I would have thought unless he was a cheerleader -& I don’t think he was- for the war, it’s not so far fetched to claim he didn’t ‘support’ the war but rather the principle of justified military interventions by competent and objective people within the government. my 2cents worth anyway

  • Jacob Black

    You rebuke Greenwald for overt lies and deliberate misconstructions of what he has said in the past. I appreciate that you have helped people realize this about him.

    Your rebuke of Harris is that he’s too pendantic? Or too fundamentalist? Because human greed underlies all abuse and ideologies are just a convenient mechanism, right? So there are no bad ideologies, according to your view, because after all “it’s the resources stupid.” I think I’ll stick with the pendant.

  • Bill Owen

    I can see that this is a class operation here. Anyone questioning the orthodoxy and parlous logic is attacked and denigrated with childish ad hominem attacks. I guess I should have known that just by reading the weak, ill informed and viperous attacks on Greenwald. Based on what? Nothing really.

    • Lady Willpower

      Based on the words that Glenn Greenwald has written and said.

  • Zach Sears

    Wow, equating someone saying that they were giving Bush the benefit of the doubt in regards to his Iraq policy while writing a book about his political awakening that goes on to attack the Iraq war and Bush policies is a mischaracterization of monumental proportions. This is nearly as bad as Harris’ attack against Glenn stating he viewed Islamic extremists as a threat which is an obvious straw man considering he has never stated they were not a threat but simply that Harris overhypes it to a state of “anti muslim animus”. With all the attacks on Greenwald in the midst of this controversy I find it admirable that GG work deals with attacks on Harris’ work not his personal character.

    • kfreed

      And yet, he clearly supported the invasion of Iraq before he didn’t. Question is, why is he denying it? Maybe his attacks on others for doing the same wouldn’t go over so well, eh?

      • Zach Sears

        He’s not denying anything but a mischaracterization of his views. He was simply stating that in his politically apathetic state he gave bush “the benefit of the doubt” in regards to the writing. Have you read the book? If no go read and then come tell me that Greenwald supported the Iraq war. He has never advocated for it in writing and this is a character attack being used by Harris and Dawkins to discredit Greenwald’s character rather than actually discussing the ideas in question. If you actually read the book you’ll find out that he essentially argues he was wrong to trust the president on matters of national security and there’s no evidence Greenwald actually supported the Iraq war.

  • kfreed

    Basically, Greenwald is bald-faced lying, is what you’re trying to tell us.

  • mrbrink

    Pardon me, but in ‘Frequently Told Lies':

    “It is true that I defended the First Amendment free speech rights of white supremacists and other people with heinous views – in exactly the way the ACLU has defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. I’m immensely proud of that work: I would do it again in an instance…”

    Ha ha. Sure he is. He’s just like the ACLU if the ACLU were a blogger with perception and credibility issues. Wear it like a badge, dude. Because as the go-to guy for the answers to all the injustice that lay before us here in the exotic Brazilian rain forests of American voter suppression and states’ rights attacks on women’s reproductive rights, it’s peculiar how every time Greenwald gets there with his Jack Sparrow compass people of color and exploited minorities are all defended up. All that’s left are the pedophiles and the white supremacists! What’s Greenwald supposed to do?

    The guy has no sense of humor when he crashes and burns and he apologizes for nothing. He spent weeks pissing in Elena Kagan’s well. He was merciless. By the time the Senate vote rolled around, if you had read Greenwald exclusively, you should have walked away with the bitter taste of hopelessness and irreversible disappointment in Elena Kagan and the Obama administration. And that matters, if we’re talking about actual champions of attainable progress because it was Justice Kagan who, with empathy and disarming wit as her rhetorical weapons of choice– made what is arguably the strongest argument for marriage equality any sitting Justice has ever recorded.

    For me, it isn’t just the willful naivete, indifference, or dispassionate support for the lead up– bombing and invasion– of Iraq, or his inability to see how his lack of skepticism over the Bush administration– an administration that was comprised of biblical fascists and arms dealing oil men– is just too naive for words. In Greenwald’s written recollection of the Bush administration and the lead up to shock and awe, he’s bearing his core instincts and political perceptions. For me, he’s just a little too skittish and untrustworthy for someone with a license to drive the progressive bus. In all his “Hillary, Biden, and Obama= warcrimals worse than Bush”– He’s looks to me like someone trying really hard to overcompensate for that permanent blind spot that continues to afflict his handicapped panorama.

    • kfreed

      Nicely done. Way past time for progressives to stop groveling before the Libertarian Tea Party pusher.

      “…unapologetically sticking up for white supremacists is just one of the reasons why his opinion will always mean shit to me.”


      Speaking of sticking up for white supremacists, the one example of Greenwald’s escapades as a defense attorney available to us via the Intertubes happened to involve his acting as defense council for a white supremacist in a murder case, in which Greenwald’s unethical behavior was sanctioned by the court no less.

      Thus, the Glenster probably ought not to be hurling accusations of racism around will nilly.

      • Jon Hendry

        And the unethical behavior Greenwald was sanctioned for was…

        wait for it…

        secret, unauthorized taping of phone conversations with persons involved in the case.

        I guess Greenwald was for it before he was against it.

        • thuggyBear

          What about the multiple charges of spousal abuse abuse that have been filed against you?

          I mean, since we’re leveling unsubstantiated charges at each other.

          • Jon Hendry

            Okay, he wasn’t sanctioned.

            But he was recording witnesses without their notification.


            ” Defendants’ counsel recorded telephone conversations with various third party witnesses, without disclosing to those witnesses that they were being recorded.”

            Recording telephone conversations without notifying all parties is illegal in some states. Greenwald falls back on it being legal in NY. But then, the NSA argues that its wiretaps and data collection are permitted by law.

          • thuggyBear

            Yes. Those are exactly the same thing. When somebody “falls back on” things being legal, it’s exactly the same thing as the government expressly, unambiguously and blatantly violating the Fourth Amendment.

            I wish he would shut up and let the government develop a nice, thick dossier on me while they shroud themselves in secrecy. I have nothing to fear. Things like the Red Scare and COINTELPRO would never happen here in the United States.

            What is it they say? “Absolute power guarantees total trustworthiness?”

      • thuggyBear

        Obviously, lawyers should only believe in due process for nice people.

        • kfreed

          Obviously, lawyers shouldn’t be in the business of illegally recording the victims of their white supremacist clients:)

    • MarshallLucky

      The multiple insinuations that Greenwald is a white supremacist are completely asinine. You are aware that his partner is a person of color, correct? And that his most impassioned work involves sticking up for the rights of Arab-Americans and Muslims in general? If you can’t criticize the man without resorting to this kind of idiotic character assassination, maybe he’s not as easy to discredit as you say he is.

      • mrbrink

        I believe the legal term for that is called, “innocent by association.”

      • Rob26

        Here’s Greenwald on immigration:

        “The parade of evils caused by illegal immigration is widely known, and it gets worse every day. In short, illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone. Few people dispute this, and yet nothing is done.”

        And of course Klansmen and Nazis have a right to a lawyer, but while defending his Nazi clients, Greenwald went out of his way to gratuitously attack Nazi shooting victims (and their lawyers) as “odious and repugnant.” And who were the victims? A black man shot while standing in his driveway and Jewish teenagers shot for being in a park. And some of the lawyers attacked were working on the case through Bill Kunstler’s Center for Constitutional Rights. They were founded by lawyers who’d represented the civil rights movement in the south.

        As for Arabs and Muslims “in general,” he only cares about sticking up for them if the cases involve the US or Israel. Otherwise, he couldn’t care less. You’ll never see him writing tomes about the tens of thousands of dead Muslims in Syria. Or anywhere else for that matter. Muslims being slaughtered in Myanmar? Silence. Muslims being slaughtered in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan by other Muslims. Silence. Palestinians being executed and dragged through the streets by Hamas? Silence.

        • Bill Owen

          Weak. Love to read some the shit you written in the past. Why not deal with who he is now, or would you rather just continue with this bullshit.

          Why did you leave out his response?

          That was a 6 yrs ago: 3 weeks after I began blogging, when I had zero readers. I’ve discussed many times before how there were many uninformed things I believed back then, before I focused on politics full-time – due to uncritically ingesting conventional wisdom, propaganda, etc. I’ve written many times since then about how immigrants are exploited by the Right for fear-mongering purposes. I’m 100% in favor of amnesty, think defeat of the DREAM Act was an act of evil, etc. That said, I do think illegal immigration is a serious problem: having millions of people live without legal rights; having a legal scheme that is so pervasively disregarded breeds contempt for the rule of law; virtually every country – not just the U.S. insists on border control because having a manageable immigration process is vital on multiple levels. But that post is something I wrote literally a few weeks after I began blogging when nobody was reading my blog; it was anything but thoughtful, contemplative, and informed, and – like so many things I thought were true then – has nothing to do with what I believe now.

          That’s why Obama cultists have to dig back 6 years into my archives to try to find things to discredit me.

          • Rob26

            You’re a hoot, Bill. Why don’t you read that tripe again and see what’s staring you in the face. Here, in case you willfully ignore it again:

            “That said, I do think illegal immigration is a serious problem: having millions of people live without legal rights; having a legal scheme that is so pervasively disregarded breeds contempt for the rule of law; virtually every country – not just the U.S. insists on border control because having a manageable immigration process is vital on multiple levels.”

            All that’s changed, it seems, is that he now knows enough not to attack Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, etc., as “evil.” That might interfere with his speaking tours and TV appearances, but essentially, he said the same thing he did in 2005.

            Break that down, Bill, and then get back to me.

            As for pissing all over what I wrote years ago, knock yourself out. It’s all there on the interwebs. Have fun. You’ll only be pissing on yourself.

          • Terry5135

            On the comments on illegal immigrants – here I think you could argue that at the very least, he ought to have said more. But I don’t know if your quote is comprehensive. What he says in that quote is correct, but it’s insufficient and the net result – as far as that quote on its own goes – is a focus in the wrong direction. I’ve had my own complaints here or there about Greenwald, Rob, but I don’t think – thus far – that they are egregious departures from his central messages, so I voice my thoughts in comments and move on. Were I blogging, he’d be at the bottom of my list to blog about. Unless I got really annoyed about something. Are you really annoyed about his attitude toward illegal immigrants?

            There’s a radio host here who, IMO, hates the poor.; He never said so and if it was put to him, I have no doubt that he’d deny it vehemently. One day, I can’t remember exactly the wording, but he expressed concern about certain kinds of people moving in next door. He meant the riff raff. It infuriated me. In all honesty, I wouldn’t want the riff raff next door either – I’ve been there (but then I’ve also had major headaches with the ‘respectable’ next door too, but that’s another story) – but I wouldn’t address that in regard to classes of people, but something else entirely. This is because I see people as dynamic and the riff raff can change rapidly when circumstances change (perhaps not quote so rapidly as in ‘Trading Places’, heh). I’m not worried about those riff raff. The riff raff in suits is what worries me. But this guy would never get into that shit, the entire substance of what he addresses and doesn’t address is quite significant. But that’s an overall take on the man. I don’t have that take on Greenwald, even if there are patches here or there that I might challenge.

            Let’s not lose the forest for the trees. This isn’t a complaint about Greenwald and illegals. It’s much more broad based than that. Your very first paragraph says it all. You have apparently been lobbing grenades against him and think he deserves a break, since after all, you agree with far more than you disagree with. But he irritates you. And thus, you spend the remainder of the blog entry lobbing grenades at him. Some break, please don’t ever give me one. You don’t like the guy, even if you usually agree with him, and I’d like to know why. I don’t like the radio host I mentioned, because he always sides with the rich and the system and against the marginalized, the poor, and the disgruntled. In specific, he can have quite enjoyable chats about things, but it doesn’t change the essence.

            So, since you deflected my question about your main complaint, I’ll put it this way – why do you dislike this guy so much?

        • Terry5135

          So what’s the main complaint, Rob? That he used to think differently than now or are you upset about the things he doesn’t write about? Just out of curiosity, are you familiar with General Smedley Butler?

          • Rob26

            Think I made my complaints clear enough, Terry. And Glenn Greenwald is no Smedley Butler. Butler actually participated in what he eventually fought against. Glenn just sat on his ass for most of his adult life, including mindlessly supporting Bush when it mattered most that people oppose him. As for what he doesn’t write about, you’d think a man so passionate about Muslim deaths might spare a paragraph or two about what I pointed out. But he doesn’t, because he couldn’t care less.

          • Terry5135

            Rob, I didn’t say Greenwald is a Smedley Butler. Please, I know you can follow a simple analogy of a characteristic or an aspect. The point was that Butler changed – much more than Greenwald, in fact. Greenwald sat on his ass you say? Butler actively lead military invasions and incursions. As for what he doesn’t write about, first of all, I don’t know – and you don’t know – what he cares less about. My point was that I really can’t concern myself with what a blogger does not say (except where lying by omission). A politician, yes, a Corporate leader, yes, the things they don’t do are very important – but a writer? No. To each his own Rob, but I don’t think it’s a legitimate complaint. Yes, I did read your complaints, but something doesn’t sit right. Sorry. There’s something that gnaws at you about Greenwald and I can’t quite see what it is, but I do not believe it’s in those complaints. You’re an intelligent guy, you write intelligent things, but somehow here the reaction exceeds the crime. And that always makes me wonder.

          • thuggyBear

            He cares about what •his own country• is doing.

            “Glenn just sat on his ass for most of his adult life, including mindlessly supporting Bush when it mattered most that people oppose him.”

            Is there statute of limitations on the political process? It was the criminal behavior of the Bush administration that got him to •change careers• and write THREE books about the evils of the Bush adminstration.

            What the hell have you done?

          • kfreed

            Greenwald hasn’t changed his stripes, just his costume.

          • Terry5135

            I don’t have much time for bigots, no matter what sort of stripes they’ve got tattooed on their asses. So go stalk someone else.

          • kfreed

            Way to live up to that Paultard standard.

          • thuggyBear

            What does this even mean?

        • thuggyBear

          “As for Arabs and Muslims “in general,” he only cares about sticking up for them if the cases involve the US or Israel.”

          Yes, clearly Greenwald should spend more time criticizing other countries, rather then participating in the political process of his own.

          • Jeremy Grunloh

            Yes, he should spend more time criticizing Brazil. I agree.

    • thuggyBear

      “his lack of skepticism over the Bush administration”

      What is it that makes people who don’t know what they are talking about post such passionate BS?

      Perhaps you have heard of these books:

      How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok by Glenn Greenwald (May 15, 2006)

      A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency by Glenn Greenwald (Apr 8, 2008)

      Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics by Glenn Greenwald (Oct 7, 2008)

      I’m going to guess from these titles that he had at least some small amount of skepticism.

      • Jon Hendry

        2006 is pretty late in the game for someone to become “skeptical” of Bush, let alone an alleged libertarian.

        Most likely he figured he could cash in.

        • thuggyBear

          Seems kind of late to start commenting on this thread. Cashing in?

  • Bill Owen

    It’s totally amazing that Cohen (who?) claims to know more about what Greenwald “supported” than the man himself. What idiocy. pfft

    • Benthedailybanter

      what does that even mean Bill? If you have something relevant to say about the article, say it. Don’t just leave brain farts.

      • Terry5135

        That’s not what “brain farts” mean, nor a context in which it can be applied. If you have something relevant to say, don’t just leave farts on the page, Ben.

        • Benthedailybanter

          I was asking Bill to articulate his point rather than leaving incomplete passing thoughts that don’t add anything to the debate. In my book, that constitutes a ‘brain fart’.

          • Terry5135

            Well, ‘brain fart’ is in common usage and has meaning(s). It’s not up to whatever you put in your book. And, incidentally, don’t grace your comment by describing it as “asking Bill to articulate his point.” Or else I can just call you an ‘ignorant git’ and describe it as ‘requesting clarification’.

          • Benthedailybanter

            ‘Brain fart’ is a slang term you idiot – it can mean a number of things. And I’ll ‘grace’ my comment in any way I choose. I’m not asking for your permission.

          • Terry5135

            Yes, I said it has “meaning(s)” – none of which are what you meant. Instead of sputtering so, why don’t you just look it up, then look at your comment and think back to what you meant.

          • Bill Owen

            Insults are the last refuge of those without an argument Ben. So sad.

          • Benthedailybanter

            Well Bill, I’ve articulate my argument with evidence (see above article). Thus far, you’ve left some snide comments with nothing to back them up with.

          • Bill Owen

            I don’t see the point. Your mind seems made up. The Glenn Greenwald you describe is not the person I have been reading these many years. I see it as some kind of attack that is essentially meaningless as whatever he was, it is not what he is now. We have all said incredibly stupid things. We have all made mistakes. You have stated that cannot forgive him for his putative stance on the war. I don’t agree that that was his stance, but even if it was, I think he now on the side of the angels on most issues. But you obviously disagree. So I will leave it at that.

            I did read some of your other work and enjoyed it.



          • Benthedailybanter

            Bill, look, I’m sorry if my tone was rude. I hear what you are saying. I’m attacking Greenwald because I think the tone he takes is completely unproductive and renders his excellent work effectively useless. He’s ranting to an audience who already agree with him – which is fine if you want to be successful writer etc, but not if you are concerned with helping a broader audience understand how their democracy is being dismantled. Greenwald turns huge amounts of otherwise receptive liberals (and conservatives) off with his moral lecturing and holier than thou attitude, and he needs to get taken down a peg or two. At least that’s the way I see it. I still read his work because he provides an awful lot of illuminating material, but I find it extremely trying given his almost aspergian focus on a couple of pet topics and never ending need to prove he’s right about absolutely everything. I do appreciate your conciliatory response – hope I haven’t offended.

          • Bill Owen

            Absolutely not Ben, I am a long time on the internets, and know how easy it is to get off on the wrong foot.
            Actually you do make some good points about Glenn going on the attack. It does alienate people. He mostly does that in the comments though as I read him. He is a passionate guy. Not sure how much room there is between the two camps, “Obama is a good guy” and “Obama is a murdering, civil liberties destroying monster” though. The lines have been drawn in the sand. The exercise, as always, should be to find common ground and work together on issues that we all have trouble with.



          • kfreed

            Ben… please stop apologizing. You’re being manipulated.

          • Bill Owen

            You were asking me to “articulate my point”, okay, how is this for a response, “fuck off and shove it up your weenie little ass”, by which I mean, “you have a nice website and are a wonderful human being Ben”.

            Words, what the fuck do they mean?

  • Bill Owen

    Greenwald never supported the war. Stop lying.

    • kfreed

      He admits it in his own book preface. A little too late to start denying it.

      • Terry5135

        That’s not what he admitted in his preface at all. A little too late for you to learn to read.

        • kfreed

          Ahem: Glenn Greenwald on the invasion of Iraq: preface: “How Would A Patriot Act”:

          As is quoted up top:

          “Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I ACCEPTED HIS JUDGEMENT THAT AMERICAN SECURITY WOULD BE ENHANCED BY THE INVASION OF THIS SOVEREIGN COUNTRY.

          Looks like you’re the one could use a reading comprehension lesson, yes?

          Feel free to commence eating crow. It would behoove you to read a blog post before commenting.

          • Terry5135

            Not at all, I’m well aware of the trust of Bush – pretty normal for a non-political minded American. Americans have always been blind to US foreign policy.

            You’re aware I hope that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were almost a year and a half apart. I suggest you quote more of that preface than you have if you actually have a point to make.

            Meanwhile, it’s always a good idea not to make your acceptance speeches at the same moment as you perform the deeds that you think will win you the awards. You just never know what will happen in the interim. There was a good reasons saints were traditionally not declared until after death.

            So take that crow and shove it up your arse and find a new one that you can prepare to serve if the occasion should ever arise. Meanwhile, maybe you can dine on immature prejudicial dick as only infants pat themselves on the back ordinarily.

          • kfreed

            U mad? That crow not going down easy? ROFLMAO.

            Clearly Greenwald is trying to dodge his own war-happy past. I know it’s got to be tough playing the less than credible anti-war hero when you’re in the business of attacking liberals for what again? Drones? Particularly when he was as gung-ho about invading Iraq as any right-winger.

            Even worse, liberals were the one’s protesting while pointing out that the justification for war didn’t add up from the onset. Most of us aren’t “brilliant” constitutional attorneys either, so I guess I don’t really care what excuse he pulls out of his hat. If you’re going to spend all your time ambushing lefties over war issues, you might not want to get caught with a “Mission Accomplished” bumper sticker plastered to your forehead.

            What do you care if Greenwald gets caught in lie? Aren’t you just a wee bit too agitated over it?

      • js hooper

        Greenwald can’t be held responsible for what he wrote in his own book (or even on his own blog for that matter)…The same way his idol Ron Paul can’t be held responsible for what was written under his name for 20 years…It’s Greenwald’s privilege as a white Koch Brothers affiliated libertarian to be able to rewrite his own personal history and have people blindly go along with it….It’s just “Democratic Partisans” who want to smear them by throwing his own words back in his face

        • kfreed

          Right? Selective amnesia seems to be a condition of “principled” Libertarianism, don’t it?

          Or is it more like a Newt Gingrich preemptive strike? “If you quote me, you’re lying.”

  • hidflect

    Dear Diary. Day 43 and the relentless onslaught on Glenn Greenwald continues. We all hope and pray it’ll be over by Christmas.

    • Lady Willpower

      Is this Carrie Bradshaw?

  • dfarr

    No. Greenwald is right. You can’t take his story of apathy and ignorance and claim that he supported the war. That’s like saying that Breitbart was right about Shirley Sherrod.

    • Lady Willpower

      I guess it’s just too much to expect intellectual honesty from Greenwald.

      • Terry5135

        Oh, a mindless, baseless smear from the lady without willpower. Gee, I wonder if I could do that. Let’s see… I guess something intelligent is too much to expect from Lady Willpower (not). Hey, that was easy!

        • Lady Willpower

          A “not” joke. Hello, 1991!
          There’s no way I could match wits with an intellectual giant such as yourself, so this is where I bow out gracefully.

          • Terry5135

            I hated ‘not’ jokes, or sarcasm, in 1991. This one is actually my first. Ok, so I’m 20 years late to the party. The pain! Not that I don’t appreciate being called an ‘intellectual giant’, but in the circumstance, perhaps you’re being a little generous. ‘Not’ jokes aren’t so clever.

    • Terry5135

      That’s not an unfair summation, apathy and ignorance, though it’s not quite the slant I’d use in my phrasing. Try to be a little charitable. He was no different at the time than 300 million Americans. Not half so bad as Naomi Wolf, for instance, who had no excuse.

  • MarshallLucky

    Greenwald really should own up to his support for the Iraq War, or at the very least talk about his “apathy” in more depth. The obfuscations and prickliness about it are…unworthy. It should be addressed.

    However, treating Greenwald’s indifference toward the initial invasion as some sort of grand rebuttal to his entire body of work is ridiculous, and the fixation of his opponents on that point is really pretty tired. Unless you’re prepared to castigate a wide swathe of the Democratic party, including prominent members of the current administration, feigning indignation at Greenwald’s stance is just a cheap attempt to poison the well. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. He was a private citizen at the time. He had no influence, no following, no public voice. His tacit support was meaningless, and his work since then more than compensates for his poor judgement at the time.

    As for Harris, his attempt to discredit Greenwald is just as slithery and deceptive as Glenn’s own denials. Harris may not have publicly cheered for the Iraq War the way Chris Hitchens did, but his statements since reveal a deep-seated sympathy to many of the ideological underpinnings of the war. He’s gung-ho for the War on Terror and dismissive of its abuses, and no amount of deflecting can hide that fact. Greenwald’s political apathy pales in comparison to the full-throated jingoism of Harris and Hitchens, and any attempt to conflate the two is dishonest.

    Finally, a general comment: your support for the bulk of Greenwald’s positions might be more believable if the Daily Banter didn’t devote a significant portion of its column space to taking shots at him. I get that he can be a pompous ass at times, but anti-Greenwald sniping has virtually become a weekly feature on this site. I’m sure that tossing a bone to the anti-Greenwald partisan squad doesn’t hurt traffic. It’s just that it’s incredibly petty.

    • Lady Willpower

      I think Ben is perfectly willing to castigate a wide swath of the Democratic party for their Iraq War support. I certainly am.

      • Benthedailybanter

        Yes, I don’t regard any public official or journalist who supported the war in Iraq as being credible. To me, it’s a massive black stain on their record, not only in terms of morality, but in competence. That’s the reason I supported Obama over Clinton in 2008, and will have a hard time getting behind any candidate who voted/supported it in 2016. I was against the war as soon as it became clear that Iraq was to be attacked, and I have spent the last 10 years publicly and privately blasting anyone who was involved in it.

        • MarshallLucky

          I figured someone would jump on that one. I was replying more to general criticisms of Greenwald, which do tend to treat his “support” for Iraq as some kind of scarlet letter while being considerably more understanding toward the elite politicians whose opinions actually made a difference. Just sloppy writing on my part. I didn’t mean to imply that you were making that argument, since, well, you weren’t!

          • Benthedailybanter

            Got it man! Thanks for clearing it up.

    • Benthedailybanter

      You know what, I kind of agree Marshall. Nothing you’ve said is unfair. It’s not like I’m setting out to bash Greenwald all the time though (and I think I speak for Bob and Chez here too) it’s just the guys wields so much influence in Left wing circles and uses his platform to lead his followers down a hopelessly fruitless path of massively self indulgent outrage. I get Greenwald’s point, I really do. His critiques are often excellent, and he usually applies them with great consistency (bar the Iraq war issue). I find myself agreeing with him a lot more than I disagree, but then he goes and fucks it up by being a narrow minded dick about everything. The more I read Greenwald, the more I’m convinced he’s mostly concerned about being right. I take a pretty balanced view of Obama – I see what he is trying to do, and take into account the political realities he faces. I make my judgments based not on some completely unattainable perfect moral reality, but on actual reality. Sure Obama does some awful things, but I see that as being more a function of the institution he heads up than his personal desire to kill babies with drones and rob the elderly of publicly funded health care. Greenwald will never, ever accept that and believes the constitution should be followed to the letter and used to dismantle the political system as it is. Great in Greenwald’s fantasy land, but not so much in the real world where incremental change has the power to do much good (and bad) on the ground. But back to your point – yes, perhaps we have been banging on about it too much. I’ll try to give it a rest.

      • MarshallLucky

        I appreciate the thoughtful response Ben. While I don’t share your faith in Obama’s motives, I understand your frustration with Greenwald’s tone. It seems kind of unfortunate, but it does have an impact. He is relentlessly focused on a handful of issues, deathly serious and frankly pretty humorless. It’s just that I personally think that’s appropriate given the gravity of what he’s covering, the overwhelming silence of the mainstream media on these issues, and the never-ending scorn of a big chunk of the left, who seem to view serious criticism of the Obama Administration as a personal insult.

        So yes, Greenwald sounds touchy and defensive some of the time, and he likes to get on his high horse. Frankly, he probably has good reasons for that. It’s not a positive aspect of his writing, it’s not helpful to his credibility, but for my part I’m willing to accept it in exchange for such impassioned coverage of such important issues.

        I guess that at the end of the day I value Greenwald because he’s willing to be so uncompromisingly moral and impassioned. That’s missing from so much of our political discourse on the left. We get outraged when some town clerk in Buzzard Gulch, Tennessee makes a comment about gay marriage, but drone strikes in Pakistan killing kids? Price of doing business. We’ve become top comfortable with technocratic power and too addicted to the political game. When John Stewart is the gold standard of political criticism, folks, we have a serious problem.

        • Benthedailybanter

          Again Marshall, hard to disagree with anything you say. I get your point – Greenwald does the job the mainstream media won’t, and for that he deserves credit. Perhaps my inkling that Obama ‘gets it’ is misguided, and I’m willing to accept being wrong. It’s just that if you read ‘Dreams From My Father’ you get an idea of just how smart he is, and it makes his actions while in office more understandable. To me, Obama sees it all. He plays the game, and makes moves to the left when politically possible. I’m not excusing the drones, wiretapping, his stance on Israel etc etc, they are reprehensible and he deserves a lot of criticism, but I don’t think he actually believes in any of it. He’s playing the game and mitigating when possible. Again, I could be very wrong on this, and I won’t dispute solid evidence to the contrary.

          While I agree that our outrage is most definitely displaced, I still think the most pressing problem in America are the Republicans – their relentless drive to gut what is left of the welfare state, and their incessant war mongering. Sure the Democrats are a bunch of corrupt sellouts, but someone has to be in government, and I’d rather it was them given the alternative.

    • kfreed

      The Internet is littered with Greenwald’s potshots at prominent liberals. Thus, he’s fair game – slithery private citizen that he is. And so what? He supported the Iraq invasion and should stop lying about it. He should also stop lying about being Koch’s pet Libertarian. Talk about poisoning the well. That happens to be Greenwald’s entire reason for being.

      • MarshallLucky

        Evidence that Greenwald is in the employ of the Koch brothers? As for whether or not he’s actually a libertarian, that makes no difference to me. I don’t automatically judge people based on the arbitrary political categories they choose to identify with.

    • kfreed

      P.S. ” It’s just that it’s incredibly petty.” Dare you to post that on one of Greenwald’s petty tirades:)

      • MarshallLucky

        Such as?

        • kfreed

          Pick one. Google: Glenn Greenwald attacks… [then choose the victim]


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