Greenwald vs Sullivan Debate Reader Reactions

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Ben Cohen
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Andrew Sullivan vs Glenn Greenwald

The article I wrote on the back and forth between Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan on the definition of 'terrorism' sparked off an interesting debate on the Banter. Here are some of the comments from our readers (my thoughts below each comment):

js hooper writes:

Greenwald has become a spokesman for Islamic extremists and Al-Qaeda inspired terrorism.

1) 170 plus people get their limbs blown off in Boston and he immediately tries to exploit the tragedy and use it an opportunity to whine about drones.He then attacks Americans in the comment section who are outraged by his heartless Anti-American rhetoric.

2)Days later, he then proceeds to spread lies about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being tortured and denied his rights.He also tries to play up the idea of Boston being a "Police State"

3) Two men brutally murder a defenseless soldier walking on a street in London...while yelling radical Islamic political rhetoric and threaten further violence if their demands aren't met

4) the next day Greenwald decides to lecture people against calling them terrorists....and also sympathizes with their agenda

5) he also disgustingly attempts to legitimize their savagery by highlighting the fact that the man who was killed was in his words..."a soldier in a nation at war"
As if that makes him a legitimate target of Islamic terrorist aggression

Glenn Greenwald is a disgusting demagogue who is now the leading spokeman / apologist for Islamic terrorism in the Western Media. Whether the attacks are against the West or innocent Muslims in the middle east, it doesn't matter to him. America, UK & Israel are always to blame.

I think this is far too harsh an assessment and labeling him as an apologist for Islamic terrorism is a pretty flagrant distortion of his position. Greenwald isn't justifying the violence, he is explaining the causes of it - two completely different things. However, I do agree with js that  Greenwald often uses tragedies to promote his own agenda (drones/civil liberties etc), which can be pretty offensive.

dbtheonly  writes:

Aside from "Benghazi-gate"-esque "scandal" is there any advantage or disadvantage to labeling the London murders as "terrorism"? Is Fox suggesting that we bomb Nigeria? Is there some "rising tide of Color" argument I've been lucky enough to miss?

The "Blame America First" crowd has been around for a long time & the fact that they'd react in their typical way to these murders is no surprise.

I personally think your definition of terrorism goes too far. Terrorism is performed by non-governmental Organizations or persons. Governmental actions are aggression. When you define terrorism as broadly as you do; everything is terrorism. The word loses it's value/punch/ (sorry, searching for word here) when it's overused.

I hear the point, but I still maintain that government aggression can be labelled 'terrorism', particularly if its actions are designed to create terror. I think it is perfectly rational to call the murderers of Lee Rigby terrorists too given that's what they were doing to - using terror for a political objective. Sure, the word might lose some of its value if it is used so widely, but it is at least an accurate description.

ronbo writes:

If I answer the question, "what is 1 + 1?" with the answer "2" every time, author Ben, am I guilty of "he has said the same thing over, and over again..."?

Ben, the answer is "2". Always will be always has been. If you don't want the absolute correct answer, don't ask Greenwald. Greenwald is right and you have knotted your undies into a bunch IN PUBLIC! How embarrassing for you.

Ben, you can do better than bully and pick on the smart kid for giving the correct answer.

If I answer the question, "what is 1 + 1?" with the answer "2" every time, author Ben, am I guilty of "he has said the same thing over, and over again..."?

Ben, the answer is "2". Always will be always has been. If you don't want the absolute correct answer, don't ask Greenwald. Greenwald is right and you have knotted your undies into a bunch IN PUBLIC! How embarrassing for you.

Ben, you can do better than bully and pick on the smart kid for giving the correct answer.

I'm not sure how calling out a grown man with a long history of attack journalism can be labeled bullying, but in response to ronbo's point: We are human beings, not robots, and being technically right about things doesn't mean you become some sort of moral authority and guiding beacon for societal ethics. If a man was gruesomely murdered by his wife in an unprovoked attack, I could go on a rant about women's suffrage, the misogynistic society we live in and inequality between the sexes as an explanation for her rage. I'd be technically right, but so what? Some poor guy had his brains blown out leaving behind devastated kids, brothers, sisters, parents and friends. Sexism, Islamophobia etc etc are certainly things to fight, but there are times and places to voice your opinions, and the immediate aftermath of a horrific tragedy isn't one of them.