In addition to using his platform to relentlessly shame and scold anyone who isn’t as ideologically unsullied as he is, author and editor for The Intercept Glenn Greenwald is absolutely a professional troll. This feature of his generally crotchety, snippy personality manifests itself mostly on Twitter, where he brandishes the format’s 140 character poking-stick and routinely jabs it in the neck of the establishment (which he himself is now a part of) or, for that matter, just about anyone who falls in line with popular opinion.
Being not unintelligent, Greenwald knows exactly how to bludgeon a news event that even remotely overlaps his two or three areas of interest — zinging the debate with his special brand of pious, self-righteous indignation. You can almost envision him authoritatively clicking the blue “Tweet” button then cackling, “HA! That’ll show ’em! Suckerrrrrs!”
But yesterday on Twitter, Greenwald broke through another rock layer, drilling deeper into an all new substrata of trolling awfulness.
In the midst of the public debate surrounding the controversial homecoming of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the last American POW held by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Greenwald naturally didn’t offer up any words of congratulations or even criticism of those who are demonizing the former POW. Because of course he didn’t. Greenwald offering any sentiment remotely sympathetic to the military or the officials who negotiated Bergdahl’s freedom is anathema to his well-crafted brand as a persnickety contrarian who eschews anything related to the government or the military (minus Chelsea Manning, that is).
Instead, here’s what he tweeted to his 362,000 followers:
Yeah, huge shocker that Americans are more sympathetic to an American soldier held captive for five years than a gaggle of al-Qaida terrorists and Taliban leaders. How silly of us. We should be grateful that Greenwald is here to scold us for our obviously lopsided sympathies. We’re such monsters, applauding the return of an American.
Also, note the use of the word “cage,” which is one of Greenwald’s hot-rotation words, trotted out whenever someone he supports is threatened with prison. Sorry, Greenwald, but prisoners are held in prison cells — what you call “cages” — because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be in prison. It’s unclear what Greenwald would consider to be an acceptable means of detaining prisoners because cells are clearly out of the question.
Of course Greenwald’s contention is that none of the remaining Guantanamo detainees have been charged or convicted of any crimes, so they shouldn’t be in “cages” at all.
There it is, folks. The world’s premiere national security reporter doesn’t understand the basic rules of war or the handling of POWs. Wartime prisoners, known in modern vernacular as “enemy combatants,” aren’t typically put on trial. Duh, Glenn. Historically and traditionally, they’re held until the war is over and then released. Any Taliban fighters would be considered Afghan prisoners of war.
For example, the five Taliban leaders who were traded for Bergdahl would’ve been released as soon as the end of this year. Out of around 700 total detainees, only 144 remain at the prison. (This is one of the reasons why it makes sense to just shut down the detention center at Guantanamo, mitigating its damaging symbolism, and to simply transport the detainees to mainland Supermax prisons until trial for accused terrorists, or repatriation in the case of Taliban fighters).
And then he tweeted this:
Now, it’s not 100 percent clear whether Greenwald is criticizing the Democrats or disagreeing with them, but it’s way out of character for him to ballyhoo a Democratic Party position on anything, so it’s a safe bet that he’s criticizing the “obligation to free all our service members.” It’s likely that he thinks it’s wrong because a Democratic president still holds enemy combatants in Gitmo and therefore is a hypocrite for wanting to free our own soldiers, while not, in his view, freeing all of the Gitmo detainees, too. It appears as if Greenwald is suggesting that either everyone goes free or no one does, and any favoritism to liberate Americans is hypocritical.
This is pretty vile, even for Greenwald, who’s proved himself just as rotten here as some Republicans who are disgracefully exploiting the Bergdahl story as a means of ginning up support for a presidential impeachment.
Consider me adequately trolled by a pro.