If Glenn Greenwald’s agenda hasn’t been made abundantly clear thus far, it should be today. In case you’re just joining us, his mission, more than anything else, is to shame, ridicule and scold what he considers to be evil western nations. The list naturally includes the United States and Great Britain, but this week Canada has been added to his rogues gallery — and just in time for a series of possible terrorist attacks inside that country.
In his latest post for The Intercept, published following Monday’s attack in Quebec where a pair of soldiers were hit by a car driven by an alleged terrorist, the author performs some typically Greenwaldian semantic gymnastics, both blaming Canadian military hubris for the attack, but then insisting Canada’s militarism doesn’t justify what happened.
A distinction without much of a difference to be sure.
In spite of his schizophrenic dodging, it’s clear from the article that Greenwald is using the attack as a pretext for scolding Canada for its participation in both the war in Afghanistan and the War on Terrorism.
That’s the nature of war. A country doesn’t get to run around for years wallowing in war glory, invading, rendering and bombing others, without the risk of having violence brought back to it. Rather than being baffling or shocking, that reaction is completely natural and predictable. The only surprising thing about any of it is that it doesn’t happen more often.
Briefly put: you had it coming, Canada. This is “the nature of war,” he wrote, even though he directly contradicts this view later in the article, writing, “There is a compelling argument to make that undeployed soldiers engaged in normal civilian activities at home are not valid targets under the laws of war.”
Either it’s part of war or it’s not. This is either comeuppance or it’s a “senseless act of violence” — his words, mocking the reaction — against unarmed soldiers at a shopping mall. It can’t be both. Again, he wrote that Canada’s military actions aren’t justifications for the attacks but, rather, a matter of “causation,” and then he continues to incongruously hector silly Canadians for being “shocked and bewildered” by Monday’s incident, when, he reasons, they shouldn’t be surprised at all given the war policies they’ve supported. Greenwald wants it both ways: he wants to blame Canada’s actions for what happened, while sidestepping accusations that its war conduct invited the attack. If you’re naive enough to buy into this wafer-thin argument, I have some robot-insurance to sell you.
If you want to be a country that spends more than a decade proclaiming itself at war and bringing violence to others, then one should expect that violence will sometimes be directed at you as well.
It certainly looks like he’s justifying the attack, the very definition of justification: “the action of showing something to be right or reasonable.” He’s clearly arguing that it’s at least reasonable for Canada to expect attacks of this nature after 13 years of killing Muslims overseas. But even if we take him at his twisted word, is this how Saint Greenwald, the unrelenting voice of the people, reacts to a suspected terrorist attack in which a Canadian soldier was killed — then subsequently digging in, without a shred of sympathy, and reinforcing his position after yet another attack on Tuesday, this time in the form of a shooting spree in Ottawa? This is when he decides to scold Canadians?
Greenwald isn’t an idiot. He’s indeed quite clever. And he uses his cleverness to mislead the easily misled: those who are wired for conspiracy-mongering; those who are willing to believe anything that points to western governments as the real “terrorists.” But if you look at Greenwald’s work with an objective eye and a healthy degree of skepticism, it’s not difficult to see that he’s manipulating reality in order to feed his agenda. And this opinion post is possibly the most obvious illustration of his agenda, which he applies as infrastructure for his hard news articles. This is a trick that Roger Ailes perfected at Fox News Channel, and which Greenwald has been franchising out to the highest bidders for the last 16 months.
MORE FROM BANTER: Here’s Tommy Christopher’s recap of Greenwald’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.