This madness must stop
The following two posts over at The People’s View are a must read in order to understand Salon contributor, Glenn Greenwald’s continuing failure to argue points in good faith, instead favoring condescension and sneering: (1) The art of distraction and the fake assassination scandal; and (2) Bin Laden, al-Awlaki and Glenn Greenwald’s Delicate Fifth Amendment Dance (updated: Greenwald responds, calls TPV “cultist”)
Greenwald’s latest screed on torture is steeped in hypocrisy. First, he attempts to rake Eric Holder over the coals for Holder’s “kill that al-Awlaki guy” stance by referencing a brief Holder filed in 2004 which, purportedly, undercuts his current “kill that guy” position. The brief in question (posted below) is an amicus brief filed by a group of people as “Friends of the Court,” and while the brief was, in a matter of speaking, filed on behalf of Holder and several other people, he certainly did not write it. He signed off on it. The fine lawyers at Arnold & Porter surely drafted it. Yes, he is responsible for the positions taken in that brief. But Greenwald’s article seems to suggest that this was some sort of stand-alone brief that Holder filed in his capacity as a DOJ employee (note Greenwald’s snide capitalization: “Holder’s Brief”)
So Holder filed a brief that sorta but not really (arguments go both ways) conflicts with his current stance on al-Awlaki. Greenwald goes bananas. Greenwald, however, made some downright nasty comments about the evils of immigration in a 2005 blog post, yet when called out on Twitter about it, had nothing but snide retorts. He wrote those statements six years ago, you see, back when he didn’t have any readers; and how sad it is that Cultists had to reach back six years to find grounds to discredit him:
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.
So, in this instance what’s good for the Glenn is not good for the Holder.
I don’t see how this sort of chicanery sits well with anyone. Given Greenwald’s penchant for writing persuasive brief-style arguments based on cherry-picked research, it becomes necessary to follow and read the myriad links he provides in his work lest one be taken in by an intellectually dishonest argument.
As a friend (@vcthree) pointed out on Twitter, Greenwald does not expect his readers to do follow-up research, and indeed, such research would not be required if he didn’t bend, twist, and ignore facts and law at his leisure, in order to make his Principled Points.
So, in the spirit of “you don’t have to be a lawyer to read a brief or understand it,” I have read Holder’s brief; I marked it up, highlighting the important sections, and dashing off a couple of notes. I simply don’t have the time to spend to write a proper post on the subject, but if you take the time to skim the brief, I think you’ll be able to discern what I would have said.
(Mark-up of Holder Amicus Brief Re Padilla Case on Scrib follows the break)