Sunday, February 10, 2013

When the Drone is the Sword

I read Daniel Greenfield's "Sultan Knish" blog regularly. When he's right, he usually cuts to the very heart of the issue and his observations merit quoting. When he's wrong, however, he is very wrong - and that, too, merits quoting.

He has long been hostile towards Ron Paul, former representative in the House and presidential candidate, believing him to be hostile to Israel. This belief is misplaced. Dr. Paul is opposed to all foreign "aid" on principle, including that to Israel (but also that to, say, Egypt). Unlike most of his fellow Republicans, Paul really does believe in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the fundamental principles the United States were (notice the plural) founded on. And Paul is also opposed to the American Empire, which he rightly regards as antithetical to the American Republic.

But in Greenfield's latest essay, Paul is lumped with the "left" and denounced as a traitor, together with anyone who opposes Empire's foreign entanglements:
"The anti-war position automatically picks the other side and because of the innate whiff of treason in such a choice, it must justify that treason by utterly damning and demonizing its own side. It cannot afford nuance at home, though it often calls for it abroad, because to concede complexity is to endanger its own moral standing. The only thing standing between the anti-war movement and  treason is its ceaseless effort to demonize its own government, soldiers and people as monsters."
That last sentence is somewhat baffling, because I would think the demonization of one's own government, soldiers and people as monsters would not be an impediment to treason, but rather a component thereof. But Greenfield's point is nonetheless clear: anyone who argues against the American Empire is a traitor.

That is because in Greenfield's understanding, the Empire is America; the soldiers that invade, bomb and occupy across the world are "defending freedom"; and the Empire is actually fighting a rightful defensive war against Islamic jihad. Yet none of these things are true.

As I argued back in 2005:
"Being opposed to a gang of Muslim fanatics trying to re-create a VII (or XI?) century jihad with XXI-century technology did not, does not, and should not mean siding with the abomination that has murdered the American republic and possessed its cadaver. Or vice versa: just because George W. Bush and his minions have fabricated a danger that would justify their imperial adventure doesn't mean a danger does not exist. It just isn't the danger they are carping on about."
Because, you see, the Empire isn't opposed to jihad and Islam. Rather, it seeks to co-opt them for its own ends. Don't take my word for it. There's Charlie Wilson, the CIA, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and here is the late Tom Lantos (D-CA):
"... just a reminder to the predominantly Muslim-led governments in this world that here is yet another example that the United States leads the way for the creation of a predominantly Muslim country in the very heart of Europe. This should be noted by both responsible leaders of Islamic governments, such as Indonesia, and also for jihadists of all color and hue."
Nor can one argue that this is "leftist" policy and therefore not applicable to the Bush II era, because Lantos said this in 2007, in support of a Bush II policy. Granted, it was a policy adopted verbatim two years prior, from a Democratic challenger Bush had defeated in 2004 - the same year occupied Kosovo became a bit more "predominantly Muslim" following a pogrom of Serbs.

Seemingly absurd, no? But it is an observable fact that the "left" and the "right" are of the same mind when it comes to imperialism. And one of Empire's articles of faith is that jihad can and should be used to achieve global dominance. That is why the CIA aided the jihadists in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s; why the Empire helped create the hysteria about Bosnia in the 1990s and "Kosovia" later on; why Washington has helped overthrow secular Arab dictatorships (Hussein, Gadhafi, Ben Ali, Mubarak) in favor of militant Islam. How successful that strategy has been, one ought to ask Ambassador Stephens.

Of course, Greenfield blames Obama for Stephens' death in Benghazi, and rightly so. But he doesn't blame Obama, as he ought to, for invading Libya in the first place. I can't seem to recall any Republican who actually argued against invading Libya and replacing Gadhafi's eccentric dictatorship with a Hobbesian hodgepodge of tribal and Al-Qaeda "rule" that followed the "liberation." Stephens went to Libya to help the jihadists take over the country. By way of a thank you, the jihadists murdered him. There is a lesson therein, for those willing to learn.

What prompted Greenfield's attack on "anti-war traitors" was Ron Paul quoting Jesus (Matthew 26:52, to be precise) apropos the death of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL sniper recently murdered by a fellow veteran at a shooting range. To Greenfield, Kyle is a hero, his sniping a valiant defense of American freedom. But what Kyle actually did had nothing to do with "defending America". He was killing Iraqis in their own country. He was the aggressor and the occupier, and as if that weren't bad enough by itself, that invasion had absolutely zero to do with fighting against jihad. Zip. Zilch. Bopkess. It was also, let's remember, illegal, immoral and illegitimate by every metric - except that of power.

Thus, paradoxically, Greenfield defends the very same argument of force he opposes (and rightly so) when it comes to Islam, and within the very same essay! It amounts to "It's different when we do it," and it is the very Marxist moral relativism he continuously condemns.

By that logic, Ron Paul is a traitor for opposing the invasions of Serbia, Iraq, Libya, etc. - while those who ordered and executed the invasions, are "defending freedom". Those who invade someone else's country half the world away and support jihad (in effect if not intentionally) are patriots and heroes, while, say, the Serb soldiers, snipers or generals who defend their own country and people from jihadists are war criminals.

If pointing this out is treason, then in the immortal words of Patrick Henry, "make the most of it."


robert49rml said...

William Wirt, Life of Patrick Henry (1817)
It was in the midst of this magnificent debate, while he was descanting on the tyranny of the obnoxious Act, that he exclaimed, in a voice of thunder, and with the look of a god, "Caesar had his Brutus - Charles the first, his Cromwell - and George the third - ('Treason,' cried the Speaker - 'treason, treason,' echoed fro every part of the House. - It was one of those trying moments which is decisive of character. - Henry faltered not an instant; but rising to a loftier attitude, and fixing on the Speaker an eye of the most determined fire, he finished his sentence with the firmest emphasis) may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.

LVB said...

So, by this Greenfield idiot's logic - or more accurately, his complete nonsense - the founders of the United States, notably Thomas Jefferson, were all quite "treasonous" to openly say things like this:

"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."

It doesn't matter how they try to spin it, or how much globalist propaganda they spew, those who are in power in the US govt, mass media and major corporations are all guilty of treason - not only against this very nation and the Constitution of the United States, but also against We the People - every single one of us.

And please remember that they are all doing it quite willingly and deliberately - this is no accident or some innocent misunderstanding of our nation's founding documents and laws. This is all being done entirely by design and with clear criminal intentions.

CubuCoko said...

Thing is, Greenfield is not an idiot. Several of his premises are problematic (e.g. Empire = Republic), or lazy (the lingering Cold War stereotype of Evil Commie Russians), but I have quoted many of his other essays because they are very insightful. That's why I took the trouble of criticizing this particular one.

LVB said...

Well, I will have to take your word for this, Gray. Let's just say that his thinking (if you dare to call it that) IS rather idiotic in this case. :)

So, the last time I wrote you was regarding the truly idiotic "controversy" about the Drina River song. I mentioned to you then that I was working on a piece of Serbian music - and I have not completed production of that yet.

However, until then, you may appreciate this one, which is a new piece I wrote for an upcoming film project. I've put it into a slide show with some great pics of the scenery in the area that will be featured in the film, just to give me a feel for how the music will fit emotionally with the images.

I hope you'll enjoy it, and I will give you the link to the other piece when it is finished, as promised. :)

Suvorov said...

I admit that I don't recall reading anything by Greenfield, but aren't we all by now familiar with the most common symptoms of neoconservatism? The subject of this discussion seems to exhibit them all:

1)He is a firm believer in waging a permanent war (or "permanent revolution" in Trotskyite lingo), and, of course, in denouncing those who oppose it as "traitors".
2)He exudes atavistic Russophobia (the source of which in fact has little to do with Communism and precedes not only the Cold War but the "Russian Revolution" itself, in which his predecessors played a key role, btw.)
3)He equates American conservatism with the imperative to support the State of Israel unconditionally.

But then again, maybe I rushed to judgment.

CubuCoko said...

LVB, that's beautiful.

Suvorov, while snap judgments can be sometimes accurate, they are never fair. When you have an hour or so, read through his blog.. There is much of value to be found therein.

Witch-king of Angmar said...

I also have to jump into defense of Mr.Greenfield whom I have come to regard as one of the most insightful and intelligent contemporary political thinkers. True, he has his blind spots, but his overall analysis about various topics is sound.

Anonymous said...

I don't know exactly what Ron Pauls philosophy is in regards to government and the people but the idea of excessive individualism simply would not work because groups naturally form powerful and influential social/political/economic unions and work with other groups using them as proxies like ethnic minorities and LGBT which both the left and right support although the right in the US claim they are trying to creating a Communist style big government involving George Soros organisations in the US despite his core philosophy being the same as theirs of an Open Society and being one of the wealthiest capitalists in the world working with right wing NGO’s in foreign policy matters and advocates of a free market system.

Look at the state of Egypt because that has no clear leadership it is ruled by a theocratic political party maintained by military rule or Pakistan that is barely even a state.

CubuCoko said...

@ Witch-King: which makes those blind spots, when they do rear, that much the worse.

@jack: Contrary to commonly held belief, libertarianism isn't "excessive individualism." It's all about voluntary association .

CubuCoko said...

I also recommend Greenfield's latest essay about the "War on salt" and other big government boondoggles.

LVB said...

Hey Gray,

Sorry I had to update something, so the link changed. Use this one:

James said...

Will you write on Edin Garaplija's recent testimony at Karadzic's trial about Seve and how they targeted UN soldiers and Muslims to blame the Serbs? Now he is in fear of his life after that testimony.
Yes, those who tell the truth are in danger of being killed in Bosnia - even 17 years after the end of the war.