More On Greenwald And “Extremist Rhetoric”

As a follow-up to my post on the liberal blogosphere, Greenwald, and MSM attention, I’d like to note a little hypocrisy on Greenwald’s part. In my previous post, I pointed out Greenwald’s argument that conservative bloggers are responsible for “extremist rhetoric” and “hate-mongering” which are, as Greenwald implies, worse than anything found in the liberal blogosphere. He also points out that prominent conservative bloggers either produce or link to this stuff regularly.

Well, here’s an perfect example of my point that what is “offensive” is often a subjective judgement of the reader. Yesterday, Greenwald linked to this filth by Cenk Uygur, calling it an “excellent post.” Uygur is commenting on both Bill Kristol’s appearance on FOX News Sunday and his column in which he argues that the United States should consider attacking Iran’s nuclear capability now. But unlike George Will’s response to Kristol’s argument, Uygur’s is nothing but fact-less drivel and name-calling with a side of troop bashing:

Bill Kristol has never seen a war he didn’t like. No, that’s too soft. A war he didn’t love and lust after. Here’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing pretending to be serious, sober minded analyst on television when in reality he is trying to get us sucked into horrific wars that other people will die fighting. Will he ever put on a uniform and fight any of the wars he so desperately wants to start? Hell no. Will anyone in his family or friends? Hell no.

They love to start wars, not fight them. That’s for the poor schmucks who don’t know any better and sign up to run the fool’s errands Kristol wants to send them on. (my emphasis)

You get that? Our troops are stupid “schmucks” that don’t really have any idea what they’re doing. But this is an “excellent post” according to Greenwald.

But even more amusing, Greenwald uses Uygur’s post to refute Kristol’s claim that “”Israel is fighting four of our five enemies in the Middle East.” Here’s what Greenwald writes:

So, “Israel is fighting four of our five enemies in the Middle East” — the only small exception being Al-Qaeda, which, as Cenk Uygur pointed out in this excellent post, happens to be the only group which actually attacked us. As I noted on Saturday, Kristol is now arguing that the Israeli war is really “our war,” and on Sunday he took that a step further by claiming that groups devoted exclusively to fighting Israel are somehow also among our “five enemies in the Middle East.” (Interestingly, Kristol doesn’t appear to count among our five Middle Eastern enemies the insurgents whom we are actually fighting in Iraq; he only counts as our enemies those whom Israel is currently attacking or threatening to attack).

In what conceivable way are Hamas and Hezbollah enemies of the United States? They are unquestionably enemies of Israel, but what grounds exist even for arguing that they are our enemies? And while Syria undoubtedly is no fan of the U.S., what actions has it engaged in that would make it a threat to the U.S. even remotely sufficient to wage war on it? Plainly, Kristol, like so many neoconservatives, recognizes no difference of any kind between U.S. and Israeli interests, and is thus salivating at the opportunity to finally induce the U.S. to wage war on Israel’s enemies.

Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah are the four enemies which Kristol is referring to. Let me educate Greenwald for a moment. The United States has “actually” been attacked by Hezbollah–that terrorist organization bombed a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut killing 241 Marines, soldiers, and sailors. Furthermore, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that, “It is beyond question that Hezbollah and its agents received massive material and technical support from the Iranian government.” In terms of Hamas and Syria, certainly neither has done anything to the United States that equals Beirut, but it’s rather naive to argue that both are exclusively problems for Israel but not the United States. The common thread is Islamic extremism and the country or group affiliation is largely irrelevant.

Anyway, my point is that Greenwald should reflect long and hard at the rhetoric, not to mention the historical accuracy, of those that he links to before positioning himself as someone above the fray and beyond reproach.

FILED UNDER: Media, Middle East, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,


  1. ATS says:

    I’d don’t think our troops are stupid, but I fear the are ignorant of realities in the Middle East.
    The fact that the anchorman on CNN is a former AIPAC employee tells me all I need to know.

  2. jpe says:

    Calling the troops schmucks is a political judgment that you (and I) disagree with vehemently. That’s different in kind from, say, calling for Kristol’s execution.

  3. Tano says:

    Weak argument.

    You do nothing to dispute Greenwald’s basic claim, that the overall rhetoric of the right is far more violent, inciting, and revolting than what is found on the left – and it is carried out not by isolated loonies dredged up in comment sections, but by the most well-read, and “respected” bloggers and authors. Greenwald is right.

    Your comment about “poor schmucks” seems to be purposely deceptive. As I read it, its seems blindingly obvious that it is a snarky comment about Kristol’s perspective, essentially saying “he [Kristol] sees himself as being on a superior plane, speaking to historical, strategic issues, while the soldiers in our armed forces are the mere pawns that he gets to move around the geopolitical chessboard”. Seems to me to be a rather perverse reading of the passage to claim that the Uygur himself sees the soldiers as schmucks.

  4. Steve Verdon says:

    You do nothing to dispute Greenwald̢??s basic claim, that the overall rhetoric of the right is far more violent, inciting, and revolting than what is found on the left Рand it is carried out not by isolated loonies dredged up in comment sections, but by the most well-read, and ̢??respected̢?? bloggers and authors. Greenwald is right.

    Uhhhmmm no. Greg is pointing out that what one considers violent, inciting, and so forth is often in the eyes of the reader. As such, measuring which side is supposedly worse is somewhat a fools errand as the measures are likely going to be highly subjective.

    Now maybe you are right, but you have no way of showing that. At least not by yourself or even with Greenwald. Propose a decent measure to measure vitriol on blogs/websites and you might be worth taking seriously. Till then you are just wasting bandwidth.

    Case in point is the Uygur article, it sure seems (to me at least) like he sees the people who sign up for the armed forces as little more than Kristol’s dupes. After all, it is a volunteer force, and they don’t have to sign up, but they do, and then they have to go fight unjust/wrong wars. Ergo they are dupes.

    See…it is all in the eyes of the reader.

  5. Greg Tinti says:

    Exactly. Thanks Steve.

  6. Tano says:


    I dont quite follow your logic. Soldiers in our military are required to follow their orders, which means that they must fight in wars, irrespective of what they may or may not think of the wisdom of the policy. That is a fact. I dont think that makes them “dupes”, but clearly their fate, in terms of whether they find themselves in combat or not, is not in their hands, once they sign up.

    Responsible leaders and commenters understand this, and it usually operates as one of many factors in making leaders reluctant to start wars – i.e. making the military option the option of last resort. One doesnt want to take advantage of the loyalty, patriotism, and commitment of our soldiers by using them to solve problems when other tools are available.

    Some types of irresponsible leaders, or commenters, are less concerned with that, and feel little or no hesitation to apply the military tool whenever they feel that it can be effective, often in preference to other available tools. Such an attitude can be fairly characterized as showing indifference to the burden this imposes on the troops, to say nothing of the consequences for the collateral civilians who get in the way. Another way of characterizing this attitude is one that views the soldiers as “the poor schmucks” who are tasked with doing the heavy lifting for the grand plans of the leaders.

    Uygur is basically charging Kristol with being this type of a commenter. One who is somewhat intoxicated with our great military power, and who shows an eagerness to use it to achieve our goals, even when alternatives exist, and with little or no consideration of the consequences, including for our soldiers.

    One may argue the validity of his charge (I think it rather accurate), but I dont see how one could argue that it is Uygur who is the one viewing our soldiers as dupes, or schmucks.

  7. jpe says:

    Greg is pointing out that what one considers violent, inciting, and so forth is often in the eyes of the reader.

    That’s nonsense, though. Glenn’s point is that the right utilizes violent, extremist rhetoric. “Soldiers are schmutzes” is not an example of that. Violent, extremist rhetoric would be to say that “soldiers are schmutzes, and should be summarily shot.”

    It’s a pretty glaring difference.

  8. McGehee says:

    Like the banner that said, “We support the troops when they shoot their officers”?

  9. jpe says:

    Yeah, that fits the parameters. And you don’t find it within the mainstream of lefty bloggers. By contrast, it’s the bread and butter of righty bloggers.

  10. Steve says:

    Greg, the expression is ‘poor schmuck’ not
    ‘schmuck’. Someone could say, “Kristol is
    a schmuck for pushing hard the theories he
    does” and “A, B, and C are the poor schmucks
    who have to bear the brunt of those theories.”
    I think your grasp of idiom needs a little

  11. Robert says:

    Off topic, but why would anyone listen to Kristol who was 100% wrong about the war in Iraq?