So now we come to what Andrew Sullivan and others told their readers that I argued. Announcing at the start that "I really have to try restrain my anger here", Sullivan quickly accused me of spreading "Islamist propaganda". Arguing that US intervention in the Muslim world both before and after the 9/11 attack was noble and often beneficent - yes, he actually argued that with a straight face - he demands to know of me: "How can that legitimize a British citizen's brutal beheading of a fellow British citizen on the streets of London?" He then added: "The idea that this foul, religious bigotry . . . is some kind of legitimate protest against a fast-ending war is just perverse." He concludes with a real flourish: my "blindness to the savagery at the heart of Salafism", he decrees, "is very hard to understand, let alone forgive".
That I "legitimated" the London attack or argued it was a "legitimate protest" is as obvious a fabrication as it gets. Not only did I argue no such thing, and not only did I say the exact opposite of what Sullivan and others falsely attribute to me, but I expressly repudiated - in advance - the very claims they try to impose on me. Even vociferous critics of what I wrote, writing in neocon venues, understood this point ("I do find myself wanting to agree with Greenwald in arguing that this is an atrocious murder rather than an act of terror"). Does Sullivan actually think that people who argued that the London attack should not be called "terrorism" (like Chris Hayes), or who pointed out the role played by western aggression in motivating them (like former British soldier Joe Glenton), or who have long warned of "blowback" in the form of such attacks (like the CIA and Pentagon), are remotely arguing that the attack was justified? Sullivan's behavior evinces a blatant inability or refusal to critique what I wrote without distorting it beyond all recognition.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Sullivan vs. Greenwald: gay heavyweights of the chattering class go after each other over London meat cleaver attack; AKSARBENT is in Greenwald's corner
The he-said-I-said-but-I-didn't started with Andrew Sullivan's unrighteous indignation over Greenwald's Guardian article here. Now Greenwald defends himself in a new piece, Andrew Sullivan, terrorism, and the art of distortion: