Patterico's Pontifications


Greenwald: My Point Is Simple and Straightforward and Can Be Expressed in This Pithy 105-Word Sentence . . . Containing One Parenthetical, Three Semi-Colons, and Four Phrases Set Off By Dashes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:15 pm

Glenn Greenwald today argues that David Brooks has no business condemning murders by radical Islamic terrorists, or likening the Ft. Hood murders to such Islamic terrorism . . . because Brock has supported wars in which innocent civilians have unintentionally been killed.

As Ramesh Ponnuru notes, Greenwald’s argument is essentially this: “If you didn’t oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have no standing to object to the Ft. Hood murders.” (In an update, Greenwald denies making that argument — which is how you know that he is making that argument.)

So what point is Greenwald trying to make? Why, it’s really quite simple and straightforward!

If one needs to reduce my point to a single sentence, one can try this: “if you constantly cheer on one war after the next that results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings and the extreme suffering of millions more (as Brooks has done — beyond Iraq and Afghanistan — and continues to do), then you can’t coherently claim that the targets of your wars have a unique disregard for human life; that they — but not you — “don’t see others as fully human”; that they — but not you — “cause incredible amounts of suffering”; and that they — but not you — “come to believe others can be blamelessly murdered and that, in fact, it is admirable to do so.”

That’s a single sentence? I’ll be damned! Anyone want to take a stab at diagramming that bad boy?

Let me just say right now: if I ever start writing like that, I want you to shoot me.

P.S. But make sure you dress me up in a soldier’s uniform first, so that Greenwald won’t call you a terrorist!

56 Responses to “Greenwald: My Point Is Simple and Straightforward and Can Be Expressed in This Pithy 105-Word Sentence . . . Containing One Parenthetical, Three Semi-Colons, and Four Phrases Set Off By Dashes”

  1. I see Glenn doubled his meds again …

    Lord Nazh (8d682b)

  2. He’s so easy to parody. He does it to himself all the time.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  3. Shorter Greenwald/Ellers/Ellensburg: If you support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’re as bad as Al Qaeda.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  4. Glenn G should understand why this act was terrorism. Hasan shot those people to change military policy towards Muslims who do not want to honor their oath of service. Hasan petitioned for muslims ” to be allowed to opt out of participation in military actions to boost morale and “prevent adverse events”. His act was to provide an example of an “adverse event” ; to create the impression that muslims will rise up and murder as many of their comrades or countrymen, to whom they have sworn loyalty as a condition of service, as possible, until that policy of holding Muslims to the ordinary terms of service, is changed.

    SarahW (692fc6)

  5. Some of this just writes itself … Good Allah.

    JD (d0d3cb)

  6. Hmmm. Let’s see if I get this:

    “…“if you constantly cheer on one war after the next that results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings and the extreme suffering of millions more (as Brooks has done — beyond Iraq and Afghanistan — and continues to do),…”

    Point #1: What war is Gleen talking about Brooks’ cheerleading that has led to the “extreme suffering of millions more...” Or is this more shrieking posturing?

    Point #2: You would think the English language has suffered enough from that waterboarded syntax. Gleen should just write in Portuguese from his poolhouse in Brazil.

    Eric Blair (711059)

  7. I see that Excitable Andy is also all over this subject. I think that Gleen and Andy should sit down and think about Hasan’s position on gay marriage.

    I think that topic pretty much trumps everything, doesn’t it?

    Eric Blair (711059)

  8. I came in here to defend Glenn’s argument at the “won’t call you a terrorist!” link–luckily I decided to finish reading his column first.

    First paragraph: Joe Lieberman is an idiot for calling an attack on a military target “terrorism”.

    Second paragraph: Admittedly that make perfect sense if you use the State Department definition of “terrorism”, but what idiot would do that?!

    Third paragraph: America and Israel are even terrorists by that definition.

    Fourth paragraph: Well OK nations can’t be terrorist by definition…what was my point again?

    Fifth paragraph: OK I admit I stopped reading here. Why are all liberal bloggers so @#$#@ wordy???

    oneisnotprime (e25cc0)

  9. You warmongering reichwingers cannot get your pea-sized brains around concepts like morality and cannot bring yourselves to admit that the blood of millions is on your hands. All Greenwald is doing is highlighting the hypocrisy that you are swimming in. It is not Glen’s fault that a complex sentence is too much for you to deal with.

    Wilson McEllerson (d0d3cb)

  10. I’m guessing Wilson won’t be getting a soldier’s uniform?

    sybilll (1cb770)

  11. Point #2: You would think the English language has suffered enough from that waterboarded syntax.

    Obviously you have never read any Lovecraft…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  12. So much nutjobbery, so little time. The nerve, for Greenwald to call Brooks unhinged! Glenn, mirror.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  13. “David Brooks’ column today perfectly illustrates what lies at the core of our political discourse: namely, self-loving tribalistic blindness laced with a pathological refusal to accept responsibility for one’s actions.”

    Yeah, I support our tribe, all the way.

    “But Brooks himself was a vehement, vicious advocate for the attack on Iraq…”

    Yeah, I support our war against the Baathists 100%.

    I don’t about Dave Brooks, but that’s how I feel about it.

    Anything, else, Glenny-girl?

    Dave Surls (68aa16)

  14. Scott #12: ouch! Well, I know how to keep you from further besmirching HPL’s name:


    Eric Blair (711059)

  15. Again, why does anyone take his screeds seriously? He’s a hack and a serial liar.

    steve miller (81db43)

  16. “You warmongering reichwingers cannot get your pea-sized brains around concepts like morality …”

    Sure I can. For example, it would be good and moral to round up left wing traitors and propagandists, line them up against the wall and shoot them for attempting to sabotage the war effort against our Baathist, Taliban and Al qaida enemies.

    It’s not that hard to understand the concept of morality.

    Dave Surls (68aa16)

  17. Comment by Eric Blair — 11/10/2009 @ 9:03 pm

    I have some friends who run an HPL website (, and they have recorded a few of his stories for their podcast feed…

    The out-takes for one of them has the reader lamenting the lack of commas, let alone a full stop.

    Read HPL aloud, and you will see what I mean. I love the guy’s writing, but that old sentence structure is murder when you read it out loud.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  18. Comment by Dave Surls — 11/10/2009 @ 9:20 pm

    I’m not sure, but I think they were being sarcastic/ironic…

    At least I hope so. If not, then I hope they are in a lot of pain, because that kind of stupidity should be sheer torture.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  19. oneisnotprime: Heh.

    DRJ (dff2ca)

  20. “All Greenwald is doing is highlighting the hypocrisy…”

    What hypocrisy?

    If a Muslim fanatic guns down a bunch of our soldiers, that’s bad. If our soldiers gun down a bunch of Muslim fanatics, that’s good.

    I don’t pretend to think anything else.

    Dave Surls (68aa16)

  21. You want complex sentences? Try O’Henry. He’s good at it.

    gp (9ad781)

  22. In the first paragraph, you refer to “David Brock” when the rest of the article is about “David Brooks”.

    [Thanks. I fixed the typo. — P]

    GaryC (ea4bfa)

  23. Dear Scott: I guess that the incantation didn’t work. As in…

    “…As I told you longe ago, do not calle up That which you can not put downe; either from dead Saltes or out of ye Spheres beyond. Have ye Wordes for laying at all times readie, and stopp not to be sure when there is any Doubte of Whom you have. ..”

    Seriously, HPL was never, ever a huge jerkwad like Gleen. Fractured syntax, sure, but Gleen is a product of modern litcrit training. HPL was self-taught as a genteel eccentric with Anglophile pretensions. And don’t get me started on some of the modernist interpretations of HPL. Sheesh.

    On the other hand, Gleen is just plain pretentious. Or maybe it was one of his other alter egos. Because let’s face it: Gleen has lots of ego to go around.

    But the comparison between Gleen and HPL stings, dude. Cthluhu will find you. Please be nice to the memory of the poor guy, who just about died of starvation before the cancer ate him up. Writing for peanuts. Instead of having cabana boys at his beck and call.

    And, as you know, since you read HPL, there is a big difference between the florid fiction and his essays. “Supernatural Fiction in Literature” is still very good, if dated. I gave a lecture on Poe last year and it was very helpful.

    Gleen doesn’t write fiction. At least intentionally.

    Eric Blair (711059)

  24. #22: Or Faulkner’s “The Bear.” Ouch.

    Eric Blair (711059)

  25. Dave Surls, Thank you!

    That’s exactly the point Greenwald, and really, a lot of liberals, just don’t understand. If one of the 9/11 hijackers had decided to kill all his conspirators, when they were sleeping, because of a new found love of free people, he would be a hero. Hasan decides to kill US troops out of his devotion to a cult of slavery and submission, and that’s a horrible thing to do.

    There is a similarity between the two, but the difference is that the morality takes a 180. Greenwald never cares much for morality. It’s much worse that he can seriously make this comparison than that he lies and sockpuppets and all that.

    Whether the USA should have gone to Iraq, or can fix every problem, is one thing, but we are clearly trying to do good. What Hasan did was attempt to force submission to a horrible belief system.

    Dustin (bb61e3)

  26. Seems to me that Greenwad is just spouting the “all of the murders of Iraqis by other Iraqis are really the fault of the U.S.” meme.
    It’s the same old liberal isolationist stick-your-head-in-the-sand-and-pretend-that-all-of-the-bad-stuff-that-happens-on-a-daily-basis-doesn’t-really-happen bullshit.

    Icy Texan (e267e6)

  27. ‘But if one accepts that broadened definition of “terrorism” — that it includes violence that targets not only civilians but also combatants who are unarmed or not engaged in combat at the time of the attack — it seems impossible to exclude from that term many of the acts in which the U.S. and our allies routinely engage.’–More Greenwald (the 21st Century’s Lord Haw Haw) stupidity

    Yeah? So what? Think I wouldn’t use terror tactics against Al Qaida?

    I would in a heartbeat.

    So, what’s your point, Lord Haw Haw?

    Dave Surls (68aa16)

  28. Do you really need 100 plus words to say “If you support wars in Iraq and AFG where we kill muslims, then you can’t complain when muslims kill us.”

    It’s a scary thought.

    lee (cae7a3)

  29. Do you really need 100 plus words to say “If you support wars in Iraq and AFG where we kill muslims, then you can’t complain when muslims kill us.”

    It’s a scary thought.

    lee (cae7a3)

  30. “26.Dave Surls, Thank you!”

    You’re welcome, Dustin.

    Dave Surls (68aa16)

  31. I guess he never understood a Clint Eastwood movie.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  32. What the Gleeeeeeeeens do to the English language should be a criminal offense.

    JD (1e2283)

  33. Glen is a serial pussy.

    Curtis (653a53)

  34. Actually, Gleenwald is obtuse. We are fighting in Iraq/Afghanistan after Congress approved the deal. So it’s a legal war against declared enemies.

    We can still complain over irregulars and fifth-columnists who refuse to fight in uniform and instead infiltrate our society to kill our children in an undeclared war.

    I’m sure that Gleenwald is happy the Marines keep him safe, but he’s probably conflicted, because he knows that if the Islamists have their way he will be on the first page of people to be done away with, and yet those Islamists are so dreamy!

    Why do they hate me? is his question.

    steve miller (81db43)

  35. steve miller – I’m sure Glenn has those root causes thingees all figured out.

    Can’t we all just get along?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  36. He does have it all figured out – his is a solipsistic world where no evil will befall him as he sits in comfort protected by men and women who serve in faraway lands.

    He imagines that if we were just nicer the enemy that seeks to destroy us would just stop.

    But as the Venerable One said, we never fought a war because our enemy thought we were too strong.

    steve miller (81db43)

  37. But the comparison between Gleen and HPL stings, dude.

    One of them spewed out endless fountains of purple prose in service of the twisted, terrifying ideas he plumbed from the depths of his fevered brain.

    The other one wrote “The Call of Cthulhu.”

    Jim Treacher (796deb)

  38. The moral world of these leftists is an Escher drawing.

    Peg C. (48175e)

  39. got it. the “we are the worst terrorists” canard.

    The thing liberals don’t get is the difference between targeting civilians and accidentally hitting them. To paraphrase Holmes, even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked. But Greenwald is not nearly that intelligent.

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  40. Can we re-name the site to Greenwald watch?

    timb (449046)

  41. There is one thing that makes me tempted not to call this attack terrorism.

    Most people seem to think that terrorist is the worst accusation they can level against someone. And it’s true, for a combatant too cowardly to put on a uniform and do battle with his nation’s enemies but who hides instead in civilian clothing and attacks unarmed civilians, that’s a pretty bad thing.

    But there’s one thing arguably worse.

    To put on your own country’s uniform – to serve with other men and women who would lay down their own lives to save yours – who would even risk their lives just to retrieve your body from the field of battle – and then to use your uniform as a disguise to attack those same companions while they are unarmed and unsuspecting – that’s not terrorism.

    That’s treason.

    He ought to be well cared for in the hospital. And then when he is released from the hospital he should be hung by the neck until dead.

    Treason is the crime we seem to have forgotten these days.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  42. #41: only if we get to create a category for your posts that is titled: “Reflexive Partisan Contrarianism.” Suits?

    Eric Blair (711059)

  43. Gesundheit has it right. Hasan* certainly levied war against the United States, and adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. And there are plenty of witnesses to the treason. That word is tossed around far too freely nowadays, but treason is literally correct for Hasan.

    *pending conviction.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  44. Eric Blair,
    Many thanks for your Lovecraftian comments. I was mightily tempted to vote last year for Cthulhu, because I was tired of voting for the lesser evil.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  45. Cthlhu rocks

    [note: fished from spam filter. –Stashiu]

    JD (5e5cad)

  46. Yeah, Bradley, but then you get into these battles between Old Ones. Whole planets get fried.

    Mighty Cthulhu has the right idea: sleeping it off down in R’lyeh.

    Come to think of it, I think things would be better if Congress took this advice:

    “…Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Congress R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn…”

    Because it sure looks like the stars are not right in 2010 for the DNC.

    Eric Blair (711059)

  47. In its 2001 publication, Patterns of Global Terrorism, the State Department did define “terrorism” to mean “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets,” and in turn defined “noncombatant targets” to include “military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty.” Only by accepting that definition (or one similar to it) could the attack on Fort Hood possibly be defined as “terrorism.”
    So? You are still a moron.

    The Emperor (82e13a)

  48. JD, this was the fatuous crap of Gleen’s that I was refering to in the other thread.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. I’m trying to think of what alternate history Greenwald was living in, where thousands of Iraqis and Afghans weren’t dying at the hands of their own leaders and countrymen before we went there.

    Are we the only causers of death in this world? Would not stopping what was going on in those two countries have any moral cost to people like Greenwald?

    How does he look at a Rwanda? Were we heroic or blameless?

    MayBee (f18f3a)

  50. MayBee – The answer to your question would depend on the ideology of the person/party in power.

    JD (3cde02)

  51. JD

    are you kidding? the democrats wouldn’t do that. for instance, when we intervened in yugoslavia, that was for the really important national interest of… um… hold on, I can’t remember. it was something really important and thus we had a big stake in victory.

    And when we invaded somalia, and that was to protect america’s interest in… wait, um, hmm…. what was that again?

    A.W. (e7d72e)

  52. My Terrorism definition:

    “Any attack made by a non-state, non-uniformed entity against a state’s property and/or citizens based upon ideological or other identity motivations.”

    David Krishan (e97c2f)

  53. Your Gleen posts are hilarious, thank you!

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  54. “That word is tossed around far too freely nowadays”

    No, you have it backwards.

    And because we won’t call traitors what they are, and because we tolerate treasonable activites…14 people were just gunned down by a man who had been spewing treason and sedition with perfect impunity while holding a job in the United States Army.

    Hell, the lefties in the government and in the media won’t even use the word “treason” after 14 Americans were murdered by a United States army officer who came right out and said he was on the side of our enemies (reportedly).

    Of course, no one should be surprised that the lefties don’t like to use the word treason or traitor, seeing as how most of them are traitors themselves.

    Dave Surls (6461d6)

  55. Greenwald says, “…if you constantly cheer on one war after the next that results in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings and the extreme suffering of millions more…

    Hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings killed!? No such thing happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Iraqi government says 85,694 Iraqis were killed from 2004 through late 2008. Most of these were not innocent. Furthermore, this is far fewer than the number of those were being killed before the U.S. reentered Iraq.

    The U.S. foray into Iraq actually saved an estimated 750,000 lives and gave Iraqis hope. Greenwald’s claim that we have no position to condemn murders by radical Islamic terrorists is ludicrous and contemptable. Human beings everywhere have an obligation to condemn it and stop it.

    George (d57b1d)

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