HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405














Infomania

Buzzflash
Cursor
Raw Story
Salon
Slate
Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
Crisis Papers



MediA-Go-Go

BagNewsNotes
Crooks and Liars
CJR Daily
consortium news
Scoobie Davis




Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
Demosthenes
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
oilprice.com
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Paperweight's Fair Shot
corrente
Pacific Views
Echidne
TAPPED
Talking Points Memo
pandagon
Daily Kos
MyDD
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
Rooks Rant
The Poorman
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Mark Kleiman
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Mad Kane
Blah3.com
Alas, A Blog
Fanatical Apathy
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
Ruminate This
skippy the bush kangaroo
Slacktivist
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
Nitpicker
The Agonist


email address:
digbysez at gmail dot com
isnospoon at gmail dot com

01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Sunday, May 12, 2013

 
No sorry David, Glenn Greenwald is not wrong

by digby

It's interesting that David Atkins thinks that both Greenwald and  Maher are wrong since I came down heavily on Greenwald's side just yesterday. I suppose he was being polite. But obviously David's screed requires a response from me since he could just as easily have put my name in the title of his post.

Let me first say right upfront that I don't dictate what anyone writes on this blog.  It's a free forum and just because I might disagree with the thesis, in this case quite vehemently, I would never remove the piece simply on that basis. Free speech and clash of ideas and all that rot. But I do reserve the the right to respond when I think it's necessary. So.

Unfortunately, David chose to represent Greenwald's views as being some sort of simplistic "blaming" of all the world's ills on imperialism. That's not what he said. Indeed he said several times, in response to Maher's repeated insistence, that he did not believe that. He was referring specifically to the perennial question of "why they hate us."  He believes that the beef stems from American foreign policy of the past six decades and not out of some religious hatred for The Great Satan.  In other words, he doesn't think they hate us for our freedoms or because Allah told them so, but rather for our insistence on interfering in the rest of the world's business both economically and militarily.  (Yes,  that's "imperialism" and we are an empire, which is indisputable.)

I don't think it's surprising in the least that when people find themselves on the receiving end of massive technology and military might, they become angry and violent. Sure, they might turn to their God and religion for justification, but the truth is far more prosaic --- we dominate and kill them and they want revenge. It's the oldest story in the book.

The birth of widespread Muslim fundamentalist hatred for America stemmed from covert and overt support for dictatorships in the middle east,  military interference in Afghanistan, Israel, the corruption of the oil patch states and their relationship to the richest most profligate nation in the world (us) and a desire for independence and self-rule. God's edicts fall far down the list of reasons.

Their fundamentalism gained power as much because of America's foreign policy actions as some desire for pre-modern society --- Islam was the only institution that provided power for the masses. Iran is the perfect example of how it happens:  a dominant superpower decided to interfere in a nation's internal politics in order to control its resources,  the church foments a revolution and the rest is history.  There's a name for it and we all know it: blow-back. And it's happened so often now that it's astonishing that anyone's arguing the point  anymore. We've seen it manifest in the middle east over decades starting in in Iran and Afghanistan to devastating effect and we have no idea how catastrophic our little Iraq adventure is going to turn out to be. I'm not even going to mention the consequences of our relationship with Israel, which plays into everything that happens in the region.

To me, it is simply indisputable that the United States' sometimes well-intentioned but often brutal and violent use of its global dominance as a military and economic power has resulted in the blow-back we call terrorism. Is it everything?  Of course not and Greenwald was careful to say he didn't believe so either.  It's economics, culture and yes, religion as well. All these factors play into this problem. But there's only one factor that Americans have any direct influence over --- the actions of their democratically elected government.  So that's probably the smartest first step to try and correct, don't you think?

Do I think Islam, fundamentalist or otherwise, is unusually lethal as religions go?  No, frankly, I don't. I think the embrace of fundamentalist Islam --- and especially terrorism --- among a sub-set of Muslims is driven mostly by the politics of the era, probably at the hands of opportunistic leaders who use it to keep their followers on their path to power. I think we can all agree that religion has often served that purpose, can't we? I certainly don't think these fundamentalist/extremist Muslims don't truly believe what they believe --- and like David, I find those beliefs very noxious --- but I honestly don't think they are the most important source of the problem of terrorism either.

Maher's facile assumption that  Islam is the only religion that still embraces violence is very convenient, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if the shoes were on the other feet, Americans would have no problem adopting a religious justification for fighting back the Imperial Islamic Iranians. Christians haven't had the need to kill in the name of God for quite some time, but I'm sure they'd be able to find that old time religious mojo if the need arose.

Not that it's likely to happen:




If you think there are no consequences to taking on that dominant military role and then using your advanced weaponry to invade countries that didn't attack you, depose legitimately elected leaders, torture and indefinitely imprison innocent people etc, etc. then I think you're being naive. If it expects to be safe from any retribution, any nation that takes such power unto itself would be wise to go to great lengths to insure that none of those things happened in order to preserve moral authority and the goodwill of as many people on this globe as possible. And sadly, I don't think we've met that burden whether in Southeast Asia, Latin America or the middle east.

Maybe we just aren't cut out for this empire thing. Certainly the founders of this nation didn't intend for us to be one. And that's a problem, not just for them, but for us.

We are not to blame for all the world's ills and neither Greenwald or I are making that case. But we must acknowledge that this imperial project at least requires that we take our responsibility as citizens seriously enough to oversee our government's foreign policy with clear eyes and make our representatives and leadership project ideals and values that do not create more enemies than friends. We're a strong country, I guarantee we can take it.


.






Search Digby!