Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is my position on the "war on al Qaeda" racist?

I made a promise to myself years ago that I would take any charge of "racism" thrown at me seriously and examine it fearlessly.

While he didn't refer specifically to me, Glenn Greenwald has suggested that the position of many of the people who I tend to agree with about our current war on al Qaeda is fueled by privilege.

So let me ask myself some probing questions to see if there is any truth to the charge.

When it comes to the war on al Qaeda, is it racist to struggle with the world as it is rather than attempt to live in a world as we want it to be?

Is it racist to be frustrated that a focus on due process is the wrong argument to be making considering the rationale being made for targeted killing has been articulated in terms of the "war" authorized by the 2001 AUMF?

Is it racist to see targeted killing as an improvement over invading countries based on lies?

Is it racist to suggest that we see our current situation in the context of this country's history?

Is it racist to suggest that a focus on the tactic used to fight the war on al Qaeda is a distraction from the conversation we need to be having?

Finally - and most importantly - is it racist to suggest that we focus on ending this indefinite war rather than codifying it?

The assumption Greenwald needs to make to suggest that people like me are fueled by racism is that we simply don't care about the brown people being killed by this war. I think its obvious from the above links that nothing could be further from the truth.

I would instead suggest that Greenwald doesn't feel the need to address the actual arguments his critics are making and is content to caricature them for his own convenience. In other words, he's more interested in being right than in having an actual dialogue. It seems to me that there is a certain privilege at work in that way of interacting with the world.


  1. Would you think differently of al Qaeda and the fight against if its members were lily-white? If the answer is no, then it's not racist.

    1. I certainly recall how America acted toward the Russians for decades. They were the enemy. Period. Didn't matter one bit that they were white. Same applied to the Germans.

    2. Much of what we think of as history is a series of white on white slaughters.

  2. Would Greenwald be resorting to ad hominem attacks on his detractors if he were certain his arguments were valid?

  3. Is Glenn Greenwald using "red herrings?" Yes, or ... yes. Is Glenn's failure to address human rights abuses, particularly aimed at aboriginal populations, in his current country of Brazil racist? Does he care? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. "Is it racist to see targeted killing as an improvement over invading countries based on lies?"

    No, not racist; but it is fallacious, if you pretend those are the only two possibilities. It's the lesser of two evils -- both of which we can reject.

    I'll continue to argue against the idea of a "war against al Qaeda".

    1. I'll continue to argue against the idea of a "war against al Qaeda"

      Is that because you think dealing with them is unnecessary or because you think there are other strategies for dealing with them?

      Also, I didn't suggest that targeted killing and invasion were the only two possibilities. My statement was is an improvement over the other.

    2. One other point...

      If you read the link to the statement about targeted killing being an improvement over invading countries - it was in direct response to statements folks like Greenwald made about Obama being worse than Bush.

      My point was to counteract that kind of nonsense - not to make a case for targeted killing (which I stated very clearly in the linked article).

  5. I think that Mr. Greenwald is a selfish person to the 'nth degree.

    I've followed him over the years and he A L W A Y S takes the position of condemning Liberal leaders on the grounds that they are not as Liberal as him...and yet he offers no electoral alternatives, supports no candidate for any office, much less putting his own hat in the ring.

    He is in fact, an egomaniac, who should be ignored for the good of all, until he 'grows up' and develops a coherent and focused strategy on the issues at hand.

  6. GG often adopts the Karl Rove method of ascribing his worst traits to his "opposition". He's not liberal, not progressive, not wise, not worth reading unless you're into self deprecation.