24 Jun 2010

Glenn Greenwald Lets Obama Rest Up, Hits National Review

Foreign Policy 5 Comments

To his credit, Glenn Greenwald switched from bashing right-wingers to bashing Obama once the latter had gained power. But Greenwald couldn’t resist hitting National Review’s Jay Nordlinger who, when commenting on the fact that Hamas wasn’t letting the Red Cross visit an Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit) in their custody, wrote: “…there’d be mass demonstrations in [Shalit’s] behalf all over Europe, and on American streets, too” if “Shalit were other than Israeli.”

The obvious implication is that only those dastardly Hamas terrorists hold people hostage without access to Red Cross inspections. Greenwald says: “I’m asking this literally: is Nordlinger ignorant of the fact that the United States of America denied ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] access to non-Israeli prisoners for years during the prior administration?”

He goes on to quote from a BBC story from 2005:

The US has admitted for the first time that it has not given the Red Cross access to all detainees in its custody.

The state department’s top legal adviser, John Bellinger, made the admission but gave no details about where such prisoners were held. . . . He stated that the group International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had access to “absolutely everybody” at the prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds suspects detained during the US war on terror. When asked by journalists if the organisation had access to everybody held in similar circumstances elsewhere, he said: “No”.

Then I like this paragraph from Glenn (emphasis mine):

This raises an important and under-appreciated point. Many Americans defend the U.S.’s conduct not because they support it, but because they’re completely unaware of what those actions actually are. Many of the people who support what they call the “enhanced interrogation” program really believe they’re defending three instances of waterboarding rather than scores of detainee deaths, because they literally don’t know it happened. And here you have Nordlinger — a Senior Editor of National Review — claiming that denial of access to the ICRC is the hallmark of brutal tyrannies (it is), and arguing that a country could only get away with it if they do it to an Israeli, making clear that he is completely ignorant of the fact that his own Government did this for years (without, needless to say, prompting a peep of protest from his magazine), and reportedly continues to do it. That the U.S. did this systematically just doesn’t exist in his brain; he really believes it’s something only China, Cuba and Hamas do. They really do live in their own universe and just block out whatever facts they dislike while inventing the ones that make them feel good.

My only objection is that Glenn seems to have succumbed to the materialist fallacy. Yes, it’s technically true that the fact of U.S. atrocities doesn’t exist in Nordlinger’s brain, but then again it doesn’t exist in your brain, either Glenn. It exists in your mind.

5 Responses to “Glenn Greenwald Lets Obama Rest Up, Hits National Review

  1. Matt Flipago says:

    And does Bob make the dualist fallacy as well, and not a libertarian?

    • bobmurphy says:

      Not sure what you’re asking me. Are you asking, “Bob, do you think non-physical things exist?” Yes. Take the number 4 for example.

  2. English Bob says:

    Hmmm…. When I want to remember details such as whether or not Americans allow Red Cross access to detainees I lay down some proteins in my neurons. Or something like that. What do you do?

    • bobmurphy says:

      I consult my memory.

      So English Bob, are you saying your memories are actually in your neurons?

      Or, as I suspect, do you really mean, “My memories are in the relationships between my neurons”? Because be careful, the relationship between two physical things is not itself a physical thing. So it must not be as real as a hydrogen atom.

      • English Bob says:

        I consult my memory.

        By “remember”, I meant “commit to memory”, not “recall from memory”.

        Because be careful, the relationship between two physical things is not itself a physical thing.

        OK, let’s say I read that the Americans didn’t allow the Red Cross access to detainees and I commit that fact to long-term memory. After I commit it, either some new synapses are grown, or existing synapses get some extra protein. This is physical, right?

        I am sure you are already aware of this. I just want to understand what you are arguing.