01 Jun 2010

Glenn Greenwald vs. Eliot Spitzer

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Arguing about the Israelis boarding the flotilla etc. What’s amazing about this controversy is how people on both sides are acting like it’s self-evident that they’re right and the other side are evil monsters. E.g. GG on his blog is mad that Obama is hemming and hawing rather than condemning the actions like most other world leaders, whereas on the radio today Sean Hannity was going nuts that Obama wasn’t endorsing wholeheartedly Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorists. (BTW I can only listen to Sean Hannity in 2-minute bursts. I was flipping and was curious to hear how he would discuss this situation.)

I think someone like Gene Callahan would say, “See? That’s why empty slogans like ‘non-aggression’ are useless; both sides claim self-defense in this episode.”

Of course, someone like Stephan Kinsella could say, “See? That’s why it’s important to have a logical theory of where property rights come from, so we can identify the actual aggressors in a conflict.”

18 Responses to “Glenn Greenwald vs. Eliot Spitzer”

  1. Taylor says:

    The Israel-Palestine thing is, on the whole, so dishonest and so manipulated on so many levels that it’s truly one of the very few, if only, intellectual excursions I have no interest in ever setting out upon. Nobody tells the truth, everyone is so emotional and irrational about one thing or another, so many people who are seemingly so utterly unconcerned are nonetheless deeply involved. It just seems like an absolute waste of time to try to figure it all out.

    Every single time I read something about what’s going on over there I come away from it feeling like I understand the situation less, not more. Not a good sign.

  2. Ash Navabi says:

    I happened to be watching Spitzer today, where he had a guest on talking about oil Then I thought to myself, “I could be doing better things.” So I went and made spaghetti. It was ok.

  3. Leo says:

    Did you hear Michael Savage’s rant? Sometimes that guy just says things because he wants to be different. He then points out that what he just said was different. I can’t take him seriously.

  4. Bob Murphy's Love Child says:

    This whole Israel/Rest of Middle East thing is a mess. I never wanted to weigh in on it either, because the debate apparently goes back centuries and there is so much mud slinging. That being said if what is in the link below is true, then I can’t say I blame the other nations for hating Israel.


  5. Teqzilla says:

    Fun link, Bob jnr. It shows four maps meant to demonstrate how aggressively expansionist the nation of Israel is and two of them are dated from before Israel was founded. So dastardly are the Israelis that can apparently subjugate retroactively. The maps also only identify roughly one third of Palestine as Palestinian land. I suspect it does this so a) it makes it look like Israel swallowed up the whole of Palestine and b) avoids showing that Jordan ‘occupies’ far more of Palestine than Israel thereby avoiding addressing the question of why an ostensibly nationalist movement spends no time at all attempting to wrest their land back from that country which occupies most of it.

  6. Daniel Hewitt says:

    Greenwald and Hannity are two sides of the same coin. Each makes the mistake of zealously defending “their” side no matter what. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extremely complicated with a lot of history, and frankly no end in sight. As Taylor remarked above, the more one learns about it, the less understandable it becomes. It really doesn’t deserve to be turned into a simple Left-Right partisan issue.

    Here is another fun link – 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds:

  7. Tom Woods says:

    The maps are actually not misleading, just because two are from before the creation of Israel. That’s kind of the point, actually. Yes, the 1947 partition plan came (naturally) before the creation of Israel, but the point there is that the (as-yet-unnamed) Jewish state was given considerably more land than its relative population would have entitled it to.

  8. Bob Roddis says:

    1. Bob Roddis would say that these people need less “government” and more free market covenant communities.

    2. Justin Raimondo quotes Alvin Rabushka for the proposition that Israel is SOCIALIST.

    It’s only natural for the red staters to support the socialists and the blue staters to support the cultural conservatives, right? That makes sense.

    3. Alvin Rabushka, along with Kenneth A. Shepsle, wrote “Politics in Plural Societies: A Theory of Democratic Instability”.

    I was assigned that book in college back in 1973 along with “Power and Market” by Rothbard which I found at first quite bizarre. I found that the Rabushka book proved that democratic socialism in a multi-ethnic society leads to control by a single ethnic group and sometimes all the way to Rwanda. Knowing this, I was then more receptive to Rothbard.

    You can still get the entire Rabushka book here as a 12 MB download pdf file.

    4. The “5,000 year map in 90 seconds” shows the creation of new nation states from the European colonies in the 1950s and 60s. Those states were created pursuant to the models supplied by the Western academics and experts based upon their expertise and love of Democratic Socialism. Those are the same people who would and do call libertarians “racist”. Considering all of the mass slaughter and poverty that has resulted from this model of Democratic Socialism, who are the true racists? Really?

    5. Near Detroit, there is a very large Canadian Indian reservation on Walpole Island.

    Those people were kicked off their land only 200 years ago. What if they came back with tanks and jets?

    6. While growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in the Jewish suburb of Oak Park, MI, the same Detroit suburb as Jeffrey Sachs and Steven Horwitz, we used to sing EXODUS at least once a week in public elementary school. Is that normal?

  9. Contemplationist says:

    Actually the conflict is simple from one angle.
    If you support Israel’s right to exist (you can weave the parameters of the definition as you wish),
    you will see that most of its enemies/opponents don’t. For them “occupation” is not about Gaza or West Bank or Golan Heights. Its the existence of a Jewish state in the midst of Islamic land. I don’t claim to interpret this from some psychological explanation. This is precisely what they say over and over and over again, moreso in their own language (arabic) than in English for Western audience.
    Repeated polls have shown that support for Israel in the Arab world hovers around 20%. THATS the issue. If that number went to 60%, the conflict would be instantly over. The Israeli public has repeatedly shown willingness to give back land and make many concessions if they are to be left alone to live boring lives.

    Apart from the above, whatever contemporary brouhaha is taking place does not matter. it comes down to the acceptence of the existence of Israel. This says nothing about particular israeli actions which can range from benign, to lawful to criminal.

  10. Bob Roddis says:

    I agree pretty much with the statement of Contemplationist as far as it goes. But why would the Arabs acknowledge “Israel’s right to exist”, whatever that means, considering how much land Israel has stolen? Nevertheless, the U.S. should get itself completely out of that mess ASAP.

    • ADA says:

      Stolen from whom? This is a pure statist conflict! Let’s not all be hypocrites here. It’s not like the anti-Israel crowd is complaining about Israel’s violation of private property rights or anything like that. Palestinians reclaiming their alleged stolen land is about them establishing a tyrannical State of their own and not some dream about individuals reclaiming their private property. So spare me the “Israel stole land” nonsense.

      • Bob Roddis says:

        I agree that the Palestinians have no plan for a Rothbardian covenant community utopia, which might have worked in the 1930s. I simply can see why they wouldn’t be giving up any time soon on the idea of getting back “their land”.

        I also said I wanted out of the conflict.

  11. Bob Roddis says:

    Justin Raimondo’s calm, even handed review of the situation is here:

    “In Israel’s case the creature can more accurately be termed a monster in the Frankenstein mold, that is, a monster created by the mad scientists who have been in charge of US foreign policy since the Reagan years. We nurtured the young Frankenstein when he was but a babe in the cradle, recognizing the Jewish state at a crucial moment in its development, and since that time subsidizing it, arming it, and protecting it from its own worst impulses – until, today, we have a perfectly monstrous juvenile delinquent turned sociopath on our hands, who’s mugging the neighbors, stealing from our wallet, and thumbing his arrogant nose at all and sundry for good measure.

    A few columns back, I asked: Have the Israelis gone crazy? The Mediterranean Massacre answers that question with a resounding yes.


    Although information is still sketchy, there may be as many as nine Americans traveling with the flotilla, including Joe Meadors, a veteran of the 1967 bombing of the USS Liberty: no word yet as to whether he survived the Mediterranean Massacre. Other possible American victims of Israeli state terrorism include Ann Wright, former US Army colonel and Deputy Chief of Mission to Afghanistan. Underscoring the dire physical threat posed by the flotilla to Israel’s national security, we have the 81-year-old Ambassador Edward L. Peck, former State Department Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. These are the dangerous “militants” who “ambushed” the delicate flowers of the IDF.

    If the Israelis killed or injured a single American – and we still don’t know – the “we stand with Israel” position of the Obama administration approaches treason. That’s a word the War Party uses with promiscuous abandon, but in this instance I’m using it because it precisely describes the policy of sacrificing one’s own citizens on the altar of fealty to a foreign capital.”

  12. Stephan Kinsella says:

    So we know what your Oakeshottian transitioning friend would say, and me– what would El Bobborino say?

    • bobmurphy says:

      Who’s that, some type of illegal?

      • Stephan Kinsella says:

        As Roderick Long notes here, http://aaeblog.com/2010/06/06/qa-on-immigration-and-welfare/ ,

        Scott Bieser: What it comes down to, to put it crudely, is that most Americans can imagine they themselves might someday wake up and find themselves financially destitute and in need of government welfare; but none of them can conceive of someday waking up and finding they have become Mexicans.

  13. Contemplationist says:

    Raimondo of course is engaging in decontextualized, vapid, vacuous theorizing.
    The US did not “support” Israel until after the Six Day War. Till then Israel bought most of its arms from France.
    Israel was not given much aid then, and American administrations did not much care for it. And it was strong by itself. The ragtag band of Jews in 48 defeated Arab armies of all surrounding countries. So please stop this stupid US-cultivated lie.
    The anti-israeli frauds would have you believe that Israel serves to manipulate America for its interests, thereby rendering a state they deem an EMPIRE i.e. the United States, the global hegemon, as a mere pawn for tiny Israel. If this is not laughable, I don’t know what is….unless of course its them damn jews controlling everything. But believe it or not, there is a REALIST case for Israel

    Oh and I’m anti-war – both Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The only monster in the Middle East is Islam and its unwhettable appetite for Jewish destruction.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      Your “realist” rant makes a bad case for supporting Israel:

      “If the United States is not perceived to be willing to send troops there–and it will be perceived as such only if it does sometimes send them–then big, nationalist states (formerly Iraq, today Iran) will attempt to muscle Saudi Arabia and the smaller Arab Gulf states, which have the larger reserves of oil. In the Gulf, the United States has no true allies. It has only dependencies, and their defense will continue to drain American resources until the day Americans give up their SUVs.

      In Israel, by contrast, the United States is allied to a militarily adept, economically vibrant state that keeps its part of the Middle East in balance. The United States has to help maintain that balance with military aid, peace plans and diplomatic initiatives. But this is at relatively low cost, and many of the costs flow back to the United States in the form of arms sales and useful Israeli technological innovations.”

      The idea that we have to send troops to the middle east to get oil is preposterous. If we have no troops there and they don’t sell us oil, then the price of gas goes up. Big deal. If they do sell us oil, the price doesn’t doesn’t go up. And we save all those zillions now wasted on empire building.

      Scott Horton interviews Tom Woods here and “discusses Daniel Webster’s stirring speech against the War of 1812, the slaughter of retreating Iraqi soldiers in the 1991 Gulf War and how the institution of war has become the US civic religion”:


      Scott Horton Interviews Eric Garris of antiwar.com about Israel here: