Various items

Giuliani's blatant lying on video. What real political adversarial journalism looks like. Bin Laden appears: Time to panic.

By Glenn Greenwald
Published September 7, 2007 5:11PM (UTC)
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(updated below)

(1) A new video produced by Robert Greenwald (no relation), entitled "The Real Rudy," presents a truly devastating indictment of Giuliani's placement of New York City's Emergency Command Center in the World Trade Center notwithstanding that the WTC had been previously attacked, that terrorists had vowed to attack it again, and that his principal advisor urged that it not be placed in Lower Manhattan.


Far more significant than the poor judgment exhibited by the decision itself is, I believe, what appears quite clearly to be Giuliani's blatant and deliberate lying when asked repeatedly by Chris Wallace about what happened and why. Rather than acknowledge responsibility or explain what happened, Giuliani -- based on all of the available evidence -- conclusively seems to lie in order to blame the decision on aides and to protect himself.

Even Chris Wallace, who actually does conduct decent adversarial interviews at times with figures who are otherwise glorified by Fox News, seems to realize what Giuliani is doing. This video should be viewed far and wide as it really does provide a vivid look at how Giuliani functions. It can be viewed here.

(2) I don't remember seeing an interview that conveys the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the neoconservative faction as effectively as the following interview with John Bolton, conducted by the BBC's Jeremy Paxman. It was from several months ago, though I saw it for the first time this week. In addition to the mendacious nature of Bolton's answers, ponder how rare it is for any of our media stars to conduct an interview this probing and adversarial of any Bush officials:

(3) The extent to which Osama bin Laden is able to scare right-wing Bush followers simply by producing a video is hard to overstate. The minute it was reported that he would speak, the reaction was as predictable as it is sad.

Jim Henley examines the dynamic underlying this simultaneous fear and glorification of bin Laden by Bush followers. It should be noted that many of them are truly scared by bin Laden, while others gleefully and cynically exploit what they believe -- and what Hillary Clinton bizarrely believes -- are the political benefits to Republicans from invoking his Scary Image.

(4) The language used this morning by both the New York Times and the Washington Post to describe the possibility that we might withdraw a puny and symbolic number of troops by January of next year is, standing alone, quite telling.


The NYT says that "Gen. David H. Petraeus . . . . could accept the pullback of roughly 4,000 troops beginning in January" and refers to "General Petraeus's apparent agreement to a small withdrawal beginning early next year," while the Post headline proclaims "Petraeus Open to Pullout of 1 Brigade" and the article informs us that he "has indicated a willingness to consider a drawdown of one brigade of between 3,500 and 4,500 U.S. troops from Iraq early next year."

It's as though we are now ruled by the Supreme Commander, General David G. Petraeus. And the task is to convince him to "accept," to "agree" to, to be "willing to consider" a symbolic reduction in the number of troops at some point in the far off future provided a whole series of subjective conditions are met (to be determined at his sole discretion). And if our Leader, Gen. Petraeus, agrees to allow this, we can be grateful for his magnanimity and flexibility and thankful to our Congress for having stood so tall in such a bipartisan way.

Why not just pull out one single troop a year from now, maybe, if Gen. Petreaus thinks things are going well? The disaster of the Iraq War is a perfect expression of our rotted political class.

(5) John Cole collects and examines some of the recent material demonstrating how politicized the military's communications activities have become in recent months under Gen. Petraues.

(6) Over at FDL, Jeralyn Meritt analyzes some of the details of yesterday's big judicial win by the ACLU, and significant defeat for the Bush administration, as a result of a federal court's declaration that part of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional. The decision is long and complex though extremely well-reasoned, and I hope to write more on it later today or over the weekend.

(7) Thank you to everyone who sent in title suggestions by e-mail and in the comment section. We received well in excess of 1,000 suggestions, many of which were quite creative and/or hilarious. Although I have not gone through them all yet, it is clear that the actual title will come from reader suggestions. There are at least 10 so far that are vastly superior to anything we thought of on our own. As I've said many times before, the greatest asset which bloggers have is the collaborative nature of the blogosphere. I really appreciate those who took the time to recommend titles.


(8) Glenn Reynolds today links to a post written by his wife Helen, a psychologist, in which Helen expresses her disagreement with a new journal article which argues that "traditional masculine socialization" leads to a greater propensity for violence. In response, Helen argues:

I suspect that many of the school shooters were looking for some way to prove themselves as men because they did not grow up with any type of "male socialization," not because they did. We do not allow young men to grow up, to engage in masculine behavior without punishment, or to learn the boundaries of violence; in fact, we just generalize and tell them never to be violent at all.

Add to this confusion that there is no ritual or passage of manhood anymore and we leave many of our boys to find their own way in the world, without guidance and sometimes, they act out their desperate need for the manhood they are missing in the most horrible of ways. These school shooters are geeky boys trying to find their masculinity, not strong, silent types.

Helen's view -- that "geeky boys" try to "find their masculinity in the most horrible ways" -- is hard to contest, as is her basis for knowing this. As her husband has written in separate posts:

But, see, that's the point. I'm a geek. . . . [I]t's also true that if democracy can't work in Iraq, then we should probably adopt a "more rubble, less trouble" approach to other countries in the region that threaten us. . . .

This has been obvious for a long time anyway, and I don't understand why the Bush Administration has been so slow to respond. Nor do I think that high-profile diplomacy, or an invasion, is an appropriate response. We should be responding quietly, killing radical mullahs and iranian atomic scientists, supporting the simmering insurgencies within Iran, putting the mullahs' expat business interests out of business, etc. Basically, stepping on the Iranians' toes hard enough to make them reconsider their not-so-covert war against us in Iraq. And we should have been doing this since the summer 2003.

It would not be hyperbole to point out that Helen's first-hand observation -- that "geeky boys . . . act out their desperate need for the manhood they are missing in the most horrible of ways" -- does more to explain the events of the last six years than almost any other single theory one can find.

Glenn Greenwald

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