Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Left Wing (and Right Wing) Hypocrisy, Again

This is like shooting fish in a barrel (who would even do that, by the way?), I realize, but still. I can't help but post stuff like this.

From Salon.com:
"Repulsive progressive hypocrisy" by Glenn Greenwald
http://www.salon.com/2012/02/08/repulsive_progressive_hypocrisy/singleton/

Interesting how the left's opinions change depending on who is in office. This once again demonstrates their inherent hypocrisy.

"During the Bush years, Guantanamo was the core symbol of right-wing radicalism and what was back then referred to as the 'assault on American values and the shredding of our Constitution': so much so then when Barack Obama ran for President, he featured these issues not as a secondary but as a central plank in his campaign. But now that there is a Democrat in office presiding over Guantanamo and these other polices — rather than a big, bad, scary Republican — all of that has changed, as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll today demonstrates:"

"'A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to close the brig at Guantanamo Bay and to change national security policies he criticized as inconsistent with U.S. law and values, has little to fear politically for failing to live up to all of those promises.'"

"'The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s decision to keep open the prison at Guantanamo Bay. . . . The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.'"

"Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process. As Bush’s own CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden said this week about the Awlaki assassination: 'We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him but we didn’t need a court order to kill him. Isn’t that something?'"

"Beyond that, Obama has used drones to kill Muslim children and innocent adults by the hundreds. He has refused to disclose his legal arguments for why he can do this or to justify the attacks in any way. He has even had rescuers and funeral mourners deliberately targeted. As Hayden said: 'Right now, there isn’t a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel.' But that is all perfectly fine with most American liberals now that their Party’s Leader is doing it."

"Indeed: is there even a single liberal pundit, blogger or commentator who would have defended George Bush and Dick Cheney if they (rather than Obama) had been secretly targeting American citizens for execution without due process, or slaughtering children, rescuers and funeral attendees with drones, or continuing indefinite detention even a full decade after 9/11? Please. How any of these people can even look in the mirror, behold the oozing, limitless intellectual dishonesty, and not want to smash what they see is truly mystifying to me."

Harsh words, but appropriate.

Greenwald goes on to point out, quite rightly, that this is behavior that we see on both sides of the aisle.

"One of the very first non-FISA posts I ever wrote that received substantial attention was this one from January, 2006, entitled 'Do Bush Followers have an Ideology'? It examined the way in which the Bush-supporting Right was more like an 'authoritarian cult' rather than a political movement because its adherents had no real, fixed political beliefs; instead, I argued, their only animating 'principle' was loyalty to their leader, and they would support anything he did no matter how at odds it was with their prior ostensible beliefs. That post was linked to and praised by dozens and dozens of liberal blogs: can you believe what authoritarian followers these conservatives are?, they scoffed in unison."

"As this post demonstrates, long before Barack Obama achieved any significance on the political scene, I considered blind leader loyalty one of the worst toxins in our political culture: it’s the very antithesis of what a healthy political system requires (and what a healthy mind would produce). One of the reasons I’ve written so much about the complete reversal of progressives on these issues (from pretending to be horrified by them when done under Bush to tolerating them or even supporting them when done by Obama) is precisely because it’s so remarkable to see these authoritarian follower traits manifest so vibrantly in the very same political movement — sophisticated, independent-minded, reality-based progressives — that believes it is above that, and that only primitive conservatives are plagued by such follower-mindlessness."

"The Democratic Party owes a sincere apology to George Bush, Dick Cheney and company for enthusiastically embracing many of the very Terrorism policies which caused them to hurl such vehement invective at the GOP for all those years. And progressives who support the views of the majority as expressed by this poll should never be listened to again the next time they want to pretend to oppose civilian slaughter and civil liberties assaults when perpetrated by the next Republican President (it should be noted that roughly 35% of liberals, a non-trivial amount, say they oppose these Obama policies)."

"One final point: I’ve often made the case that one of the most consequential aspects of the Obama legacy is that he has transformed what was once known as 'right-wing shredding of the Constitution' into bipartisan consensus, and this is exactly what I mean. When one of the two major parties supports a certain policy and the other party pretends to oppose it — as happened with these radical War on Terror policies during the Bush years — then public opinion is divisive on the question, sharply split. But once the policy becomes the hallmark of both political parties, then public opinion becomes robust in support of it."

Amen. Great article, Glenn.


In an update, Greenwald quotes Thomas Paine.
"Here is what Thomas Paine, in The Age of Reason, had to say about all of this:"
[I]t is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime.
"As is true for so many things, Paine grasped the crux of the matter and expressed it as well as it can be expressed."