Glenn Greenwald’s Naivete About Bush Bashing On National Security

It’s really amusing to watch the scales fall from Glenn Greenwald’s eyes on national security. You can almost feel the hurt come through the page as he tries to figure out why his fellow libs are giving Obama a pass for the same national security measures they viciously criticized during the Bush years:

Just look at these illustrative incidents. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell went on Fred Thompson’s radio show yesterday to demand that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be put before a military commission — at Guantanamo. Over the weekend, Time’s Joe Klein lambasted the Obama DOJ, and embraced Bush’s former CIA and NSA Chief Michael Hayden, by objecting to the criminal charges and Constitutional rights afforded the accused Christmas Day bomber, with Klein decreeing: “the bomber is an enemy combatant. He doesn’t have Miranda rights.” MSNBC personalities Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie chatted yesterday with their boss, MSNBC Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker, all agreeing that the decision to grant civilian trials for “Terrorists” is “a pure, self-inflicted wound.” When Najibullah Zazi was arrested for allegedly plotting a serious Terrorist attack, The New Republic’s Michael Crowley said he was so frightened by this that he was open to torturing Zazi. Democratic Senators are threatening to join the GOP in cutting off funds for civilian trials. Democratic members of Congress joined with the GOP to prevent even modest reforms of the Patriot Act and other surveillance abuses. City officials compete with one another over who can be the most frightened and terrorized by Terrorists.

…Seriously: if you were a Bush follower, wouldn’t you feel as though you were owed a major apology for all the accusations and the fuss that came from Democrats and media figures, accusing you of supporting radical and Constitution-shredding policies when, it turns out, they actually crave those policies in order to feel safe? Doesn’t all of this bolster the Republican claim that those attacks on the Bush administration for civil liberties abuses were not due to genuine conviction, but rather for partisan gain (in the case of Democratic officials) and cheap, preening, wet-finger-in-the-air moralizing (in the case of media stars)?

…All of these attacks on the Obama administration really leave one wondering: what is it exactly that Bush and Cheney did wrong? Was it just the waterboarding (the official authorization for which was withdrawn several years before Bush left office and which, in any event, people like Richard Cohen and Michael Crowley still crave)? Everything else other than the “enhanced interrogation techniques” was good? What happened to all the profound talk about how they ruined our image in the world and violated our “core principles” and how we can simultaneously Stay Safe and adhere to our values — which happened to be a central theme of Obama’s successful presidential campaign? How can Democrats and media stars claim to find Bush and Cheney so distasteful as they simultaneously attack Obama for reversing their defining policies in a few isolated instances? In the areas of civil liberties and Terrorism, what exactly did Bush and Cheney do wrong?

Glenn, you didn’t get that a lot of the liberal criticism of Bush on the national security front was driven by politics? Seriously? Even after the majority of Democrats in the Senate voted for Iraq, talked about WMDs just like Bush, and then pretended like it never happened when it became politically inconvenient? You probably think the same people clapping and cheering when Code Pink harasses military recruiters really “support the troops,” too, don’t you?

Here’s the honest truth, which may, believe it or not, make Glenn Greenwald feel a little better. Most liberals care a lot more about domestic issues than foreign policy and they care not one whit at all for intellectual consistency.

So, sure, most liberals may buy into the same weepy nonsense that Glenn Greenwald does about making terrorists sleepy or tired being a form of torture, but at the end of the day, they care more about getting elected — and the average American does not give a rat’s rear end what we do to members of Al-Qaeda. Glenn Greenwald may not get this, but most Democrats do and so they’re willing to pretend to be tough on terrorism when it’s politically necessary.

If you don’t buy that, just think back to 2004 when the Democrats ran a candidate whom liberals tended to like because he made a name for himself as an anti-war protester. But, what did they talk about non-stop during his presidential campaign? The fact that he fought in Vietnam. The fact that he had medals. Most liberals actually consider those things to be a negative, but if it helps get Democrats into a position to raise taxes and socialize part of the economy, well then, something has to give.

Personally? I’m glad the Democrats are willing to be such hypocrites on national security issues. It beats the alternative, which would mean sticking to their convictions and pursuing nearly suicidal national security policies regardless of political pressure. Better that they break Glenn Greenwald’s heart than get us all killed.

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