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Glenn Reynolds believes he has discovered some hypocrisy, with hilarious results:

GLENN GREENWALD NOTICES THAT BARACK OBAMA IS MY PUPPET: “What is most amazing about all this is that, a mere three years later, some combination of Israel and the U.S. are doing exactly that which Reynolds recommended. Numerous Iranian nuclear scientists are indeed being murdered.” And yet the “progressives” who were so upset by my blogging seem oddly uninterested in launching similar condemnations regarding Obama’s actual killing. Say what you will about Greenwald — and no, really, say what you will about Greenwald — but he is, at least, paying attention.

A cynic would conclude that all that moralizing “antiwar” talk back in the Bush era was just partisan twaddle or something.

The first problem here is that there is no hypocrisy. (And, yes, I think it would have been more useful — or rather less useful to hacks like Reynolds — had Salon‘s Glenn not implied that Kevin, Lindsay and I were partisan stooges by comparing us to colleagues he was “sure” would condemn the actions, but anyway.) The bigger problem is that there’s no “Obama’s actual killing” to be discussed here. If actual evidence emerges that the U.S. ordered or collaborated in the killing of Iranian civilians that Reynolds advocates I will strongly condemn these actions. As of now, there is none. But, aside from the fact that both premises of the post are transparently erroneous and are tied together by smarmy apologism for illegal murders, great work!

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  • DrDick

    Glenn Reynolds continues in his dedicated endeavor to thoroughly discredit the University of Tennessee Law School.

  • ploeg

    But you admit that you wasted valuable time watching stupid NCAA football games instead of spending every spare moment looking for signs of executive misconduct? Confess! Confess! Confess!

  • Rarely Posts

    “The bigger problem is that there’s no ‘Obama’s actual killing’ to be discussed here. If actual evidence emerges that the U.S. ordered or collaborated in the killing of Iranian civilians . . . .”

    Thank you! This entire “controversy” about alleged hypocrisy is driving me crazy because, as far as I can tell, we don’t even had evidence that the United States is involved.

    According to the New York Times: “The White House condemned the attack and denied any responsibility. The official reaction in Israel appeared to be more cryptic.”

    Now, I’d be interested in proof (if it exists) that the United States is responsible, but I don’t see why I’m supposed to condemn the President when: (1) there isn’t proof that the United States is behind them; (2) there isn’t proof that the President played any role in them; and (3) the White House’s official position is that it’s wrong.

    Greenwald simply assumes that the United States must have a role in it but he doesn’t provide evidence. If anyone is showing their prejudices, it’s him.

    Personally, I suspect Israel is behind it (but I have no evidence aside from their hesitancy to deny it), but I don’t think that necessarily means the United States is involved. It’s quite typical for covert operations to be covert, which means not telling people (even allies) about them.

    • ploeg

      I condemn the White House for not calling dibs on assassination condemnation before Glenn Greenwald got to it.

    • Rarely Posts

      Also, just to follow up, it’s not as though only Israel and the United States might have an interest in assassinating these people. Other regional or international players may have an interest. I’m assuming that Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, certain Iraqi actors, and various other countries may not want Iran to obtain nukes, and for that matter, it may be internal groups within Iran.

      It’s very annoying (and inaccurate) for people to assume that everything in the world is about the United States. Sometimes it’s not about us. It’s even more annoying for Greenwald to simply assert that it’s the United States and act like the only people who don’t recognize it have their heads in the sand.

  • But Scott, doesn’t this post show you are more concerned with attacking Reynolds than condemning the assassinations? After all, SOMEONE is doing them, whether it’s the US, Israeli, the Yankees, or Iran itself.

    And you continue to fail to condemn them. In fact, even in the post where you directly respond to the embarrassment of your lack of condemnation, you only CONDITIONALLY condemn the actions!!

    If the United States was involved in the killings — and we should stress the “if” here — the Obama administration’s actions were both illegal and immoral, for the same reasons stated in my earlier posts. I don’t know if the assassination of civilians violates Israeli law, but if the state of Israel was involved its actions were certainly wrong.


    If actual evidence emerges that the U.S. ordered or collaborated in the killing of Iranian civilians that Reynolds advocates I will strongly condemn these actions.

    So you DO NOT NOW strongly condemn these actions!!!!!!!


    • This was one of those xkcd “someone is wrong on the internet” days. Where is Bérubé in all this? Silence from him is like Riunite on ice- chilling.

      • Well, I moved from procrastinating on my promotion report to procrastinating on papers and grant proposals. Win for me!

        • That is a good day of procrastination. I procrastinated on reviewing grants.

  • Also, you know what they say- if man is 5, then the devil is 6, and if the devil is 6, then…

    • Malaclypse

      there was a guy, an underwater guy who controlled the sea, got killed by ten million pounds of sludge
      from new york and new jersey

  • thebewilderness

    How very irresponsible of you not to speculate!

  • I find it interesting that a post rebutting this charge of hypocrisy, when made by Glenn Greenwald, elicits furious denunciation, while rebutting exactly the same charge made by Reynolds does not.

    Man, those Greenwald flying monkeys really hate partisan double standards, amirite?

    • ploeg

      Somebody forgot to invite the flying monkeys to the thread.

      • The Flying Monkeys

        Yeah! What the hell, joe from Lowell? If you keep insulting us behind our backs, we’re going to fly over your house and take a big group crap on it. Capische?

  • An update:

    Meanwhile, Professor Campos, writing on the blog where Lemieux writes, tries to explain to Lemieux’s angry commenters what the point is of asking these questions and what the benefit is of hearing denunciations not only when a right-wing blogger proposes it, but also when it’s done in reality (in comments, David Mizner attempted the same).

    I find that it needs no comment other than Greenwald is not a reliable summarizer. Now I’m totally amused again. Hurrah!

    • Also, not that Prof. Campos is Prof. Campos, but Le-spew (™Althouse- er PROF. Althouse) is chopped liver.

      It is hard to get into why I think Paul was partially OK in his post- raising the level of introspection, but also less than OK for completely missing the rhetorical BS of the GG post he approved of. Glenn does a ton of work that is very useful in terms of collating information, but I find a lot of his rhetoric disingenuous. There was a forever Crooked Timber thread where Greenwald and Kerr went at it, and Orin Kerr was a slippery, slippery, slippery fish, but Greenwald just went to 11, while Kerr stayed as cool as a slippery cucumber. I think this is when I realized the Glenn was a little bit of a rage hound. Ugh. Read but perhaps be enriched by people mostly not yelling even in the face of extreme slippery:


      • Jamie

        Well, GG is a rage hound. Paul alluded to that, perhaps not forcefully enough for some.

        It is good to have yappy snipers around to keep people honest (that was not really required here, and that is how rage hounds go wrong, but…).

        Glenn annoys the fuck out of me at times, but I think he is useful, and not just as Konsistency Kop. He also has a distinct, but mostly honest, frame from mine, and is ruthless in asserting his priorities in policy. I think there should be little surprise that he spent time defending Our Ron of the Fleet-Footed Negro – they both have the same purity of purpose, albeit fairly different purposes.

        • rea

          I don’t think he’s all that honest. Claiming that Obama is obviously behind these killings is damn near as bad as claiming that Obama is obviously a Kenyan Islamosocialist.

          • He’s obviously not even remotely honest. Not just in the “intellectual honesty” sense, but in his willful efforts to mislead his readers about facts he knows to be true.

            Nothing demonstrates this better than his writing about l’affair de Manning. He writes, “Manning is locked in a cell 23 hours a day. During the one hour he’s allowed out, he doesn’t have access to a television.”

            When he wrote this, he knew that Manning had a television in his cell. He didn’t just attempt to convince his readers of a falsehood (Manning isn’t allowed to watch television). His extremely careful construction – not explicitly stating the falsehood, just describing the facts in a manner designed to make his readers draw it as a conclusion – demonstrates his awareness of what he was doing.

            It’s no different from Oliver North answering the question, “Did any money go to the Contras?” with “No taxpayer money went to the Contras.” Not just a liar; a practiced liar, who tells his lie in a way that allows him to later claim he never lied.

      • Yes, I noticed the “professor” bit! Hi-larious.

        I started reading the CT thread, but couldn’t get very far. I’m not as clear that Henry is in the right there, though these recent Greenwald posts make me more sympathetic.

        I like your take on Paul’s post, though I might add that introspection which tends toward mere self-flagellation is less useful. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I just don’t see that Paul had a huge duty to keep focus on the Iranian killings just because he got into a blog fight on the correct side and the explanation being a subtle partisanship just seems wrong.

        If he uses that to post more on a topic I care about, then hurray! But that’s an extrinsic good, not evidence that the judgement was correct.

        Blah blah. Procrastinating going to a meeting :)

        • Henry probably was wrong in that CT post, but Glenn rages out at about comment 190- and it showed he could play his game and that is it. The world was his oyster and he elected for WON’T ENGAGE WITH TRANSPARENT DISHONESTY BLAH etc.

          • I read it! For the second time, I realized.

            Not a shining moment for anyone, but I came away (again) more sympathetic to Greenwald. Though the “I’ll get my assistent” bit was…really ridiculous. I mean, that made him look bad. Refuse to do it outright, dude! But once suckered it, play the game to win.

            • I was on GG’s side there all the way, but seeing how his argument went- even considering the slippery slippery fish in play- I realized he couldn’t be serious. He can write an infinite number of words several times a week on a large number of topics, but he didn’t have time to compose an argument based on cases [possibly a rigged game of Kerr’s]- and disappeared with a puff of smoke and insults. That was when it snapped for me.

    • Somebody remind Mizner’s cleaning ladies to bring extra mops this week.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Since many (all?) of the assassinations seem to have the following elements in common:

    Targets are iranian
    Targets are involved in nuclear program
    Assassins use motorcycles in attack

    It simply MUST be the Greater Israel Chapter of Hell’s Angels that’s behind it. Have they issued a denial yet?

  • Njorl

    I’ve read a bit about these assassinations in the last 20 hours. It looks like before yesterday that one scientist verifiably working on Iran’s nuclear program had been assassinated.

    The first scientist killed did not work on the program and was a known critic of the Iranian government. I don’t think there is a credible case to be made that he was working on that program.

    Next, there are two attacks against key actors in Iran’s nuclear program, one successful. There’s no doubt about these.

    Next, there is the killing of Dariush Rezaeinejad. Iran denies his connection to their nuclear program. This one is fuzzy. Rezaeinejad did nothing which would be particularly useful for a nuclear energy program, but he did specialize in work which would be useful for the high-voltage, high-current, high-speed switches used in nuclear weapons. Iran’s denial might be cover, or might be genuine. This victim was originally identified as Darioush Rezaei, a physicist who probably was working on Iran’s nuclear program in some way – though once he was ruled out as a victim, journalists stopped looking into him. It isn’t really something you can easily determine just looking around the internet. (Glenn Greenwald repeats the identity mistake in his article). Interestingly, there is a D. Rezaei who works on Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well.

    Prior to yesterday, to anyone who paid careful attention to the story, the assassination plot is clear, but to someone less focussed on it, it was not at all a certainty.

    • Njorl

      A correction:
      The first scientist killed, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, has been identified as working for Iran’s nuclear program and not working for it. The nuclear agency itself claims he had no involvement.

  • Interesting take by Juan Cole.

    Journalist Richard Silverstein says he has a reliable Israeli source who affirms that the bombings are a joint production of Mossad and the MEK.

    His logic is very compelling.

    • John F

      The question as to whether this is intended to provoke Iran into doing something stupid is an interesting one- and something stupid would be an attempt to interdict shipping through the Strait of Hormuz- or worse doing something on US soil.

      Of course if the Iranians believe Mossad is behind it, they have sufficient proxies nearby to eff with Israel- on a tit for tat basis if nothing else. The best case scenario from a rightwing Israeli POV is provoking something which results in the US dropping a couple of MOPs on Iranian sites.

      So if the Israelis are behind it, their goals are likely:
      1: Actually impede the Iranian Nuke Program through the killings
      2: Have Iran blame and retaliate against the US

      If the US is behind it, the motive that really makes sense to me (not to discount the idea that someone could be doing this for essentially irrational reasons) is doing it to forestall the Israelis from doing something REALLY stupid… “see you don;t have to do THAT, we are doing stuff”

      If MEK is behind it? Well simply effing with the powers that be in Iran would seem to be sufficient motivation for them

      • And if it is wag the dog stuff from the Iranians, the hardliners are in good shape too because they firm up support for the “we are surrounded by enemies” gambit. Basically, assholes profit all around.

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