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Greenwald Masters the Fox News Playbook on NDAA

 

America is lucky to have a designated area for fear-mongering bullshit.

 
It’s called Fox News, and it’s time for Salon.com to dump Glenn Greenwald and send him off to his rightful place among the Chicken Little conspiracy theorists and anti-Obama demagogues.
 
Greenwald’s “three myths” piece on the National Defense Authorization Act should allow this unprofessional lefty to sidestep the normal hiring procedures and join up immediately with Rupert Murdoch’s staff of paranoid nuts and bald-faced liars.
 
He’s earned it, after all.
 
For those found wanting in the art of elucidating congressional legislative legalese, or for those easily swayed by the emotional appeals of the attention-seeking Harold Campings of the world, Greenwald is a welcomed companion.
 
But he’s also a fool.
 
Rather than capitalizing on this golden opportunity to dissect the NDAA bill and start a national dialogue about the potentially harmful effects it could or may have with regard to the United States’ foreign policy, Greenwald instead chose to exploit one piece of the bill in order to gain some media attention and, apparently, boost his credibility among the anti-government, Tea Party Libertarian demographic of Fox News viewers.
 
It worked, but then he was debunked, and now he’s a laughing stock.
 

Let the record show that despite what Greenwald may claim, NDAA doesn’t allow for the “indefinite detention” of U.S. citizens. Conveniently redacting from his otherwise verbatim citation of the NDAA, Greenwald ignores the section within the bill that essentially debunks this core piece of his argument:
 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
 
Nor is there such a thing as “indefinite detention.” As Adam Serwer of Mother Jones notes, “(NDAA) allows people who think the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks gives the president the authority to detain US citizens without charge or trial to say that, but it also allows people who can read the Constitution of the United States to argue something else.”
 
Does the bill “expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF”? Yes, but when you’re riling the masses with threats of “indefinite incarceration” of United States citizens, who cares about “expanding the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF” or “codifying” operations that are already in place in the U.S. military.
 
Greenwald justifies his sky-is-falling hysteria by stating that “there are real dangers to codifying” the “far broader language” of the NDAA bill. The “real” danger, of course, is that it’s nowcodified, whereas before it wasn’t…codified.
 
For anyone who paid attention, his only sane critique is that “broader language” means people who “substantially support” or are “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States” will face military incarceration, whereas before “substantially” and “associated forces” were not specifically written into any military detention laws.
 
Unfortunately for Greenwald, there are bloggers out there who are willing to set the record straight when irresponsible fear-mongers squander the chance to have a real, honest and constructive conversation about the powers awarded to the United States military and instead choose to severely mislead the public, falsely attack the administration, and lustfully feed their egos with attention-grabbing stories of no more import than news of a Hollywood love triangle.
 
Hats off to Milt Shook, who has already framed this over-hyped issue in its most logical context: by making the point that to veto this bill would be to defund the military until Congress reconvenes next year. (And for the record, the U.S. Senate needs only a two-thirds majority to override a presidential veto. Eighty-three senators voted for the NDAA bill.)
 
Hats off to RoadKillRefugee for reminding us of Greenwald’s past record of publicly demonstrating how grossly he “lack(s) all practical perspective…” His NDAA conniption is merely a repeat performance of a masterfully executed trick.
 
And hats off to AngryBlackLady for calling a spade a spade and setting the record straight for those remaining few who still think Greenwald’s half-witted blog posts contain even so much as a morsel of relevance. “It is hyperbole on steroids cynically contrived to elicit a particular emotional response from the readers, knowing that most of them lack the ability to parse complicated and lengthy legislation, and the concomitant case law.”
 
Glenn Greenwald is a sell-out, a pock-mark on the progressive movement, and no less of an embarrassment to the left than Glenn Beck is to whatever sane factions remain of the right.
 
Sensationalism sells, but why steal moves from the Fox News playbook when you could be on the payroll?
 
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See Also:

 

Since you don't bother linking to it, here's the Glenn Greenwald column that seems to have upset you. Unlike your post, it sounds rather calm and well-reasoned. And it makes no ad-hominem attacks on you. I urge all dagbloggers to read it:

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/01/congress_endorsing_military_detention_a_new_aumf/

Greenwald links to another blog, which gets into the supposed exemption for American citizens you claim the bill contains. It also cites the authors of the bill declaring, in Congress, that Americans are not exempt:

http://www.progressive.org/mccain_says_american_citizens_can_be_sent_to_guantanamo.html

I never thought I'd find myself agreeing entirely with Rand Paul, but that's how far the U.S. has gone in its addiction to Everlasting War. Calm down a bit, Muddy. Your side is clearly winning.

Rather than insulting everyone that was concerned, keep in mind that the language of the bill changed several times. As noted in Lawfare:

The final bill is, indeed, far less consequential than earlier versions would have been. Much of the fuss is overblown. That said, the bill has several important elements:

- The codification of detention authority in statute is a significant development, not because it enables anything that Congress had previously forbidden but because it puts the legislature squarely behind a set of policies on which it had always retained a kind of strategic ambiguity–a tolerance for detention without a clear endorsement of it of the sort that would make members accountable. Congress has now given that endorsement, and that is no small thing.

- The transfer restrictions will continue to have negative effects on administration management of detainee affairs, reducing flexibility and agility and compelling the continued detention of people the administration does not want to detain, in a status the administration does not wish to use, and at a facility it would prefer to vacate. That this is no change from current law–indeed, that the NDAA offers slightly more flexibility than does current law–does not make these restrictions any less troublesome.

- The rump mandatory detention provision remains a bit of a wild card that could have mischievous effects in practice. Though it ends up requiring very little, it does impose–as we have described–a default option of military detention for certain categories of cases. And this option might prove politically difficult to jettison.

It took me a while to realize, Donal, that by "everyone that was concerned," you meant "worried." Agreed. Greenwald criticizes many of the same things Lawfare does; he doesn't just focus on the rights of U.S. citizens. And Greenwald's column is certainly not the hysterical rant Muddy depicts it as.

“(NDAA) allows people who think the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks gives the president the authority to detain US citizens without charge or trial to say that ...

Let's just clarify exactly who we're talking about here when imagining "people" that might argue the president has authority to detain terrorism suspects indefinitely without charge or trial.

The personality assassination style of this post is much more like a Fox piece than anything Greenwald has ever involved himself with.

Yes. That happens, Fortunately the thread has been useful 

Wait...did I screw that up? Did GG actually NOT perpetuate the lie that NDAA allows Obama to "indefinitely detain" U.S. citizens?

 

I can't believe that an insignificant pansy twerp like you has the audacity to argue that Greenwald is a fool and a "pock-mark on the progressive movement" because he had the temerity to claim that the law permits the indefinite detention of American citizens when in fact all it does is allow the President to unilaterally declare an American citizen a "suspected terrorist" - at his own discretion - and throw him into a military hoosegow.   This after the White House lobbied to prevent legislators from exempting American citizens from the discretionary scope of Presidential fascism.   Do you have any shame at all?   You go after people who have made a career of defending civil liberty so you can earn your brownie points with the slimy cowards and perverters of American law and tradition who work in the White House and the Senate?

Progressive movement?  You wouldn't know a progressive movement if a bus full of Freedom Riders ran over you.   You have never once made a compelling case for a position on a single actual  issue or moral moment.  All you do is is produce vacant party spin.   Do you have any moral core at all?    And quick ... try to answer before you get another strategic messaging memo from David Plouffe.

A "national dialogue about the potentially harmful effects it could or may have with regard to the United States’ foreign policy"?   That's rich!    If someone wanted to engage in such a discussion and took a position even mildly critical of your bosses, you would be the first out with an approved hit piece.   And it's so typical of your unrelenting shallowness that you think the only reason for concern about a President with the power to thrown suspected terrorists in military prison is that it might look bad abroad in the conduct of our foreign policy.

I can't believe that a piece of toady weasel goose-stepping traitorous punk slime like you belongs to the same party I do.  Have fun at you Chicago '68 Reunion Conference in Charlotte this summer with Rahm, Daley and the other Chicago-school scum that now dominate the leadership of the Democratic Party, and continue to divide it in half.  Don't forget to bring your pepper spray.

Eventually maybe even Obama will figure out that he can't just send Homeland Security and a bunch of pathetic mayors to lock up all his critics, or send punk politico spitballers like you out into the blogosphere to astroturf his way to victory.

I must admit, that was beautifully written, Dan. 

No it wasn't.   It was just a rant.

In the land of the blind ...

Speaking as a pock-marked pansy (since age 13):

GREAT FRICKIN RANT! HAHAHAH

I knew behind his brown veneer, Muddy was an aesthete.

That appears to be how Greenwald reads the bill. In what way is that a lie? 

The bill mandates that all terrorism suspects go into military, not civilian, detention. If there's enough evidence to try them, they can get a court martial; as far as I can recall, everyone who's gone through one so far has been found guilty. If there's insufficient evidence, they can get held until "the end of hostilities" -- which effectively means forever.

Then the bill adds its "exemption" for U.S. citizens:

The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section (1032) does not extend to citizens of the United States.

So the bill does not require the president to send suspected citizens to Guantanamo; by its silence, however, it makes it optional. In case you dispute that, an amendment to specifically prohibit military detention for citizens was voted down.

I've seen references to a "last-minute compromise" that supposedly softens this provision: wording to the effect that any presidential order for such military detention of a citizen is subject to court review. As if any American sent to Guantanamo didn't already have (and wouldn't already exercise) the right to challenge its constitutionality, whether this language were in the bill or not.

Meanwhile, however, he or she is sitting in an offshore cell.

The "that's the way he reads the bill" defense. haha

Right. It is what trained constitutional lawyers, which Greenwald unquestionably is, do. They read bills and then analyze what the language accomplishes.

I'm sorry ... I forget ... what are your qualifications (or the qualifications of AngryBlackLady for that matter) to assert he's wrong?

So...being a Constitutional attorney (like Mr. Greenwald) makes one uniquely qualified to interpret/understand/report/dissect/read NDAA? Isn't President Obama a Constitutional attorney as well? So perhaps one could surmise that he also "read bills" to "analyze what the language accomplishes"? Of course, one might surmise this if they thought the President fit to be any thing more than the garbage man, which doesn't seem to be the case here in the comments section.

I do love reading Mr. Muddy's posts. He certainly begins interesting conversations.

I think the concern is that President Obama understands the bill just as well as Mr. Greenwald, and not that he doesn't.

Oh, indeed. Nefarious, that one. Perhaps we should cease this discussion, lest we be putting ourselves at risk of indefinite detention. *runs screaming from the room*

It's not necessary to leap from "completely ignorant" to "scheming dictator". It's not a reach to assume that Obama's willing to risk the liberties of the few for what he perceives to be the good of the many. I don't think Obama's evil. I just think he's wrong on this issue and that he's possibly being less than honest (like virtually all politicians). No melodrama required. wink

My response was completely tongue-in-cheek. But I see you got my point. :)

 

I just think Barack Hussein Obama is afraid to say "no" to the jackboots in his own national security establishment, and also afraid to do anything in an election year the area of national security that makes him look like one of those lib'ruls who are squishy on terrorism.

He's probably thinking that since the law gives him the discretion, and since he's such a nice guy, nothing will go wrong so long as he never agrees to lock up any American citizen-suspects in a military prison.

Sounds like a plan.   What could possibly go wrong?

(Quickly puts up hand.) Me, sir! I know! Pick me! (Sees teacher is calling on Suzie, the class tease, once again. Like she knows! Gotta admit, though, she is kinda cute. Slowly pulls down hand.)

No one here tried to contrast Greenwald's legal qualifications with Obama's. That's a total red herring. What has been questioned is whether Muddy understands what he is talking about. He was asked what his qualifications to analyze the bill were, and he gave no answer. I asked him how Greenwald's reading of the bill constituted a lie, and got no answer. Greenwald (and others) have laid out in detail what they find objectionable in this bill; Muddy has given us an over-the-top vitriolic rant. If this conversation has been interesting, it's despite Muddy's role in it.

I simply asked a question about qualifications after Mr. Greenwald's were brought up. And it seems to me if Mr. Muddy has to answer to his qualifications then everyone else commenting here like experts should have to as well, yes? I'll go first.

"Hi, my name is Kudra, and I like to masochistically subject myself to self-indulgent and insulting internet discussions--particulaly about American politics. I hold a Master's degree in human development from a prestigious university. I suppose I'm not qualified to be here.

I'll take my red herring back now.

One note about that "exemption."  It appears to simply mean an America citizen being held indefinitely without trial can be held in a civilian Supermax or whatever instead of in a military stockade. It doesn't materially change the fact that the person would be held ... just the authority of the entity managing their jail cell.

Doesn't this mean that you are American ... the president can arbitrarily decide if he wants to dump you into the military or civilian system?

As you suggest, if the only Americans who have to worry are potential terrorism suspects, then all Americans have to worry, because anyone can be labeled a terrorism suspect. I had this discussion (frequently in vain) many times when people were defending the idea of suspending habeas corpus rights for terrorists. (And let's be clear, until there's a trial, there's no difference between what the government calls a terrorist and what the government calls a terrorist suspect.)

This is all actually moot because, the fact is, if you're a U.S. citizen suspected of being a terrorist, you're in a heap of trouble, even if you manage to get yourself a good old fashioned criminal trial, in an American court, with your own competent lawyer and everything.   Your lawyer, as in the case of Jose Padilla, might not even get to see all of the evidence against you, because it's classified.  You might not be able to have your lawyer cross examine opposing witnesses because even if you're not in Gitmo, they might be.  Your access to your own lawyer might be extremely limited if the government has security concerns and, of course, if you have to meet your lawyer in custody you can't reasonable expect attorney client privilege.

The fact is that the government has extraordinary powers in terrorism related cases, against citizens and non-citizens alike.  Chances are, the government will prefer to go ahead and go to trial since most of the recent prosecutions have been of the "undercover agent eggs on some depressed loner until he's standing in a public square with a fake detonator in his hand" variety.

Obama has allowed his Justice Department to deal with terrorism cases much the way the Bush DOJ did.  In the face of that, you're getting mad at Greenwald, of all people? 

Which, of course,  puts all the action into the court of defining what sort of behaviour can trigger the accusation (which is, after all, the beginning and the end of the process as far as your liberty is concerned...).

Like taking pictures of monuments.

or.

Occupying

or

maybe posting satirical youtubes, who the fuck knows.

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