Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nick Cohen Strikes Back At the "Smear-Job" Lie

"I go to great lengths to separate decent people from the scoundrels who lead them. I put their arguments as well as I can, and say they were right in all respects except one: they couldn't support their comrades in Iraq once the war was over."

Good for Nick.

As in the similarly-reviled Euston Manifesto: "We are also united in the view that, since the day on which this occurred, the proper concern of genuine liberals and members of the Left should have been the battle to put in place in Iraq a democratic political order and to rebuild the country's infrastructure, to create after decades of the most brutal oppression a life for Iraqis which those living in democratic countries take for granted — rather than picking through the rubble of the arguments over intervention."

Agree with it or not, it's like I said: "Whatever else you might say about What's Left? you'd have to be pig-ignorant or a liar to write it off as a right-wing diatribe -- although that hasn't stopped many of Cohen's critics."

It sure didn't stop them from filling up the comments here, and one of them strayed so deep into Jew-bashing territory that not only did his disgusting remarks disappear, he himself vanished entirely. And someone will blame the Jews for that, too, I bet.

Which is another thing that's really starting to get to me. It's high time we started laying the blame where it belongs:

Blame Canada.

UPDATE: It's a bit like watching a trainwreck in progress, but if you're amused by berserking you won't want to miss the ongoing saga I refer to above, in the comments. Tyee editor David Beers and I are called bigots, and David, for banning comments persistently "derogatory towards Jewish people," is accused of taking offence to comments that "criticize Israel harshly" and unfairly objecting to views regarding "Jewish attitudes towards Palestinians and other Arabs." In a perverse way it's too bad the comment that set this off isn't still there (in which, as I recall, I was condemned for having a Jewish attitude about things or something), but I am happy to report that you can still read comments in which I am exposed as "gatekeeper" for "neocons and warlovers" and I tell "Goebbels type lies" as I go about my affairs, which consist of making "hateful neocon propaganda against the peace movement."

Which is a phenomenon I touched on here.

Peace out.


Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

I put their arguments as well as I can, and say they were right in all respects except one: they couldn't support their comrades in Iraq once the war was over."

Out of curiosity, in what way did the left not support their comrades in Iraq? I do remember a bit of fuss from the left when the CPA in Iraq closed down some left-wing newspapers and banned unions, but other than that, I'm unclear on what Cohen means by support.

It could be defined, I suppose, by whatever it was that Nick Cohen did to support his comrades in Iraq. I doubt that he grabbed a rifle and joined a POUM militia against the insurgents and Shia militias, so it must be some other form of material support.

Any idea what it was?

11:57 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

I'm not sure why you're having such a hard time getting your head around this. . .

Nick's just a journalist. He did everything he could as a journalist. Try to imagine what the liberal and social-democratic governments of Europe might have done. What's Canada done? Trained Iraqi police, in Jordan, which is fine as far as it goes. But try to imagine what the world's unions might have done - nurses, teachers, firefighters. For starters.

Have a look at one tiny example, here: and then try to tell yourself that if this was the rule on the Left, rather than the exception, we couldn't have made a useful and important contribution, at the very least in terms of maintaining the morale of the Iraqi people.

And do try to avoid the usual straw-man response. Nobody is suggesting that solidarity of this kind would have made Iraq a happy and peaceful place overnight.

Just don't try to tell me that real solidarity wouldn't have been the better way. If we have the hindsight of knowing the consequences of the approach taken by the Oval Office, we also have the hindsight of knowing what the consequence of global "anti-war" protest has been in Iraq: irrelevant, or worse.

The Iraqi socialist Barham Salih made this appeal to the Socialist International a couple of years ago:

"Good Social Democrats should be making the moral argument that the war of liberation in Iraq came too late for so many innocent victims of Saddam’s fascist tyranny. And the lesson for the international community should it must be prepared to act in time and pre-empt terrible tragedies to happen again anywhere else in the world.

"I call upon your help to Iraqi democrats in this critical juncture of the history of the Middle East. To help us transform our country from the land of mass graves and aggression, to the land of peace, justice and democracy."

All Cohen is saying is, We should have listened to him, and acted, because that's what "solidarity" means.

I agree with Cohen.

2:27 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

But try to imagine what the world's unions might have done - nurses, teachers, firefighters. For starters.

I can imagine some reluctance on the part of unions to send their members into a war zone.

3:19 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

But try to imagine what the world's unions might have done - nurses, teachers, firefighters. For starters.

I can imagine some reluctance on the part of unions to send their members into a war zone.

3:20 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Damnit. Blogger choked on me on the first post, then didn't show it despite five minutes of refreshing. Bastard.

Apologies for the duplicate.

3:23 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...


Even after I pleaded with you to try and avoid the usual straw-man response, you just couldn't resist, could you? As in unions being expected to "send their members into a war zone." Do you have any idea how silly that makes you look?

5:19 PM  
Blogger double-plus-ungood said...

Terry, I responded to a single item in your reply that mentioned unions sending people to help in Iraq. From that, you have given a prickly response accusing me of setting up a straw man, an accusation that frankly leaves me befuddled.

I'm trying to discuss this issue in good faith and without rancor. Your manner in response is approaching insulting, and as this seems a trend over the last few posts, I think it'll be better for your comment section if I not comment here any further.

Good luck, and hope to continue to see some of the excellent material on the blog that I've seen in the past.

5:54 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

DPU. If you're befuddled by what a straw-man is, look it up. If you want to know why I'm growing prickly about these kinds of arguments, have peek at the bedlam in comments, here:

3:22 PM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

I am trying hard to understand this...
"I put their arguments as well as I can, and say they were right in all respects except one: they couldn't support their comrades in Iraq once the war was over."....
Does this mean we should have suppoted the continuing American occupation of Iraq,because though we disagreed with the initial invasion,now that it is a done deal we should get on board???
But the "left" is supporting the people of Iraq,by opposing the occupation,by calling on US troops to get out,as the majority of Iraqi people want.
Before the war,in fact for most of Saddam's rule the "left" also supported the Iraqi people.By calling for the US and others to quit dealing with and supporting Saddam.By standing with Iraqi Unions teachers,etc in short the democratic impulse of ordinary Iraqi people
I really do not understand the argument,or Cohen's argument,and trust me I am trying hard.
What do you or Cohen propose we on the "left" do to show support.They the Iraqi people have voted ,and they voted for types that have little in common with western notions of democracy
All we can do is respect their right to decide their own future,continue to talk to them,back up our notions
of democracy with action and example.
What the west does in reality conflicts in many cases with our supposed democratic principles or our stated objectives.The Iraqi people see this,as in fact many of the peoples of the developing world see this.
Dirk (

6:55 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I have not read the book yet, it is on order, but I am sure those commentators did not read the book either.
From what I have read so far from reviews, Cohen discussed much more than the Iraq War and the anti-war movements.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Dr. Dawg said...

Just as a slight aside, has anyone actually seen Coyote's alleged "anti-Semitic" comments? Judging from the comments that The Tyee still permits, it seems that he was banned simply for being harshly critical of Israel. But the slagging continues over here as well.

The New McCarthyism, indeed. And it's precisely this kind of smearing that makes me question Terry Glavin's politics grosso modo. Sometimes character and political views simply merge.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Keep up the good fight Terry.

8:23 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

About the anonymous flamer who goes by the name Coyote: I would be happy to see it posted somewhere so that people could see why, for David Beers, it was the last straw.

9:16 AM  
Blogger Dr. Dawg said...

How coy. Have you seen it or not? If not, you've been simply dishonest all along. If you have, then share it with us.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

I have spent my morning sifting through the comments section of the Tyee. What an appalling collection of misfits. Nana, fascinated with holocaust revisionism, Coyote who's rants are near inchoherent and paranoid. So sad, it is almost though not quite, as bad as I do not envy you Mr. Glavin you risk being mau mau'ed by some you may once had considered principled allies. I do however wish to express my admiration for your stance.

11:04 AM  
Blogger tglavin said...

Thanks CatFur. Ever the optimist, I keep telling myself all these commenters are really just two or three deranged people with nicknames, a dozen each. But at least they've already give me an idea for my own: "Gatekeeper to the Ziocon False-Flag Hegemony of the Bolivarian Republic of Canada". Or maybe just "Zionist stooge."

As for you, Dr. Dawg: Next time you try reading something, put your spectacles on first. Of course I saw Coyote's remarks, just like everybody else did, before the post was taken down. What did I say that was dishonest? The reason I don't remember much about it is that I stopped reading it right around his third reference to Jews. And I suggested it should be posted somewhere because it might give people an idea why the Tyee decided to remove it, and to ban him - which Tyee has every right to do.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

"Gatekeeper to the Ziocon False-Flag Hegemony of the Bolivarian Republic of Canada". Wow what a great name for a blog - or at least a t-shirt, I would copy-right that ASAP.

That aside I have sparred with some on rabble etc who's views echo the Coyote's of the world. The obsessiveness and tunnel-vision of their world-view has led them far astray, merely mention the Euston Manifesto and voila! Instant Pariah.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Dr. Dawg said...

I think it would be a very good idea indeed to re-post the comments. I have not had the opportunity to see them, coming to this a little late. What I have seen is an on-going slagging of the man as an alleged anti-Semite (and sexist to boot), and fairly sensible-sounding people over at the Tyee standing up for him. (Not all commenters there are of the Rabble variety.) Of course, Coyote is not able to defend himself over there.

(Incidentally, the Tyee seems to be having problems printing my own, fairly mild, comments. If it's ideological openness you want, that would be a good place to start the project.)

I found Nick Cohen's stuff challenging, by the way. He comes out of the same place as George Orwell. I don't always agree with him, of course, but we can't avoid his questions. Nevertheless, he does caricature his opposition on occasion--and you do it a whole lot more. The word "anti-Semite" has almost lost its meaning, and I for one think that's a serious problem.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Dr. Dawg said...

I'm having a monumentally awful day. Please ignore the comments about The Tyee. Turns out the fault was my own as a new registrant.

Having not covered myself with glory, to put it mildly, I now retreat to regain my normal aplomb.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Dirk Buchholz said...

Well i knew it was not my imagination.Terry does have an irritating way of arguing that kind of grates while one scratches one head trying to figure what he is actually saying,or the point he is making.First DPUngood(alway polite,logical,and rational) and now...
Dawg,who has got to me 0ne of the most fair,logical,open minded bloggers out there,but even the Dawg is finding Terry's arguments a bit of a puzzle.
Close your comments Terry whats the point soon as one disagrees over some valid point you dis or throw the strawman label about...

3:45 AM  
Blogger ndude said...

Terry thanks for your work and your research. Being progressive no longer means ignorance or a hostage to the politically correct.

5:23 PM  
Blogger tglavin said...

Thanks back, ndude.

10:37 PM  

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