It's No Joke: Glenn Greenwald, Rape and Racism

Admittedly, I am a little late to this. I hadn't had a chance to notice this as over the new year, I had paid less attention to politics. Then, I see this by adept2u about Glenn Greenwald's sick, perverted, nasty attack on Angry Black Lady and the supporters of the President that we would support "any evil" should it be committed by President Obama:"assassinations, child-killings: EVEN rape."

Greenwald has made a habit of throwing stones while he sits in a glass house. Glenn Greenwald is terrified that someone will point out his love for Ron Paul and link it to Ron Paul's racist past and present. Greenwald certainly has no proof that the President's supporters would support rape, if committed by the President, nor does he have evidence that the President would commit such a heinous crime. But we have proof that Greenwald's political love Ron Paul is a racist, and that Greenwald has no trouble loving on this racist. I will return to the issue of race here momentarily.

But first, it is important to clarify some things. This originates from a Twitter conversation about the National Defense Authorization Act, which the president signed along with a signing statement, as is pointed out on Eclectablog, reiterates the point that the NDAA neither expands nor contracts executive power on detention of American citizens on the suspicion of terrorism.

Section 1021 affirms the executive branch's authority to detain persons covered by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note). This section breaks no new ground and is unnecessary. The authority it describes was included in the 2001 AUMF, as recognized by the Supreme Court and confirmed through lower court decisions since then. Two critical limitations in section 1021 confirm that it solely codifies established authorities. First, under section 1021(d), the bill does not "limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force." Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any "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."
This basically means that given the law's own clarification that it does not expand executive power with respect to detentions, military detention of American citizens detained within the US border indefinitely remain illegal. Norbrook has also pointed out that not only is there nothing new under the sun in the NDAA with regards to detention authority, the NDAA passed with veto proof majorities, and a presidential veto would be easily overridden.

Be that as it may, there is always room for respectful disagreement and civil discourse over civil liberties. The ACLU issued a statement opposing the bill, but interestingly enough, even the statement from the ACLU does not say that it creates any new authorities with regards to detention of American citizens. In fact, it clarifies that the same detention authorities in the NDAA have been used since 2001. ACLU's opposition is not based on 'new' authorities. Their opposition is based on any authority for indefinite detention of anyone anywhere at all. And that's a principled stand one can respect. The ACLU's stands on Constitutional rights have always been expansive and broad. It's one of the reasons the ACLU was on the side of unlimited corporate spending in the Citizens United Case.

Rape and Racism

But unlike the ACLU, Glenn Greenwald's position is not limited to merely the policy pursued by the NDAA and signed into law by the President. Actually, for Greenwald, the policy pursued is nothing more than an excuse to whack the President and his supporters with. And my take on it is that it has a lot to do with the race of both the President and that of a lot of his supporters.

The issue presented by Greenwald's hateful comments is not simply his accusing of the President's supporters of being so blind that we would welcome it were he to commit rape. A much deeper, nastier and destructive imagery is the very image of Barack Obama, a black man, committing rape. Greenwald more than likely saw the opportunity to get that imagery into the consciousness of an unsuspecting audience.

Think for a second. Think about the crime of rape and its perception in America. Despite the statistics, (and never even mind that only 2% of rape is committed by strangers) the American lexicon is mired with the dark imagery of Black men being violent rapists. It's an imagery consciously planted into the American mindset by the likes of those who devised the southern strategy - teaching good (read: white) Americans to fear the black man. This goes right along with the overall imagery created of black men in America: physically strong but only in animalistic ways, violent, and barbaric. If you think about Greenwald's portrayal of the president over time, it's not much different: violent (see reference to "assassinations" because Obama took out terrorists), animalistic, and barbaric (see reference to "child killing"). And now comes the concept of rape. Why? Is it really such a leap of logic to think that a great deal of racist concepts is at work here?

And it's not just Barack Obama. Greenwald explicitly refers to ABL and the President's strongest supporters. Well, guess who they are? African Americans. The image Greenwald is trying to establish and support is that of a black man committing rape as well as that of the black community cheering him on. Not that it should come as a surprise that a Ron Paul devotee has no problem using rape and race imagery to assassinate characters.

Before you go off and tell me that I'm digging a molehill and finding a mountain, stop. This is the same man who has equated blackwaterdog, a Jewish pro-Obama blogger, to a Nazi propagandist. Are you telling me that even after that episode and much discussion of the race bias in the so-called "Left" blogosphere and media, he's simply unaware of his own biases? I'm not buying it. At some point, the reasonable person theory applies. At some point, you have to say this is not an accident anymore. This is the same man positively gloating about the racist Ron Paul. At some point, you have to see the imagery for what it is: a rape imagery overlaid with racism to its core.

I am disgusted beyond belief. I'm not surprised, but I'm sure as hell disgusted. And I apologize to ABL for not paying attention and not having come to her defense before now. And I apologize to ABL for having to suffer this abuse at the hands of the racist Greenwald.