In the Arena

But, Seriously….

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Numerous readers seem to assume that my earlier post about the silly, sarcastic use of the word “serious” was a response to Glenn Greenwald’s post about Joe Lieberman, a right-wing nutcase minister named John Hagee and, somehow, me. It wasn’t. I read Greenwald on occasion, but not today. I was actually responding to this sort of comment, which comes all too frequently from certain, non-discerning Swampland readers in response to my attempts to keep you up to date on Iraq:

Thanks for that extra special privileged look inside the Pentagon. That was very special. And serious, very serious.

But I’ve looked at Greenwald’s two posts now. I really don’t have anything to say about his bizarre obsession with me. He’s entitled to his opinion. As for Lieberman, one part of the column I wrote about him last summer is, somehow, never quoted–at least, not that I’ve noticed–by left-wing media bloggers:

…an almost saintly civility has always been part of Lieberman’s modus operandi. His unflappable strength in facing down extremists of both parties—on issues ranging from welfare reform to immigration, the environment, education reform and Hollywood’s frequent excesses—has been an elegant demonstration of political independence and flagrant humanity over the years. The real problem with Lieberman’s position on Iraq isn’t overweening civility, however. It is that he has abandoned his native moderation for utopian neoconservatism. His support for the invasion wasn’t reluctant, nuanced or judicious; he saw a better world coming. Before the war, he told me that he hoped Saddam’s fall would touch off a wave of democratic reform in the region. Given that the entire Middle East seems ready to collapse into chaos this summer, it might seem an appropriate time to revise or extend those remarks—to regret his naivete or defend his long-term vision or slam Bush for carelessly betraying that vision … or something. But the Senator isn’t doing that.

In fact, in the weeks before the war, I had pointed out that Israel was the real casus belli for Lieberman and the neocons on Iraq in this column. (By the way, this was a weird column for someone who favored the war to have written. Perhaps Greenwald can explain to me my motivations for having written it.)

My hope last summer was that Lieberman would respond to the Ned Lamont challenge by returning to the land of the sentient and rethinking his foolish position on the war. He has done the opposite–and I’m grateful to Greenwald for pointing out the utterly disgraceful depths to which Lieberman has fallen. Anyone who trucks with these right-wing fundamentalists who take the Book of Revelation literally is a fool. I mean, Joe, don’t you realize that in the rapture, we Jews get incinerated?

Regular readers of Swampland–and Lieberman’s office, which called me in anger–know that I’ve been hammering Lieberman in recent months for his use of words like “surrender” to describe those of us who want a phased withdrawal of American troops (starting now) and for his witting misrepresentations of counterinsurgency strategy and the facts on the ground in Iraq. His Likudnik extremism has become so egregious that he can only be described as an American embarrassment…and, sad to say, not a very serious person, either.