Sometimes people write in the comments that in support of some position or another, I have quoted people who may have dubious views on other issues. This does not necessarily bother me. I don’t expect people to agree with me on everything and when I read something that is persuasive, I do not check on the other views of the person writing it, unless he or she is basing the argument on something factual that requires checking. If the facts underlying it are not in dispute, the persuasiveness of an argument should stand or fall on the quality of the argument itself.
Since I tend to read writers whom I respect, most of the time I will be quoting people whom I broadly agree with, unless I am doing general searches on a topic or following some links that take me into unfamiliar territory, as sometimes happens.
But having said that, it is also comforting when, on some controversial issue, you find the usual suspects who are always wrong lined up against you. In the case of the Edward Snowden whistleblowing case, it is pleasing to note that I disagree with the vacuous pundit class of the mainstream media like David Brooks, Andrew Sullivan, Richard Cohen, Thomas Friedman, and the like, all of whom seem to worship state power in a way that is disturbing. But the real boost came when war criminal Dick Cheney condemned Snowden as a traitor. That gave me a warm glow of satisfaction.
As Snowden himself said in his Q/A with the public:
Further, it’s important to bear in mind I’m being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.
Why anyone takes Cheney seriously beats me. He belongs in jail for his role in initiating wars and torturing people, not being treated like some kind of statesman whose views matter. I am just in the process of reading Jeremy Scahill’s gripping book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield (more on this book later) and it is already clear within the first 100 pages that he and Donald Rumsfeld are paranoid lying psychopaths whose goal was to create a secret parallel government with an unchecked executive branch that could bypass all the checks and oversight that the Constitution and laws require and use force to achieve its geopolitical goals.
As for the liberals and Democrats who are ambivalent about whether to support Snowden or not, I am not surprised. As long as you view things through the prism of what it might mean for the Democratic party’s chances in the next election, you are always going to equivocate whenever something that makes the Democratic party look bad comes along, just like the Republicans did when Bush was in power. What Snowden is revealing is that president Obama has embraced and expanded and consolidated what Cheney and Rumsfeld started and this makes his supporters squirm.
As a corollary, it is nice to see that those whose views you deeply respect for their consistently principled stands (Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Scahill, Amy Goodman, Glenn Greenwald) are defending what Snowden did.