Our barbaric pundit class

Tucker Carlson has always been one of the most inane of political pundits, his shallowness and stupidity standing out even in the face of intense competition. But recently he outdid himself, saying on TV that “Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil”, the only concern to him being the effect that such an action might have on the price of oil.

Glenn Greenwald directly asked Carlson some reasonable questions, such as:

Do you have any specific ideas for how Iran should be annihilated? Do you favor a ground invasion, or a nuclear attack, or carpet bombing or something else? I realize you included the caveat that we should assess what effect it would have on energy prices, but assuming that’s not an impediment, how should the annihiliation be achieved?… When formulating your thoughts about annihilation, did you give any thought to how many Iranians would be killed from that? Do you have any idea of how many would die? Is there some number that’s unacceptable to you?

The resulting email exchange makes for some dark humor as Carlson tries to weasel out of it.

Casually calling for the seeming annihilation of 75 million people would normally be immediately denounced and such people treated as pariahs to be shunned by any decent person. But in the US, whenever it is in hysterical warmongering mode which is pretty much all the time these days, it seems like you can say anything about the demon/Hitler du jour and anyone remotely connected with them without repercussions.


  1. OverlappingMagisteria says

    And how do we go about annihilating these evil lunatics without ourselves being evil lunatics?

  2. says

    Normally someone advocating genocide would be labelled a lunatic. But if the subject of the genocide is Iran, then we put them on TV. Perhaps an e-mail campaign needs to be started to get Tucker Carlson off the air. Would anyone have kept quiet had it been someone advocating the annihilation of Israel?

  3. Peter says

    Yeah, if TC had replaced the word ‘Iran’ with ‘Israel’ he would have been fired before leaving the building.

  4. says

    Yeah, that is ugly. But my mind always goes to videos of homosexuals and atheists being hanged to death in Iran…because of what they are.

    In that country, both Mano and I would be executed (for being atheist).

    They have a backwards civilization….that doesn’t mean that we should engage in mass murder but this does harm their sympathy with the public at large.

    And NO, I DO NOT WANT the US to go to war with Iran nor feel that there is any need to do so.

  5. Mano Singham says

    Iran, like many Islamic countries, has a terrible record with regard to some of the basic freedoms that we take for granted, which is precisely why they should not be the standard by which behaviors are judged.

  6. You Don't Know Jack says

    Really? and you know this how?

    A good (Iranian) friend of mine just recently returned to Iran for 3 months. He is openly gay and an atheist yet felt safe enough to return home to visit his family. Having returned to Australia after his trip, he is now desperately trying to get permanent residency here, not because of the “barbaric” conditions in Iran, but because it is clear that the US is about to invade.

    By the way, there were 46 executions in the US in 2010 (a practice outlawed in Australia in 1973), currently more than 2.6 million people in jail (the highest rate of incarceration in the world) and a minor and a person with mental retardation have both been executed in the US in the last 10 years. As an outsider these also seem like barbaric practices

  7. James says

    Yeah, that is ugly. But my mind always goes to videos of homosexuals and atheists being hanged to death in Iran…because of what they are.

    Absolutely! Noting the theocratic barbarity of the Iranian government is entirely relevant to whether calling for the annihilation of an entire country is a despicable and indefensibly stupid thing to do.

    Oh, wait a minute. No it isn’t, it’s ridiculous whataboutery.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Whenever the insanity of Iran comes up, we should remember much of this comes from reaction to the brutality of a certain Shah, supported by the United States from the time (1953) of the CIA’s first “regime change” operation in southwest Asia.

    We reap a very large whirlwind today. (But what’s Carlson’s excuse?)

  9. kraut says

    One can only recommend to Iran to eliminate several thousands of the American ruling class by bombing their luxury homes to shit and the inhabitants to kingdom come (as good Christians most of them do not fear death anyway)before the US invades or bombs their country to shit with the help of Israel. At least some good would come out of this insanity.

  10. ollie says

    No, you misunderstood my point. Of course we aren’t entitled to commit mass murder. I was answering the question as to why there isn’t a large public outcry over Tucker Carlson’s comments.

  11. P Smith says

    “Casually calling for the seeming annihilation of 75 million people would normally be immediately denounced and such people treated as pariahs to be shunned by any decent person.”

    How about those who call for murder and assassination? Remember Pat Robertson’s idiotic suggestion of “taking out” Hugo Chavez?

    Why is it that advocating murder of people – especially the leaders – in other countries is considered “acceptable” but advocating the same of your own is considered sedition? Both are equally wrong, but cluelessness and self-serving hypocrisy are easy.

    Many countries prosecute their own citizens who commit crimes in other countries, or foreigners are tried in absentia for commit crimes in their countries (e.g. the CIA terrorists tried in Italy). Maybe countries should label it a crime to advocate assassination of their leaders, even when said in foreign countries. It would be interesting to see morons like Carlson forcibly extradited (or arrested if he travelled overseas) and dragged before the World Court to be charged with promoting murder. This isn’t a stifling of “free speech”, these are threats and advocations of violence, which are crimes within any civilized country.


  12. mnb0 says

    If it’s any comfort to you Americans, the USA are not the only western “civilized” country in which idiots like Tucker Carlson become salonfähig. Compare the Netherlands.
    A certain Martien Pennings runs a Dutch blog, where we can read this:


    with the suggestion of a preventive attack on Iran. Anyhow, that Martien Pennings suggested a few years ago that “nuking” (is this Dunglish?) Afghanistan, Iran and a few other countries in the Middle East would be a good idea.

    And of course there is Geert Wilders, whose support the current Dutch government needs. A few years ago he proposed “to deport millions of criminal moslims from Europe.” This time you don’t need to understand Dutch:



    If you prefer to have some common sense in the White House rather go voting Obama, despite his many flaws.

  13. Snap says

    Point taken. Although, personally, I seriously doubt if Tucker’s audience gives @#$% about what happens to atheists and homosexuals in Iran.

  14. Scott says

    True, but is that because of a brutally oppressive government, or because the people of Iran demand it? I suspect the vast majority of Iranians, while they may find homosexuality and atheism distasteful, wouldn’t want people executed over it. Too often we confuse the ideologies of the leaders with those of the people.

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