Friday, January 30, 2009

No Terry Glavin After All

Sigh. Earlier today I'd posted about how I was considering adding yet another supporter of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan to my blogroll.

Terry Glavin's Chronicles & Dissent.

I thought about doing so because, like Brian of The Canada-Afghanistan Blog, Glavin seemed more than capable of arguing his way out of a paper-bag and I thought it'd be worthwhile to debate this serious subject with him. As well, Glavin appears to be a serious writer about serious stuff and he was even invited to write for The Tyee in order to shake things up with his independent viewpoint.

Alas, Glavin has proven to be a huge disappointment. The top post on his blog today was "Fire in the Belly" and in it Glavin points to a woman who is working in Afghanistan and doing some good and therefore all the leftists against the war are "cultural relativists" who want the people of Afghanistan to suffer forever under the horrid Taliban. The comments section was full of self-satisfied asinine commentary about the stupid fuckers who oppose the war and hate women and democracy and love Islamo-fascism. I couldn't resist making an attempt to clarify matters.

Terry and all,

I'm not adverse to getting any hands dirty in pursuit of a larger cause.

What you don't seem to grasp is that in Afghanistan, Canada has decided to enter into a cauldron of violent hatreds while making only half-assed attempts to construct anything of lasting good.

We support a government propped-up by gangster warlords, riddled with corruption, whose own security forces are creating more and more insurgents every day, and you want to believe that somehow this will all work out for the best because in this time and this place US imperialism will act out of humanitarian impulses?

No what's been happening and what's going to happen is that we're going to get our hands dirty in pursuit of a dirty business, and our hands will be stained forever for nothing essentially.

You purport to be opposed to Islamo-fascism (or whatever you call it), but I fail to see how invading their countries and mocking their religions is going to make the Islamic world less insular and defensive rather than more so.

Canada and its NATO allies have had seven years to defeat the insurgency. Yet, somehow, it's only gotten larger. I'd submit that it has something to do with the amoral motivations of the people in charge.

That comment earned me the following reply from Glavin:

Thwap:

Your anonymity may allow you to make outrageous assertions without having to be embarrassed by them, but you clearly have no interest in learning anything about the subject you've come here to pronounce upon.

I've got to hand it to you for audacity, though. Telling me what I "fail to grasp" about Afghanistan - that's rich.

You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. But worse than that, your claim that this is all about "invading their countries and mocking their religions" betrays an outrageous ignorance about Afghanistan, and more importantly it betrays a most lurid and bigoted assumption about Muslims. You have conflated the Islamist variant of fascism with Islam. How low an opinion of Muslims must one have in order to think that calling the Taliban ideology by its proper name amounts to mocking "their" religion?

But nevermind. You keep telling yourself these things. I'm sure it will make you feel much better about yourself. You are so virtuous; we are so beastly. And the world passes you by.

PS Thwap:

There is no such thing as "the Islamic world."

Now then, I'm going to have to recreate my follow-up to that one here, because to my surprise/shock/dismay, when I returned to see what he had to say to it I only saw: "Comment Deleted:This post has been deleted by a blog administrator." Here's how I remember my now deleted reply as going:

A weak response. I'm not sure where you were trying to go with it.

You begin by pointing out that my real name isn't "thwap" as if that constitutes a weakness in my arguments.

Next, you say that challenging Terry Glavin constitutes "audacity" which likewise weakens the truth of what I'm saying.

Then you jumble up everything that I said into a straw-man that's easier for you to defeat.

Let's keep this simple. Answer one question for me: Why do you think that the insurgency has gotten bigger after seven years of occupation, rather than successfully defeated? I'd say it has something to do with the NATO airstrikes which kill thousands, the poppy-eradication program and the Karzai government's corruption and brutality. What do you say?

That was followed by this nugget from Glavin:

The anonymous author of the post I just deleted instructed me thus: "Tell you what. We'll keep it simple. Limit your next reply to one issue."

Okay, here's my reply: Grow up. Cultivate some manners. Spend some time in a library. In the meantime, keep you gob shut about matters you know nothing about, and don't expect that people you insult will waste their time in trying to explain things to you, as generously as I have.

Life's short. Get on with it.

Now, here's the thing: I've deleted comments here from time to time. But (and if it's important to you, you can check) the only comments I've deleted are from trolls who admitted that they were only trying to bait me with snide comments about my supposed mental health problems, another fellow who kept making racist attacks on Six Nations activists and from the nauseating "Wayne" who frequently commented on my site in my first year and who I feel that I was more that patient with. If someone genuinely tried to debate with me, I engaged with them ninety-percent of the time and I never deleted a post that revealed me to be confounded.

Glavin appears to have intellectual insecurities reaching Christopher Hitchens proportions. By refusing to answer very simple questions about the significance of undeniable facts, by hiding behind laughable claims to his non-existant authority, by making nothing but repeated assertions as if they were statements of fact, Glavin has shown himself unworthy of intellectual debate. And that's a shame. From his introduction on The Tyee, Glavin appears to have written some serious books about First Nations peoples and on other topics. But from my encounter with him, he appears to be a childish, empty-headed bully.

And this isn't supposed to be a game of "gotcha!" or an esoteric intellectual exercise. Real people are being killed. Real people are suffering. People support "the mission" in Afghanistan for important reasons and other people oppose it for important reasons. If one side is right, it means a better life for 30 million people as opposed to abject misery. If the other side is right, it means that those 30 million people will continue to suffer and die and Canada's international reputation will be shredded and "democracy" will be discredited.

But we have to have the courage to stand up for our positions. We can't hide behind insults, arrogance and cowardly censorship.

2 comments:

Chet Scoville said...

Thing is, by asking that question you drew a big red circle around the flaw in his position, and no, he obviously didn't want to deal with that. Possibly he couldn't. A shame, really.

thwap said...

Ain't it the truth. You know, when i can't answer a question, or when i'm proven wrong, i accept/acknowledge it or change my views as the case may be.
Especially if the subject is important to me.

Why anyone would want to persist in error or ignorance is beyond me.