Why Is Jonah Goldberg Still Around?

I’d like to ask a simple question: Why isn’t Jonah Goldberg dead?

I’m not threatening Jonah Goldberg. Rather I am paraphrasing Goldberg’s own published threat to Julian Assange, in a column Goldberg wrote last week entitled “Why is Assange Still Alive?” My intention, in the following paragraphs, is to suggest to poor Jonah how it might feel to have someone publicly wish him harm, and muse about method.

The next two paragraphs reflect what Jonah wrote, with my humble alterations.

In case you didn’t know, Goldberg is a neoconservative commentator behind the propaganda who helped justify the invasion of Iraq, a massive — and massively unsuccessful — effort to find WMD and create a US friendly and reliable democracy where none stood before, as a US-controlled military buffer between Israel and her nemesis Iran. In a series of essays, speeches and books, he published thousands upon thousands of falsehoods and misleading talking points regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Military and other government officials insist that neoconservative pundits who have no military experience and exhibit markedly dual national loyalties are doing serious damage to American national security and have frankly, gotten people killed, including brave Americans who’ve risked their lives and destroyed their futures based on the lies these neoconservatives told over and over again.

Even Goldberg agrees. He said in 2006 that Iraq was a mistake. After he enthusiastically cheered and relentlessly promoted (but refused to physically serve in) the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, that unwarranted war indeed has been shown to be a terrible mistake, and an openly criminal act committed by the U.S. government. A mistake we now know for sure, thanks to Wikileaks and the dedicated efforts of Julian Assange and his team. The documents that now have Jonah Goldberg in such a tizzy prove we killed (and recorded the deaths of) nearly 100,000 civilians, even as we swore we didn’t keep tabs on how many or which Iraqis were killed.

Jonah Goldberg accuses Assange of recognizing that "innocent people might die as a result of the “collateral damage” of his work [at Wikileaks]." I accuse Jonah Goldberg of not only knowingly encouraging the death of Iraqi innocents and American soldiers, but of publicly backing away from his advocacy years later when it became popular to do so.

The differences between Jonah Goldberg and Julian Assange are legion. Assange is a courageous iconoclast, brilliant, angry, driven and effective. Goldberg is an idiotic, chicken-hearted coward with limited talent in his chosen field. When he calls for the assassination by those employed by or ostensibly on the side of the US government, as he did publicly a few days ago, it tells us more about Goldberg’s own concerns and lack of character than Assange’s alleged "crimes" against the corporate state.

As Glenn Greenwald has noted, Jonah’s irresponsible plea to the dark world of government assassins, obsessive misfits and politically inspired sociopaths, is rhetorically withdrawn after the initial excitement of the headline. Jonah considers, in the end, his murder-fantasy of Julian Assange wouldn’t make much difference anyway in the age of the Internet. Now, I wonder why that is?

Is it possible that the same medium that makes Jonah’s inanity readily available for the neoconservative-leaning mouth-breathers also provides information that could be useful and valued to others who live in the United States and around the world? Already, the Chinese government has referenced Wikileaks in pointing out US hypocrisy in demanding human rights for some Chinese while instructing its own soldiers in a country those soldiers are occupying specifically for human rights and democracy, no less, to look the other way as Iraqis are beaten, locked up, raped and tortured because of their ethnicity, religion, political views or sheer bad luck.

Sir Walter Scott observed the tangled webs we weave when we first practice to deceive. Jonah Goldberg, who once advised that if we could only look at the Iraq war like a movie, it would be all better, is living proof of the tangled unreality-based existence of the professional liar.

Perhaps, in the name of national security, honor and justice, we should determine which of the two, Assange or Goldberg, deserves the label of treason. As we try these men, let us determine which of the two cares more for human life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Which of the two has demonstrated a real commitment to the cause of truth, of rule of law, and of that fundamental requirement of a republican society, that the people understand what is happening on their dime and in their name. Before sentencing, let us determine which man has been most honest about what they are about, and most careful about whom they may harm. Line them both up, and let the light shine.

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts