The last time I was talking about McCain campaign advisor and Weekly Standard editor Michael Goldfarb, it was for his famous “dead-air” moment on CNN back during the campaign, when anchor Rick Sanchez asked him to specify who the shadowy anti-semites were that Obama liked to pal around with, and Goldfarb, having started down the path of playing the Jeremiah Wright card, couldn’t come out and actually say the guy’s name (since, as we now know, McCain had explicitly ordered his campaign not to mention Wright). Goldfarb talked about that incident some with Ben Smith on this bloggingheads segment, which I found pretty interesting. Goldfarb basically said he did that as a “cathartic moment for the campaign,” because at least some of McCain’s staffers apparently really, really wanted to take the gloves off and attack Obama over his past membership in Wright’s church.
Now Goldfarb is back on the lefty-blog radar. This time it’s for his approving attitude toward the Israeli defense forces’ having blown up a Hamas leader in Gaza (along with 18 assorted bystanders). Writes Goldberg in his Weekly Standard blog (Ruthless):
The fight against Islamic radicals always seems to come around to whether or not they can, in fact, be deterred, because it’s not clear that they are rational, at least not like us. But to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause. Perhaps it will make the leadership of Hamas rethink the wisdom of sparking an open confrontation with Israel under the current conditions.
Glenn Greenwald (yes, I know) points out that Goldfarb, by talking up the salutary effects of killing a military target’s family, is basically making himself indistinguishable from terrorists. From Orwell, blinding tribalism, selective Terrorism, and Israel/Gaza:
There are few concepts more elastic and subject to exploitation than “Terrorism,” the all-purpose justifying and fear-mongering term. But if it means anything, it means exactly the mindset which Goldfarb is expressing: slaughtering innocent civilians in order to “send a message,” to “deter” political actors by making them fear that continuing on the same course will result in the deaths of civilians and — best of all, from the Terrorist’s perspective — even their own children and other family members.
To the Terrorist, by definition, that innocent civilians and even children are killed isn’t a regrettable cost of taking military action. It’s not a cost at all. It’s a benefit. It has strategic value. Goldfarb explicitly says this: “to wipe out a man’s entire family, it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t give his colleagues at least a moment’s pause.”
That, of course, is the very same logic that leads Hamas to send suicide bombers to slaughter Israeli teenagers in pizza parlors and on buses and to shoot rockets into their homes. It’s the logic that leads Al Qaeda to fly civilian-filled airplanes into civilian-filled office buildings. And it’s the logic that leads infinitely weak and deranged people like Goldfarb and Peretz to find value in the killing of innocent Palestinians, including — one might say, at least in Goldfarb’s case: especially — children.
Sigh. The downward spiral continues.