An Invitation for Glenn Greenwald

By Jeffrey Goldberg
It turns out that the left-wing commentator Glenn Greenwald doesn't like me (who knew?). In a rather long posting, he accuses me of many different sins, mainly, though not exclusively, having to do with my early support for the Iraq war, and for my reporting from pre-invasion Iraqi Kuridstan. (Greenwald has always been vehemently opposed to the invasion.)

As it happens, I was e-mailing yesterday with the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Barham Salih, and I mentioned Greenwald's critique. I explained that Greenwald believes the invasion was a criminal act, to which Salih responded by asking if Greenwald had ever visited Iraqi Kurdistan. I said I didn't know, not having too much contact with him, on account of him hating me. So Salih asked me to extend an invitation to Greenwald to visit Iraqi Kurdistan. So, Glenn, you are hereby invited to visit Iraqi Kurdistan. I'm happy to go with you (I'm actually a  pretty good travel companion -- even Matt Yglesias says that I can be both "funny" and "charming," though, to be fair, he also says I can be "dangerous" and "inaccurate"). But if you didn't want to go with me, I'm sure I can find someone to go with you.

The prime minister said we could invite Kurds from different political parties and media outlets to  a big, public forum, and Glenn could explain to them his position that the invasion was immoral, and the Kurds could explain why they supported the invasion. (Of course, we would try to find some Kurds who opposed the invasion, and there are, indeed, some out there, to meet with Greenwald as well).  We would also be able to visit Halabja, and the other towns and villages affected by Saddam's genocide, and I'm sure we could arrange meetings with other Kurdish leaders and dissidents.

Obviously, I think this is a good idea, because I view the subject of Iraq as a complicated one, and I think that Greenwald has an overly simplistic, black-and-white view of the situation.  If he were to meet with representatives of the Kurds -- who make up 20 percent of the population of Iraq and who were the most oppressed group in Iraq during the period of Saddam's rule (experiencing not only a genocide but widespread chemical gassing) -- I think it might be possible for him to understand why some people -- even some Iraqis -- supported the overthrow of Saddam. Also, as a bonus, I'm reasonably sure we could meet with Kurdish intelligence officials who could explain to him why they believe Saddam was secretly supporting an al Qaeda-affiliated Kurdish extremist group, and, if we have time, I could also arrange a visit to Najaf or the equivalent, where Greenwald could meet with representatives of the Shi'a, who also took it on the chin from Saddam.

This is a sincere offer from a very important Kurdish official, and I hope Glenn Greenwald takes it seriously.






This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/06/an-invitation-for-glenn-greenwald/58826/