Evidently, somewhere in the realm of Ronald Reagan.
So first there was a diary posted at DailyKos that was bumped to the front page by one of the editors. It offended by stating:
So is Osama bin Laden truly “evil?” Most people who lost family members at the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001 would probably consider him to be evil. Was President Ronald Reagan evil? Most residents of Beirut who lost family members when the USS New Jersey rained 2,700 pound Mark 7 shells on residential neighborhoods in 1983 during the Lebanese Civil War probably considered Reagan to have been evil. Bottom line? Bin Laden is no more evil than other revolutionary leaders in other times or even than ordinary national leaders who propel their countries to war for “national honor,” or to acquire the resources of others, or even to “do good.”
One offended person on the right, Bill Hobbs, considered that this post meant
To translate Kos-speak: Osama bin Laden isn’t a terrorist, he’s a freedom fighter. And Reagan wasn’t a freedom fighter – he was a terrorist.
You can also tell he’s really mad that Reagan was compared to bin Laden because of the following paragraph:
DailyKos’ attempt to assert moral equivalence between a terrorist leader who masterminded the slaughter of thousands of innocents while aiding a regime that slaughtered women for showing an angle or wearing lipstick and a former American president whose tireless efforts lead to the freedom of millions from Soviet oppression is disgusting.
Actually, when I read the whole article, I see someone who sees bin Laden as “a serious and wily adversary who knows how to manipulate the Arab “street.” He analyzes bin Laden’s statement out of concern that people will underestimate him simply because he is viewed as being “crazy” or “evil.” Seeing that and looking back at the offending paragraph, I see an author who is pointing out different perspectives on how a person can be viewed as “evil,” even when that person’s supporters might view that person as a hero.
I’m not arguing I agree with everything the guy says, but I definitely agree with his overall aim – to examine the statements of someone who might be considered to be an enemy of the U.S. Still, it’s interesting how folx on the right allow themselves to make similar comparisons, such as comparing Al Gore to Hitler or calling John Kerry a traitor, but are then so offended when someone criticizes Reagan or General Petraeus.
Maybe the title of this post should be One-sided rules of political debate, as is Glenn Greenwald’s. I quite agree with the points he made in that article, like:
The right-wing site “American Thinker” — proudly included on Fred Thompson’s short blogroll, among most other places on the Right — published an article in 2005 entitled “Is Jack Murtha a Coward and a Traitor?” (answer: “Any American who recommends retreat is injuring his own country and calling his own patriotism into question”). Here is John Hinderaker of Powerline — Time’s 2004 Blog of the Year — on our country’s 39th President (and, unlike the non-serving Hinderaker, a former Naval officer): “Jimmy Carter isn’t just misguided or ill-informed. He’s on the other side.”
When Howard Dean pointed out (presciently) in December of 2005 that the Iraq War cannot be won, Michael Reagan called for Dean to “be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war,” and the next day, on Fox News, alongside an approving Sean Hannity, he said: “I have no problem at all, no problem at all, with what this guy is doing, taking him out and arresting him.”
He ends with:
But as petty as the story is [referring to the moveon.org ad story], it is also revealing. It has been perfectly fine for decades to impugn the patriotism of those who think the U.S. should stop invading and bombing other countries (how could anyone possibly think such a thing unless they hate America?), while it is strictly forbidden to do anything other than pay homage to the Seriousness and Patriotism of those who advocate wars. Hence, the very people who routinely traffic in “unpatriotic” and even “treason” rhetoric towards the likes of Jack Murtha, John Kerry and war opponents generally feign such pious objection to the MoveOn ad without anyone noticing any contradiction at all.