Outspoken civil libertarian and Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald made a rare cable news appearance this afternoon to debate with TheBlaze host and former CIA officer Buck Sexton over the role American foreign policy has played in fueling Islamic extremists to execute terrorist attacks against the United States. The MSNBC segment was lamentably much shorter than it needed to be, with the two guests getting into a fascinating debate over the nature of jihad.
Greenwald had recently written a column in which he noted that the committers of terrorism in the name Islam “emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous horrific violence brought by the United States and its allies to the Muslim world — violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children.”
“Were those words intended to inflame or provoke discussion?” host Craig Melvin asked.
“Neither,” Greenwald responded. “It was to make very clear that there is a consistent trend on the part of people who attack the United States, which is that they all cite essentially the same thing: That the United States has continued to drone, bomb, invade, occupy, imprison and torture countless people in the Muslim world, and that people in that part of the world and Muslims who identify with it have concluded that the only way to make that stop, the only way to fulfill their notions of justice is to bring violence to the United States so that Americans can see the effects of that which they’re causing in other parts of the world.”
He added that the United States government needs to “face up” to its own policy blunders that have “inflamed” the problem and the anti-American sentiments that he believes cause terrorism in the first place.
Sexton shot back that it is “deeply disingenuous to suggest that fighting against terrorism is, in fact, the cause of terrorism.” He accused the jihadist community of having a “selective historical memory” in that they cite the recent U.S. wars in the Middle East but fail to acknowledge that the grievances have existed long before American military intervention abroad. “There is no justification for these acts and they will always find another grievance for this kind of terror,” he said.