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Who is Maureen Dowd calling “fools or knaves”?

Maureen Dowd makes a really subtle and interesting point in last week’s New York Times.

Only fools or knaves would argue that we could fight Al Qaeda’s violence non-violently.

Okay, maybe not so subtle. But she must support the claim somewhere, right? Like, with something other than an insult and an assertion?

The subsequent sentence doesn’t help; by then she’s already back to where she began the essay—heckling President Obama’s Republican detractors and defending her right to celebrate bin Laden’s death. Maybe the previous sentence will help us understand why she is calling all the people who have called for more sensible responses to terrorist violence “fools or knaves.”

The really insane assumption behind some of the second-guessing is that
killing Osama somehow makes us like Osama, as if all killing is the same.

I guess we’re “fools or knaves” because we’re insane. And/or because we hold some kind of philosophical position about the nature of killing. It’s a sad reminder of how invisible serious nonviolent points of view are in the mainstream media, and how quickly someone like Dowd thinks they can be dismissed—even more quickly, in this case, than some Republicans’ recent attempts to defend Bush’s torture tactics. We at Waging Nonviolence have our work cut out for us.

I’m curious how many times, though, one can read Dowd’s insults before they simply turn back on themselves.