Sunday, October 28, 2007

Greenwald And the Colonel

By Cernig

Glenn Greenwald has been getting some very strange, and very rude, emails from Col. Steven Boylan, press spokesman for General Petraeus.

Regular readers will recall we published an interview with Col. Boylan a few weeks ago, in which he answered questions we posed on happening in Iraq on the understanding that in doing so he was acting in a purely personal capacity. That interview was posted unedited in any way whatsoever and shows Col. Boylan's writing style well.

I've had one exchange with Col. Boylan since, when he asked me to edit another post which hadn't made it clear his remarks in the interview had been personal ones. I was, of course, happy to oblige. However, I am familiar with Col. Boylan's writing style and the emails Glenn has received match that style in large, if not in emotional tone. In particular, the email's refusal to "engage" with Glenn strikes a chord. Col. Boylan used the phrase "I am done with engaging your venue" in our last email exchange although he later wrote to the effect that he had only meant over the interview itself. Overall, during our exchanges, I found Col. Boylan polite and mannered - his sincerity came through in his responses for us all - although with hints of more emotional context such as those found in the mails to Glenn.

It's all very odd. Especially when Col. Boylan seems to deny writing the original email to Glenn. Is it possible that Col. Boylan lets others in his command answer his emails and doesn't exercise proper oversight? If not, the emails from Glenn and those I've received are almost split in personality. Either way, the command structure should take action to censure such unmitigated rudeness aimed at a sincere questioner, even if that questioner's views are opposed to the military's line. It should be no part of the military's role to employ rudeness and political spin in answering its critics.

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