To do so, he treats you like fools: Just this once, we’re going to let you ask us about our business!
No, we aren’t big fans of Peter Beinart. We don’t refer to the war-mongering Beinart did in the run-up to Iraq. We’re talking about a minor slight the gentleman extended our way just about ten years back.
Some of the children are quite naughty children. It’s our impression, from that one incident, that Peter may be such a child.
That said, we were struck by the phoniness of his piece at The Daily Beast, “Are the Tsarnaevs white?” Since Beinart is technically bright, and since the piece itself is quite dumb, we assume he’s continuing the long, slow process of recreating himself as a liberal in the wake of his fervent pleas for a long, ugly war in Iraq.
Peter may want you to like him again. That may explain the way he fawns to you in his Daily Beast piece.
How about it? Are the Tsarnaevs white? As we noted yesterday, the answer is easy: Yes! And this isn’t even a matter of judgment. As Joan Walsh noted at Salon, the Census Bureau officially classifies folk of their ethnicity as white.
Beinart’s headline question was easy to answer—but remember, Peter may be trying to make you like him again. For that reason, he started his piece with a simple-minded approach to David Sirota’s recent piece at Salon and its conservative critics:
BEINART (4/24/13): Are the Tsarnaevs white?We’re sorry, but that’s just stupid. We'll also assumne it's dishonest. Adding insult to injury, Beinart even includes the instantly hackneyed comment about being Caucasian from the Caucasus. In this way, he lets you know that he’s talking down to your ass.
The day after last week’s attack in Boston, David Sirota wrote a column for Salon entitled “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American,” arguing that this would limit the resulting crackdown on civil liberties. At first, conservatives were appalled. Then, when police fingered the Tsarnaev brothers, they were triumphant. “Sorry, David Sirota, Looks Like Boston Bombing Suspects Not White Americans,” snickered a headline in Newsbusters. “Despite the most fervent hopes of some writers over at Salon.com,” added a blogger at Commentary, “the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing are not ‘white Americans’.”
But the bombers were white Americans. The Tsarnaev brothers had lived in the United States for more than a decade. Dzhokhar was a U.S. citizen. Tamerlan was a legal permanent resident in the process of applying for citizenship. And as countless commentators have noted, the Tsarnaevs hail from the Caucasus, and are therefore, literally, “Caucasian.” You can’t get whiter than that.
Beinart simply isn’t that dumb. Let’s return to our basic question:
Yes, the Tsarnaevs are white. But are they “white Americans,” as Beinart also says? More to the point, are they “white Americans” in the way intended by Sirota’s column?
Remember, Sirota wasn’t predicting that the bombers would be “white Americans.” Instead, he said that would be his preference, “arguing that this would limit the resulting crackdown on civil liberties.”
In that sense, it isn’t clear in any way that the Tsarnaevs are “white Americans” in the sense intended by Sirota. In his column, Sirota worried about what might happen “if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world.” He seemed to contrast that possibility to his (understandable) preference that the bomber be "a white American."
But the bombers did end up being foreign-born Muslims. The older brother spent six months last year seeming to further his Muslim identity in the developing world.
In all honesty, the Tsarnaevs pretty much weren’t “white Americans” in the sense Sirota had hoped for. Indeed, their background made E. J. Dionne “worry that hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Muslim citizens could become the victims of our anger—much as Italian Americans were stereotyped in the days of Sacco and Vanzetti.”
That is precisely the kind of backlash Sirota had hoped to avoid.
So yes, Peter Beinart, the Tsarnaevs are white—but no, they really aren’t “white Americans” in the way Sirota intended. Treating his liberal readers like fools, Beinart ignored this fact—and he even conned you about the comment made by one of the conservatives he mocks.
To show us how dumb conservatives have been, Beinart quotes the hapless fellow at Newsbusters who seems to think that a person can’t be both white and Muslim. But the person he quotes from Commentary is Peter Wehner—and this is what Wenher actually wrote, until Beinart did a bit of creative “editing;”
WEHNER: Despite the most fervent hopes of some writers over at Salon.com, the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing are not “white Americans”–a classification Salon used to exclude Islamists...In our view, Wehner is basically right in that highlighted passage. When Sirota said he hoped the bomber would be “a white American,” he did seem to be excluding Muslims. The Tsarnaevs really aren’t the people he said he was hoping for.
Our guess? Beinart wants us liberals to like him again. Toward that end, he treats us like fools. All is fair in love and war, as the careerists and war-mongers say!