Eric Schmidt, war crimes apologist and colossal hypocrite

The real names policy on G+ is a load of shit…

Not always.

Any company you use for email is going to know your real name

That’s false.

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The zeal in which people come out of the woodwork to defend and apologize for Google all over the Internet and here at boingboing is really interesting. This should be an interesting thread.

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You know, I don’t think “knee-jerk” means what that guy thinks it means, but you have to admit Cory’s headlines are sometimes total clickbait, and say things which are not actually true - like calling Schmidt a “war crimes apologist.” That was nowhere in the click-through I read, and if Schmidt acted that way somewhere else, wouldn’t it be good if Cory substantiated that claim before appearing to commit slander of the most irresponsible kind?

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Mod note: dial down the snark.

Isn’t this what the Internets is all about? Well, besides cat videos…

Not to be pedantic (but I’m going to be): Larry Page is the current CEO of Google. Eric Schmidt was once the CEO, but is now the Executive Chairman.

For Schmidt to be straw manning, you’d have to believe that these few
sentences constituted an attempt at an argument. It seems more reasonable
to read this as a simple statement that a bunch of people hold different
views, but Schmidt disagrees, for reasons he is not going to bother to
articulate. (Albeit other readings are possible)

Being a smug self satisfied person who makes pronouncements about things to
which he does not appear to have given much thought is scarcely to his
credit. At the same time throwing around the term “war crimes apologist”
casually doesn’t seem to contribute much.

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IMO it’s a pretty valid point that defending the degree of government security currently being attempted amounts to condoning a long list of vile misdeeds, war crimes among them.

If you can make an argument that Schmidt isn’t actually in favour of current levels of attempted secrecy based on those words, I might be prepared to concede some ground, but it’s plain as day that anyone defending SOP in DC has to be delusional, if not malevolent.

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It sounds hyperbolic to say Schmidt is an apologist for war crimes. In order to make this sort of claim you first need a war crime to have been committed, you then need that war crime to be covered up by the use of state secrets, and then you need to have Schmidt support the use of state secrets while in full knowledge of the war crime and the use of state secrets to cover it up.

Can we make those links?

I think “war crimes apologist” is a pretty strong label to throw at someone if they didn’t actually argue in favour of (or at the very least deny the severity of) an identifiable war crime. Your logic would seem to make anyone who votes for either US political party a war crimes apologist. Admittedly if you were making that argument, I’d have to acknowledge that in a way you were right, but I think it’s better not to water down our idea of defending war crimes.

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It’s not about watering anything down for me; I think we need to concentrate the notion of accountability for atrocities committed.

I like what Russel Brand says about it; if you go through with that sad, hopeless ritual of putting a tick next to the guy you despise the least, you’re granting your consent to this broken system. And it’s not like protest marches are acheiving much either these days… stop opening the safety valve and let the steam build up. Stop pretending we aren’t completely disenfranchised.

Your logic would seem to make anyone who votes for either US political party a war crimes apologist.

But that’s coming on a bit strong; it seems obvious to me that folks choosing between bad and worse aren’t equivalent to someone who maintains that US government secrecy is pretty much legitimate through and through.

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It’s not necessary to brutally oppress a population in order to effectively control it; you just need the tools to define its cognitive map.

Being able to withold unfortunate facts is fairly key; consider all the patriotic chest-thumping going on about Iraq while very bad-looking things were being swept under the rug.

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I bought that book at the airport, lacking something to read. It is a propaganda piece for the Davos set, trying to elevate Schmidt into that realm, by providing a comforting view (to the .1%) of how technology can proceed without them losing their control over society.

And the reason why? So Schmidt could join the Club. And play patty fingers with Rupert Murdoch’s wife.

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I agree we need to really look at accountability, but Eric Schmidt isn’t accountable for any war crimes (that I am aware of).

There are plenty of people who actively defend real war crimes, and at the same time there are plenty of people who hold multiple seemingly contradictory ideas in their heads at once. A person can dislike people who leak government secrets and also want to know if their government has engaged in war crimes and hold them to account. That person may not being thinking things through very well, but I don’t see how calling them a “war crimes apologist” is helping the conversation.

Hey, don’t go accusing me of voting! But I feel like you are engaging in the same kind of thing by saying that voting for a person to run the country is less supportive of that persons’ actual war crimes than saying you support another policy that isn’t actual war crimes. Like it’s okay to vote for someone who maintains an extra-judicial hit list of their citizens because the other guy is even worse - that doesn’t mean you actually support them.

But voting is materially supporting the person. Like I said, I wouldn’t say voting for one person or another actually being an apologist for war crimes, but I think it is at least as supportive of them as saying that you support some part of the overall system (that everyone uses) in principle.

Except that’s a pretty generous way indeed of interpreting Schmidt’s stance.

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‘War crimes apologist.’

Okay then.

Yeah, he never said “all leakers of government secrets are bad”, just that he is concerned about what could potentially result from leaks. After all, while Chelsea Manning’s leaks contained the “Collateral Murder” video, they also contained the names and personal information of people working with the U.S. government who might have been put at risk had it been leaked earlier, information Wikileaks decided not to release. Like Doctorow, I don’t fully agree with Schmidt, but I don’t see him apologising for war crimes anywhere.

Worked too, didn’t it? I’ve seen a number of dyed-in-the-wool reactionaries rise to the bait.

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It concerns me that Cory has gotten in the habit over the past few years of juggling his pop-culture posts with this sort of blatant clickbait… stories with shrill, over-the-top headlines and lead paragraphs that are just hair-on-fire namecalling and accusations. Inevitably, dozens of people will call him on it (as in this comment section) but Cory never, ever responds, follows up, defends his wild claims, or (har har) apologizes. Is Cory becoming the left-wing Matt Drudge?

Very much agreed. Following up on slanderous accusations would be the right thing to do here.

And for the record, by ‘knee-jerk’, I mean that this story reads as if Cory read a bit of what Schmidt had to say and spewed out this bit of hyperbole without source-checking or, for that matter, just taking a deep breath and thinking about what he’s about to post on his homepage.