The Character Assassins

Every couple of months or so, Stephen Schwartz, aka Suleyman Ahmad, aka “Comrade Sandalio,” the Trotskyite-cum-Sufi, turns up with a long, vehement screed recycling the same tired charges against Antiwar.com and me, albeit worded a bit differently. Of course, David Horowitz’s Frontpage is the only venue he can find for this kind of kookery. This time, however, he’s managed to cram far more lies into a single piece than ever before: some of them quite mystifying.

Everything Schwartz writes is always about him, no matter what the ostensible topic. It’s all about who’s a “celebrity” and who’s not: according to him, I’m “a minor celebrity” (he is presumably a major celebrity). “He poses as a conservative,” he writes – this from someone who still defends the “glorious” heritage of Leon Trotsky, and in the pages of National Review, yet!

He proves he can use the Internet by correctly writing that I went to Cherry Lawn School, in Darien, Conn., and incorrectly stating that “he renamed himself Justin” at that point: actually, it was much earlier, but no matter. In any case, Schwartz – who has changed his name at least twice – avers that my name change at the tender age of 15 makes me “a confused and confusing person.” Whatever, dude.

The venom flies thick and fast:

“Raimondo unquestionably encompasses many contradictions. Now past 50, he features a photo of himself on his website with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, in a fey (and failed) pose as an homme fatale. He is flamboyantly gay, but promotes himself as a Buchananite conservative and was in fact Buchanan’s San Francisco campaign spokesman during the ‘culture war’ that other gays took personally, many elections ago. The entire package is deceitful, and it is a calculated deceit.”

An homme fatale! Wow! Those are some pretty suggestive words coming from a porcine troll, unmarried and apparently fixated on other people’s sexuality. Of course, to a Muslim fanatic like Schwartz – if we are to take his alleged religious conversion at face value, that is – homosexuality is a horrific sin. Every single ranting screed he’s written about me has brought up the “gay issue,” but of course that’s his problem, not mine. And what is this “package” he’s talking about? You got me, bud. But one thing I do know: someone who was born a Jew and converted to the Muslim faith, who was once a Trotskyite and is now supposed to be a “conservative” (or a “Trotskycon,” whatever that is), is not one to be trash-talking other people for “encompassing many contradictions.” What’s interesting, on the “gay issue,” is that Pat Buchanan and the editors of The American Conservative (of which I am a contributing editor) have never said boo about my homosexuality, while the evil Schwartz seems obsessed with it. If anyone is conducting a “culture war” here, it’s the “Sufi” nutball “Suleyman Ahmad” (or whatever he’s calling himself this week.)

Crazy people are totally unselfconscious: they don’t realize how nutso they appear to others, and think their behavior is normal, if not exemplary. That’s why Schwartz is capable of writing the following, presumably with a straight face:

“[Raimondo] has failed as a journalist and political commentator, exactly as Hitler failed as a painter, as Mussolini failed as a socialist leader, and as the most notorious fascist of the left, Fidel Castro, failed as a lawyer.

“Like his models, when Raimondo never engages intellectually with opponents, but relies on invective, insults, and innuendo.”

So let’s see if I get this straight: Schwartz, who has just called me a faggot, a Hitlerite, a failure – not to mention an “homme fatale,” which sounds like a cross between Jeff Gannon and a male Monica Lewinsky – is taking me to task for never engaging intellectually with opponents. Schwartz rely on “invective, insults, and innuendo”? Oh, never!

Indeed, there is not a single instance of intellectual argument in his long, tiresomely vindictive piece: just insults, amateur psychologizing, and outright lies. He denies that neocons ever had anything to do with Trotskyism, when his own case underscores the veracity of the Trotskyite connection. He rants that I’m just “posing as a war-hater,” while defending “murderous dictators like Milosevic, who unleashed the only wars in Europe over the past half century.” This is a lie: I never defended Milosevic, but opposed the Kosovo war (as did David Horowitz, by the way).

My favorite part, however, is this:

“One of his favorite tricks is the mendacious use of hyperlinks, giving the impression that his statements are backed by other sources. These are usually his own articles, immodestly declared by him to be ‘classics,’ which in fact have little or nothing to do with his latest ravings, but lead to more lies through more links. This, too, is not original with Raimondo; it is the Chomsky method of meretricious citations.”

Oh, yes, all those “meretricious” hyperlinks! It’s just soooo confusing to a genius of Schwartz’s caliber! He isn’t even a good liar: anyone reading this or any other essay of mine can see that the vast majority of my links are to articles by others, and I’ve never referred to my own articles as “classics.” But lying is what this cretin does best, and he sure manages to pack a lot of prevarication into a single screed. He mentions Web sites and individuals that Antiwar.com is supposed to be having a “love affair” with, like the racist site Overthrow.com: but we’ve never featured their garbage on our site. I’ve never given permission to Pravda.ru to run my articles: commies don’t respect property rights, just as Schwartz doesn’t respect truth. But to a lying sack of sh*t like Schwartz, who disdains hyperlinks as “meretricious,” such old-fashioned concepts as truth, evidence, and proof are for lesser beings: the Sufi mystic sees a “higher” reality, one that conveniently conforms to his ideological convictions.

Schwartz cherry-picks quotes from my work with the same deceitful alacrity as his neocon confreres in the administration cherry-picked “intelligence” in the run-up to war with Iraq:

“Referring to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he wrote, ‘one needn’t refer to fiction when the relevant facts are so readily available.’ (In other words, the Protocols may be fake, but they tell the truth.)”

Uh, not exactly. Of course, the lying swine doesn’t provide a link – that would be “meretricious” – but here’s the entire quote:

“The brazen double standard by which Israeli state terrorism is empowered by the U.S., as a matter of official policy, while retaliatory terror on the part of the Palestinians is unreservedly condemned, has fueled all sorts of unsavory conspiracy theories. Israel’s most ardent defenders have, on the one hand, decried the allegedly rising tide of anti-Semitism – redefined as too vociferous an opposition to Israeli political objectives – and on the other hand have done everything in their power to cultivate an image straight out of the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, that infamous Russian forgery which always comes up when any discussion of Israeli power is imminent.

“But one needn’t refer to fiction when the relevant facts are so readily available. If there is a single other country that could have its semi-official lobby in the U.S. accused of espionage, and then have that lobby courted, praised, and visited by the official representatives of both major parties, including a sitting National Security Advisor – well, I want to know which country that could possibly be other than Israel.”

The Protocols are forgeries, and are not true in any sense. But why is the Israeli government doing its best, these days, to create the impression that they are true? Of course, Schwartz doesn’t want to talk about the recent raids on AIPAC headquarters. That would be “anti-Semitic.” The point of the above is that Israel’s fanatic defenders have redefined “anti-Semitism” to mean any and all criticism of the Jewish state.

There are so many lies in Schwartz’s crazed jeremiad that it would be tiresome to refute them all one by one: he says I “idolize Japan.” Huh? Where he gets that from is a mystery to me. He also inexplicably claims I want to be a “martyr,” and opines that he hopes I will be some day:

“He also craves martyrdom, and dreams that he will be arrested and tried for sedition the way some of his heroes were. He is so reckless in his provocations that he may some day get his wish.”

Schwartz is a weirdo and a loser. He whines that I slandered him by pointing out that he defends – and even idolizes – the dictatorial regime in Uzbekistan, of all places, where his wackball Sufism is a kind of semi-official state religion, but I’m not the only one who thinks that – and with very good reason. After all, we are talking about a regime that has been known to boil its political opponents alive, and yet this is what the pro-torture Schwartz had to say about them at a conference celebrating the Uzbek regime:

“The United States, which has entered into a military alliance with Uzbekistan, must support the Uzbeks in their internal as well as their external combat, and must repudiate the blandishments of the human rights industry.”

Yeah, forget the “human rights industry” – what we need to embrace is the torture industry. That’s what Schwartz believes.

It’s important to understand that the War Party is not interested in debate, but only in demonization, and Schwartz is a perfect example of this method. Opponents of the war aren’t just wrong, in their view – they’re “Nazis”! Nor does it matter what one writes about them, since it’s all for a “good” cause. Schwartz just makes stuff up and flings it at his opponents: and naturally, David Horowitz, who has absolutely no moral or journalistic standards (some things never change), has no compunctions about providing a platform for outright fabrications. In this holy war against those they deem their political enemies, these two old commies haven’t changed their spots one iota: for them, the ends still justify the means.

All this crap about “neo-fascism,” coming from a defender of torture and murder like Schwartz, is actually pretty funny. I mean, here he is claiming that I’m really intent on launching some kind of beer-hall putsch:

“[Raimondo] claims that America is becoming a dictatorship, the better to justify his own ambitions for power.”

Oh, yeah. I have these ambitions, you see: all those libertarian ideas about rolling back Big Government, decentralizing state authority, and letting people live their own lives in peace – it’s all just a front, of course, for my sinister plot to take over America. Bwahahahahahahahaha!

It’s interesting that in a 3,000-word diatribe that purports to document my political beliefs, nothing is said about my long-standing (30-year-plus) association with the libertarian movement, or with the late Murray Rothbard. That I have written two books about the impact of libertarian ideas – one on the Old Right, the other a biography of Rothbard – goes similarly unmentioned. One would think that anyone honestly interested in analyzing the politics of this “minor celebrity” would find my decade-long activity in the Libertarian Party worth at least a sentence or two. But no: Schwartz is not interested in reality. He’s too busy cooking up perfervid fantasies about how I’m somehow “a pre-1941 Axis agent in America.”

As a liar, a fraud, and an unrepentant leftist – “I come from the radical left, and in many respects, I haven’t changed,” he said in a March 2003 interview with The Atlantic Monthly – Schwartz fits right in with the neoconized “conservative” movement of today.

As Myles Kantor wrote of Schwartz:

“Some do evil in silence. Others flaunt it.”

To which one can only add: Amen, brother!

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is editor-at-large at Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].