Nir Rosen, journalist and chronicler of the Iraq War, resigned from his fellowship at the New York University’s Center on Law and Security on Tuesday after his tweets about Lara Logan caused outrage. Logan, who is a Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for CBS News, was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square in Egypt during the post-Mubarak celebrations. In response to this news, Rosen suggested that Logan was attempting to “outdo” Anderson Cooper, who had also suffered attacks in Egypt. He also tweeted: “Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger.”
Wednesday night, Rosen appeared on Anderson Cooper to try to explain his remarks.
“There is no defense,” he said. “I look like a jerk. It was 2 AM and I was just being thoughtless.”
However, this is not the first time Rosen has tweeted thoughtlessly. On Dec. 15, 2010, Rosen posted on Twitter: “I wish pain and suffering on Wolf [Blitzer].” The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has gone so far as to call Rosen’s tweets “anti-American and pro-Taliban.”
The stupid remarks did not just come from the far-left, however. Debbie Schlussel, right-wing blogger and frequent guest on Fox News, posted on her website, “So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows.”
As if rape never occurs in America. Excuse me?
And, despite Rosen’s lamer-than-lame excuse (remember, it was two in the morning-who doesn’t tweet idiotic remarks at two?), at least he attempted to back away from his remarks. Sclussell just posted more garbage, apparently thinking it’s funny that anyone would be offended.
The really sad thing about all this is that-once again-sexual violence against women is seen not simply as abhorrent, as it should be, but as an opportunity to score political points. Rosen implies that Logan will bask in the attention she gets from the assault, while at the same time calling into question her character (remember, she’s a “war monger”). His comments manage to simultaneously minimize the personal trauma of rape and insinuate that victims may deserve what they get because of the nature of their characters.
Schlussel, on the other hand, plays the predictable it’s-your-fault-for-being-there card. With her ridiculous remarks about “knowing the risks,” she managed to blame the victim, insinuate that women should stay where they belong, and condemn an entire culture. Skillfully done, as far as rhetoric goes-but outrageous and revolting behavior for a human being.
It’s time that we stop using sexual assault to win political points, no matter what side we happen to be on. Rape is a violent act with nothing behind it but violence and hate-and that is how we should respond to it.