I suppose I’m late to commenting, but I thought his defense of himself here was pretty good. I have a more cynical take on Saif, because I have a cynical take on people in general and believe political talk is mostly “far“. But I’m glad he discussed the importance of kin ties (particularly in that comparatively tribal society), and his reference to parts of the speech I hadn’t heard before definitely put it in a different light.
I read that a while back, and had trouble finding it when I went googling. My initial result was this other defense from him, which is far worse. Maybe the interview format constrained him from venting. When someone criticizes your actions as somehow unethical, the high road is what he did in the first link: stick by them as attempting to improve a non-ideal situation. The low road is what he takes in The Nation, by tarring his critic in The Nation by association with Judith Miller, David Horowitz and some “right-wing” figure presumably known to the Brits, and referring to assorted critics as “smug”, “lazy” and “two-faced”. I realize I’m more pro-capitalist than most, but his attempt to analogize the taint associated with the Rockefeller, Carnegie and Vanderbilt fortunes to the Libyan government really struck me as ridiculous.