Sunday, February 06, 2005

Professor gets sanctimonious 

From our favorite, Prof Juan Cole, regarding his bitchfight with NRO's Jonah Goldberg:
"Jonah Goldberg knows absolutely nothing about Iraq. I wonder if he has even ever read a single book on Iraq, much less written one. He knows no Arabic. He has never lived in an Arab country. He can't read Iraqi newspapers or those of Iraq's neighbors. He knows nothing whatsoever about Shiite Islam, the branch of the religion to which a majority of Iraqis adheres. Why should we pretend that Jonah Goldberg's opinion on the significance and nature of the elections in Iraq last Sunday matters? It does not...

"Jonah Goldberg is a fearmonger, a warmonger, and a demagogue. And besides, he was just plain wrong about one of the more important foreign policy issues to face the United States in the past half-century. It is shameful that he dares show his face in public, much less continuing to pontificate about his profound knowledge of just what Iraq is like and what needs to be done about Iraq and the significance of events in Iraq...

"So let me propose to him that we debate Middle East issues, anywhere, any time, he and I. Otherwise he should please shut up and go back to selling Linda Tripp tapes on Ebay."
Now, it's all quite simple, really: the time will tell - if in, say, five years' time it becomes apparent that people like Goldberg and myself were wrong about Iraq, and the Middle East more broadly, then that's only to be expected of us, ignorant morons with no academic credentials or expertise in the area. If, on the other hand, in five years' time it transpires that Prof Cole, after having "spent a lifetime studying this subject", is wrong about Iraq and the Middle East, then that will make him, well, an idiot of the highest order.

Let's touch basis on this one again in five years' time, shall we?


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