Mutual Assured Climbdown

I need to note Juan Cole’s climbdown on the Iraq-The-Model-Guys-are-CIA thing.

So, anyway, I offer this posting as a clarification and also, as a retraction of the comment about the Abilene ISP and any unfounded implication of USG support for the IraqTheModel site. And I apologize to the Ali brothers for the error, and want to stress that I bear them no ill will. I am sorry I was abroad and unable to respond in detail before now.

It’s probably matched in gracelessness by my own climbdown on calling him “pond scum”:

First, let me back down – slightly – I do firmly believe that attitudes which dehumanize the ‘other’ are a critical part of totalitarian thinking.

I believe that Dr. Cole dehumanized Jones-Hoffman, but in truth, didn’t offer conclusive – or even significant – evidence for it. I still believe it, but I ‘get’ the point that it’s neither proven nor, probably, provable and so not a fit subject for discussion.

Then again, I can’t blame the whole thing on my mesmerizing power over the Internet…

And, if I could take it back, I wouldn’t have linked at all. This is a matter in some ways of not knowing my own strength. Blogging is deceptively informal, sort of like a conversation rather than like formal writing. So it is natural to cross-link among friends and say, ‘Hey, check this out.’ But my weblog has come to be so widely read that this degree of informality is now a luxury I obviously cannot afford, and I will try to be more careful.

Actually, being thoughtful in what we write is a good thing no matter how many or few readers we may have.

4 thoughts on “Mutual Assured Climbdown”

  1. ” I do firmly believe that attitudes which dehumanize the ‘other’ are a critical part of totalitarian thinking.”

    I invite you to follow a string of thought that winds thru Katzmans Leftism & Morality Post back to your Preceeding Cole entry where I infered that Cole is a model of a accurate steriotype of the leftist nurosies that afflict our halls of higher learning.

    “See this article”:
    “The people of Libya, if they were free to express their opinions, could tell us how “lucky” they have been to have Col. Khadaffy as their absolute ruler for the 35 years they have suffered living in a socialist revolutionary state created and led by Khadaffy. Martin says Khadaffy is a “philosophical man with a sense of history.” Thank God we have never had such a philosophical man with a sense of history in charge of Canada.”

    Arafat got his start with the help of the KGB, how many are aware of the marxist trail of blood that runs thru that part of the world ?

    To that disgusting Castro-Loving, mass murder excusing Leftist Prime minister Martin, no doubt Khadaffy’s leftist credentials excuse him of all excesses, just like it excuses Baath Socialist Mass graves of Children and death torture by plastic shreader Saddam, as it does the Baath Socialist maximum ruler in Syria.

    Just as it excuses Castro, and before his true nature and the suffering of the Korean people became more widely known, Kim Jong Il.

    I still remember when Kim Jong was depicted in our leftist media as a harmless “Teddy Bear” with state visuts by Madeline Albright who had nothing to say about the ongoing crimes agaist humanity going on there. How she commented on the fine food and the grand specticle of parade performace and dancing put on by Kim Jongs slaves.

    No mention at all of the Family Gulags.

    So again, it begs the question, are those we see simply willfully blind to evil, or are they winking at it, because they share equality in evil with the monsters they excuse, only hidden away lest good people catch a glimpse of evils face ?

    We see the AP going so far as earning the charges of deliberatly undermining the hopes of the people in Iraq, serving as the propaganda arm of the Jihadies the same way John Kerry worked as an agent for the Veitcong. The same way the BBC cried for Arafat.

    Mr Cole is backing down because he sees a POLITICAL setback is continuing to slime the Iraq The Model brothers. its only a poltitical calculation. He is still a firm devotee of his agenda.

    The left are attacking all thats good and find common cause with monsters, and its nothing they have not been doing for years, if anything, its that their mal-activity is getting exposed more, and understood more widely for what it is.

    There is nothing new about it.

  2. Raymond, using the instructions above for active hyperlink codes will prevent long URLs from screwing up page displays. I’ve fixed yours.

    I’ll also note that before you link Cole to the crimes of Marxism, you have to show a direct connection in his case. Not just argue that there are many such people in academia (true), and so Cole must be one (for which you advanced no proof at all).

    You may even be right about Cole’s political motivation here. I don’t have any way of knowing for sure, though. What crystal ball are you using here? And if you don’t have one, and you don’t have detailed quotes from his writings or affiliations that would show the truth of your picture, then you should not be making these allegations.

    That’s what Cole was (deservedly) rapped for, after all.

    A.L. wrote:

    “I do firmly believe that attitudes which dehumanize the ‘other’ are a critical part of totalitarian thinking.

    They are. Just not a DISTINGUISHING feature. That is to say, ‘necessary but not sufficient.’

    Dehumanizing enemies is necessary to any all-encompassing politicist project, so that all obstacles can be removed if necessary. But since dehumanization is present in any blood-enemy situation, even without totalitarianism, it’s not sufficient to show totalitarianism by itself.

    Which is fine, because what it does show is usually dangerous and twisted enough by itself to warrant both exposure and all the condemnation you need.

    A.L., you also wrote:

    “I believe that Dr. Cole dehumanized Jones-Hoffman, but in truth, didn’t offer conclusive – or even significant – evidence for it. I still believe it, but I ‘get’ the point that it’s neither proven nor, probably, provable and so not a fit subject for discussion.”

    Wrong. It’s an important observation, and totally fit for public discussion. It just has to be discussed with the level of uncertainty clearly indicated, which was the main issue I saw here. We should also ensure that all allegations made are of a type subject to proof or disproof.

  3. Ok, and you are right again, I assumed too much, his writing is informative and his bias is clear, but it would have been quite instructive, especially for those unfamiliar to the trail of events that brought Hier Professor to our radar screens, and started it all in the first place.

    “Here is the beginning”:

    In this Post on “Iraq The Model”: Ali is taking note of a “defeatist propaganda piece”: where Rashid Khalidi is predicting doom for the US in clearing the terrorists and their beheading centers and arms caches from Fallujah all dressed up in fake revisionist history. “We have seen this before from leftist professors with an agenda”:

    Thats what started it all, commentary appended to the problematic piece and “Cole’s post”: where he is embracing it is the beginning of the ITM brothers and Coles’s orbits intersecting.

    Next comes “this”: entry, where begins a war of words over what the average Iraqi’s opinion is supposed to be.

    Pro American Iraqis? That just cant be! It dont fit the leftist propaganda program/wordlview that such people can exist.

    To further illustrate, “read this article”: where another lefty’s groupthink clashes with the opinion people in Damascus are _supposed_ to have about President Bush. I think you can get an idea of the errant preconceptions that missinforms the opinion you hear typically comming from the left.

    The folly of the insular leftist groupthink bubble? Or deliberate acts of subterfuge and efforts to undermine? You can seldom tell the difference.

    What gets my ire is that the lives of some 25 Million people hang in the ballance in Iraq, and the manical leftist media, and the left in general are doing everything they can to bring about failure, seemingly without a care in the least of the effects such failure would have.

    If success was certain it might be tolerable, the fact that the leftist jihad might actually doom the hopes of 25 Million people makes it totaly intolerable. and frankly, objectivly morally inexcusable. and is not that the source of the angst for those of us that actually give a damn?

  4. #2 Joe,

    A.L. had the right of it when he repeated his earlier comment

    “I believe that Dr. Cole dehumanized Jones-Hoffman, but in truth, didn’t offer conclusive – or even significant – evidence for it.”

    So I’ll dissent from your assertion, “Wrong“. I may (and do) see Cole’s writings on Iraq as modern-day equivalents to what the Northern Copperheads wrote in 1863 about the Union’s real and imagined failures in the Civil War. These major and emotion-laced policy differences don’t make Cole a totalitarian, or show that he “dehumanized” his murdered correspondent, Jones-Huffman. So far as I know, he is not guilty of either. In the absence of evidence, those charges shouldn’t be made. If made and not supported, they should be withdrawn, as A.L. has now done.

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