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.