US troops in the neighborhood attracted the interest of children. At first the soldiers tried to wave them away, but then gave in and handed out candy. Presumably Baath or fundamentalist intelligence already had the US convoy under surveillance, and they saw this moment as an ideal time to act. A bomb-laden SUV slammed into the scene, killing over 30 persons, mostly children, and at least one US soldier. It also left over 25 wounded. The dead were immediately taken to the Shiite holy city of Najaf for burial.So no matter how heinous the act of the terrorists, it is, of course, the American's fault.
I heard a report on National Public Radio on Wednesday quoting one of the bereaved mothers as blaming the Americans for the childrens' deaths (insofar as they were the occasion for the bombing).(emphasis added)
OK, that's annoying. So let me take a minute and make sure you've caught up on The Professor's latest. It's not like I haven't taken my own swings at Professor Cole, but this is just embarrassing (that is, embarrassing for him). It appears that he:
1. Made a gross error (link is to a grab of his site by Martin Kramer) in his post - a la Pape - blaming Islamic terrorism on Western occupation (he suggested that 9/11 was a reaction to the massacre at Jenin...which not only never happened, but didn't happen in 2002, well after 9/11/2001);
2. When Martin Kramer gutted him on his mistakes, Cole "Winston Smithed" his mistake (changed it without note or comment) and then posted a lame apologia when he was caught out. I like the term "Winston Smithed" - or just "Winstoned" and encourage people to use it often when appropriate;3. When Kramer busted him for doing that, he posted this request to the Kossaks:
Please do up an oppo research diary on Martin Kramer. Who is he? Where did he come from? When he was head of the Dayan Center in Tel Aviv, to whom did he report in the Israeli intelligence community? Who funded his work on Hizbullah? Was he fired from heading the Dayan Center? How does he suddenly show back up in the US after a 20-year absence with a book that blames unpreparedness for 9/11 on US professors of Middle East Studies instead of on the Israeli Mossad and the US CIA/FBI? What was his role in getting up the Iraq War and in advising the US on the wrong-headed policies that have gotten so many Americans killed? Who pays his salary, now, exactly? What are his links with AIPAC, and with the shadowy world of far-right Zionist think tanks and dummy organizations?Basically, he asked the mob to go burn Kramer down. Note that I'm aware of Kramer's interest in compiling a dossier of writings by Cole and others; I think there's a big difference in compiling a catalog of someone's work - for which they are responsible, as I'm responsible for my words here - and digging into the career of an opponent with the clear intent of unearthing damaging information.
When called on that bad behavior, he simply edited it out of existence.
Kramer, on the other hand, did a hysterical job of creating a 'research diary' on himself, while skewering the pretentious professor.
Look, I think I've learned my own lesson on tone from my meeting with Adam Bellow (and note that I've got a draft post tying him to Valentino Rossi, so watch out). I read Cole every day, and I'm sure that I've learned a few things in the time I've been reading him.
Sadly, one of those is that he's not really a very nice guy.
Another is that he deserves to be mocked - primarily because of his claim to authority in his arguments. Look, there are people in the blogs who are real experts in things (Daniel Drezner, Larry Solum), and what's interesting is how seldom (if ever) they wave the flag of their academic authority, and how often Professor Cole waves his.
As another voice in the gentle babble of the blogosphere, Cole's as entitled to his positions and arguments as the rest of us. Let's just leave it at that.
But it would be nice if he played by the rules the rest of us play by - and cut out the attacks on people rather than arguments, and most of all realized that when he Winstons, the thing that gets erased first is his own credibility.