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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Whipped again: Goldberg vs Cole

Another day in the Green Zone

Here we go again. The racist Jonah Goldberg tries to first lecture me about being black, now lectures Juan Cole on the Middle East. God, don't these people ever learn?

Moving the goalposts on Iraq

All of the sophisticates and cynics insisted that having elections would be a bloody fool's errand. Bush was being too rigid by holding firm on the January elections. Surely a more reasonable man would postpone them since everyone knows they'll be a bloodbath. And then, once they took place, the goalposts were moved again. Consider Juan Cole. You probably haven't heard of him, but he's the dashboard saint of lefty Middle East experts. President-elect of the Middle East Studies Association, Cole has made a new career for himself in finding the dark lining of every silver cloud. After the Iraqi elections he harrumphed on his Web site that he was "appalled" by the media's cheerleading of the election. He absurdly declared that the 1997 Iranian elections were much more democratic (Iranian candidates had to be approved by the mullahs). He whined that Bush did not originally intend to have elections of this sort and only agreed when Ayatollah Sistani insisted. Suddenly, Bush the rigid ideologue is too flexible.

Most telling, Cole offered a world-weary sigh that "This thing was more like a referendum than an election."

This observation requires us to reopen the "Well, duh!" list for a new contender. Of course it was more like a referendum. That's the point.

You see, Jonah, some folks may be impressed by your smarmy comments, but other will smack the dick out of your mouth if you fuck with them. Cole survived the Beirut Civil War, he has no times for pikers like you. This is his job.

Jonah Goldberg Embarrasses Himself Once Again

Jonah Goldberg attacked yours truly in a column recently.

I think it is time to be frank about some things. 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 was a cheerleader for the unprovoked, unilateral US attack on Iraq. The reason he repeatedly gave was that Iraq was close to having a nuclear weapon.

Jonah Goldberg: We've just seen this last week what a problem North Korea is once it has a nuclear weapon. Once a county has a nuclear weapon, it becomes almost impossible to deal with it using military force. And then that country can basically blackmail the world for whatever it wants, and that's what North Korea is doing today.

. . . we do not want to take -- to ignore problems in the world before they become insurmountable, and that's why it is a proactive approach to try to keep Saddam Hussein from becoming the North Korea of the Middle East, and he would be extremely dangerous if he did that.

December 17, 2002 Tuesday


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.
In every way, from the transparency of candidates and platforms, to safe conditions for voters, to unexpected results, to the percentage of eligible voters who voted and the percentage of the electorate that directly chose Mr. Khatami, his election was more democratic than the elections just held in Iraq.

The reason Mr. Goldberg is alarmed that I pointed this obvious fact out is that he wants to kill thousands of Iranians and thousands of US troops in a war of aggression on Iran. If the American public knows that there is a lively struggle between hardliners and conservatives in Iran, and that an American intervention there would be a huge disaster and would forestall the natural evolution of Iran away from Khomeinism, then they might not support Mr. Goldberg's monstrous warmongering.

That is why he attacked me.

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.

[In his smarmy reply, Goldberg says he wanted a war with Iraq because it did not have a nuclear weapon. This is just arrant nonsense. The point is that he kept trying to give the impression that Iraq was about to get a nuke, just as North Korea did, and that was why a war had to be fought. Iraq was not just about to get one. And even George Tenet told Bush that. By the way, I Lexis-ed him, so he should be careful about denying that he made this point repeatedly; it can be documented. Goldberg did not name any book he has read on Iraq, and admits he knows nothing about the 1997 election in Iran and will have to "check with someone." Wouldn't the time to do that be before he went into print criticizing me for saying something knowledgeable about it? He is openly admitting that he speaks without having the slightest idea what he is talking about! I have to deal with this maroon, and I have spent a lifetime studying this subject and know Persian. Goldberg also seems very afraid of debating me in person, since he did not respond to my offer.

A reader wrote in complaining about my suggestion that people who speak publicly on a subject try to know something serious about it, as elitist. I replied:

"If you saw an hour-long piece on al-Jazeerah about the reality of the United States, with English subtitles, and the reporter speaking on the U.S. had never been to America, had never read a book about America, did not know a word of English, and moreover said all kinds of things that were complete fantasy and altogether wrong, would that man be someone you would recommend to others as having an important opinion on the matter that millions of people should be exposed to on NPR and CNN every other day?"

A reader wrote in:

' "... let me propose to him that we debate Middle East issues, anywhere, any time, he and I . . .

"I wouldn't rush to pack your bags. But if you actually do get an oppurtunity to verbally castrate this weasel, ask him if he truly meant "In the weeks prior to the war to liberate Afghanistan, a good friend of mine would ask me almost every day, "Why aren't we killing people yet?" And I never had a good answer for him. Because one of the most important and vital things the United States could do after 9/11 was to kill people." '

He looks to be of military age. Ask him why his sorry ass isn't in the kill zone."]

See, Cole's been shot at. Goldberg just talks big. You know the set of balls it must have taken to be an American in Lebabnon after 1975? Anyone with a wild hair up their ass might have just snatched you up. He doesn't emphasize it, but Cole's luckier than a lot of people. Goldberg just keeps getting bitchslapped by his elders.


This is pretty unbelievable. Jonah's explanation for why he can't go fight bad guys in Iraq:

As for why my sorry a** isn't in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give -- I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few -- ever seem to suffice.

Yes, that's right. Being 30something and having a wife and baby make you ineligible to go to Iraq.

Oh, wait, that's not actually true at all.

MASCOTTE, Fla. — Mourners remembered Spec. Eric Ulysses Ramirez as one of his unit’s most valuable soldiers in Iraq and as a Star Wars fan who lived to be a “Jedi in his time.”

Ramirez, 31, was killed while on patrol near a prison about 30 miles west of Baghdad before dawn Feb. 12 when his California National Guard unit was attacked by small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and homemade explosive devices, the U.S. Army said.


Ramirez’s widow, Tracy Benson-Ramirez, accepted three Gold Stars — one for herself and one each for her daughter, Isis, who turns 2 next week, and son, Chase, who was born in December

Now, Goldberg might have been too old to go as a soldier, but there were plenty o jobs at the CPA and at the Embassy for someone with his skills. Or Halliburton. You know, they kill civilians as well. The people there will never get anything more than a paycheck, but they're brave for going. Goldberg hasn't even reported from Iraq a job now so dangerous they have to travel with mercenaries. Hell, Max Boot went, why not Goldberg. He can't drive a truck?

Or is he just a yellow cur, cowering in the corner?

Jonah, what's next, a debate with Kos on the law, Atrios on economics, Josh Marshall on colonial history? What other areas of expertise do you need to be schooled in?

posted by Steve @ 12:40:00 AM

12:40:00 AM

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