Juan Cole reposts his original article with footnotes. Which isn’t really a reply or a response or really much of anything, actually.
He points out what he said and basically plays the “I didn’t make up the rumors, I just asked about them” game.
To be honest, I’m not personally interested in running down the list of claims and counter-claims and counter-counter-claims. I believe that Steven Vincent was doing what he thought was the right thing, I believe that he was correct most of the time, and I believe that he was honestly trying to do what his wife says he was trying to do.
Cole doesn’t really remark on anything in Lisa Ramaci-Vincent’s letter, he simply dismisses it as “mischaracterization”. And he notes that he never said that Vincent was sleeping with Nour Weidi, and then a bit later writes:
We American men aren’t dishonored in particular if our sisters sleep around, though I suppose in high school it can’t be pleasant for a guy to have everyone taunt him that his sister is a slut. But in Arab culture, a brother can’t show his face in public if his sister is known to be a slut.
It’s beyond me how anyone could ever have gotten the idea that he was suggesting that there might be sexual relations between those two. I’m such a “Clueless American”.
By the way, the US military in Iraq understands all this perfectly well, and has forbidden troops from fraternizing with Iraqi women, and has punished some who did. That is, if you asked a US officer in Iraq about this issue, he will tell you the same thing I have. So how can I be criticized for articulating it?
He continues to not get the fact that it’s what he’s articulating about it that’s the problem here. He’s playing the “I’m just asking” game. And he apparently thinks everyone will just play along.
I would like to repeat once again that Juan Cole did not start the rumors of an improper relationship between Steven Vincent and Nour Weidi. And, taken at face value, it’s not even what he wrote about it that’s the problem. It’s how he wrote about it, and especially how he wrote about it when you consider the rest of what he’s written.
So his reply is simply more windbaggage. Which is too bad.
What I’d like to see (not necessarily from Juan Cole, though…) would be a definitive summary and explanation of the current situation regarding conversion to Islam, marriage, and emigration as it applies to the situation Steven Vincent and Nour Weidi were in according to Lisa’s letter.
Comments are full of “he couldn’t marry her unless he divorced Lisa”, and “oh, yes, he could”. And then there’s the “but you don’t need to be married to leave Iraq” and the “oh, yes you do”. And the “but she couldn’t get a job in the UK anyway” along with the “sure she could”.
As I understand it, existing marriages between Muslim converts and Christian or Jewish women are not automatically nullified. I don’t know Lisa’s religion, though.
And the question of unmarried women leaving Iraq without family members should be easy enough to answer, though I haven’t had any luck.
The job issue is a fairly non-starter, as far as I can see. I have no doubt that things would be worked out one way or another.
Cole basically dismisses Vincent as a sort of “martyr” to the cause of Bush’s war. I’d expect a more informed comment from someone so learned, I guess.
Could it be that he just simply sees himself as existing several orders above the teeming masses of Clueless Americans, sitting on his throne dispensing his wisdom as he sees fit in an effort to enlighten us mere mortals?
I’m just asking.
And, being a Clueless American, I’m having trouble leaving a comment on his post. I’m not familiar with his blogging software and can’t figure out how to leave one. Help me out, folks.
Nour’s job offer came from The Guardian newspaper, one of the biggest of the British dailies, and their ability to get her work papers is unquestioned.
As to Nour’s ability to travel alone, it is not permissible under current Iraqi law. A woman must travel with a male family member.
Finally, Steven was not going to divorce me – his conversion to Islam would have allowed him to take Nour as his second wife and bring her to England (not the United States), an arrangement allowed under British law. He would have divorced her in England, thereby negating any bigamy problems he would have had if he came back here, but remained Muslim for the rest of his life, to prevent any threat of apostasy.
She posted it in response to a commenter who pretty much spent the evening watching the comments sections on these posts and immediately contradicted anything any Vincent supporters wrote. It’s nice to hear a bit more about exactly what the plans were, and it pretty much seems to effectively shut down the arguments of the troll. You’ll notice no one is trolling Juan Cole’s comments sections.
UPDATE 2: Exactly.
UPDATE 3: Last night, after originally posting this, I went to bed. I told my wife that Cole, by posting what he posted in the way that he posted it, was playing right into the hands of his critics. I know that he probably doesn’t personally care about that sort of thing, but it’s what he’s doing when responding to Mrs. Ramaci-Vincent’s letter with a repost of his original article and comments showing us how he was right all along. There are going to a ton of bloggers noting his lame excuse of a response because, admit it, it’s just plain fun.
Like this one at Dean’s World:
When you read this, remember that this is a college professor. This is a spokesman for the Left. This was a grown man.
Give him credit. That’s funnier than snot.