Here’s some rational, academic commentary

I happened to notice a Technorati link from Juan Cole’s Informed Comment on a post I linked to in this afternoon’s Linkzookery. Out of morbid curiosity I clicked. While there, I noticed this:

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield maintains that the US government can both take care of New Orleans and pursue the “global war on terror.”

Uh, Donald, let’s look at this situation. First, much of New Orleans is under water. You stole money that should have been spent on its levees for the Iraq War, and you stole state national guards from Louisiana to fight in Iraq. (The state national guards hadn’t signed up to fight foreign wars and were surprised when you kidnapped them, sometimes for a whole year at a time.) So you haven’t actually done a good job with the effects of Katrina in New Orleans. In fact, the job has been so bad that some wags are saying they can’t believe you personally were not in charge of the recovery effort. [emphasis mine]

I find this commentary surprising, as I was constantly beat upside the head by defenders of the esteemed professor when I criticized some of the things he said about the Steven Vincent murder. This is an example of what I’m talking about:

Juan Cole is essentially a doctor of history (hence the title). Doctors, whatever their profession, are charged with holding a dispassionate stance on things – lab-coat doctors are often stereotyped as being indifferent to human suffering, but really its just that they intentionally distance themselves from their subjects.

So this is apparently another example of a doctor’s “dispassionate stance on things”. He’s not “indifferent to human suffering”, he’s just “intentionally distanced”.

Cole also writes:

Then there is the war in Iraq. I don’t need to tell you that that isn’t going very well. In fact, what in hell are you doing in the godforsaken Turkmen city of Tal Afar? Is it really a big threat to the United States? Is it likely to be friendly to us if you drop 500 pound bombs on its residential districts?

Expert on Middle Eastern something or other Cole might be, but he apparently has no clue about military strategy or tactics. Which is weird, because I’m positive I’ve read other things of his previously where he showed some real knowledge. I wonder what happened to it?

Tal Afar poses no big threat to America, so what are we doing there? The man’s a military genius.

Oh, and it’s “Rumsfeld”, not “Rumsfield”, Professor Cole. But we knew who you meant.


  1. What an idiot. He is one of these guys that can wrap two lies and several deceptions into one sentence. Since I have spent considerable time in the region and in Iraq, I can tell you that the man is not qualified to speak about the Middle East in general, and especially Iraq in particular. Bill W