8 February 2005

Goldberg v. Cole

University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole and conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg exchange some heated words on Iraq, with the good professor simply dusting the inept charlatan son of Lucianne.
But Goldberg is just a dime a dozen pundit. Cranky rich people hire sharp-tongued and relatively uninformed young people all the time and put them on the mass media to badmouth the poor, spread bigotry, exalt mindless militarism, promote anti-intellectualism, and ensure generally that rightwing views come to predominate even among people who are harmed by such policies. One of their jobs is to marginalize progressives by smearing them as unreliable.

The thing that really annoyed me about Goldberg's sniping was it reminded me of how our country got into this mess in Iraq. It was because a lot of ignorant but very powerful and visible people told the American people things that were not true. In some instances I believe that they lied. In other instances, they were simply too ignorant of the facts to know when an argument put forward about, say, Iraq, was ridiculous. For instance, it was constantly said that Iraqis were "secular." This allegation ignored four decades of radical Shiite organizing and revolutionary activity by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the al-Dawa Party, and others, as well as the influence on Iraqis of the Khomeini revolution and of the 1991 Saddam crackdown on Shiites. They were never contradicted when they said this on television, though.

And, of course, there was all that hype about Iraq being 2-4 years from having a nuclear weapon, which was either a Big Lie or a Dr. Strangelove fantasy. Khidir Hamza appears to have been paid by someone (and got big royalties from the American Enterprise Institute) to spin a web of complete lies about the Iraqi (non-existent by then) nuclear program. Goldberg in particular pushed that line, with his North Korea comparison, on a number of occasions. His current excuse is that other people were wrong, too. D'oh.


Jonah should shut up and go back to selling Linda Tripp tapes on Ebay.