Across the Bay

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Juan Cole is attempting a career change from hysterical blogger-professor-activist to fantasy speech writer with lame rhetorical techniques. In this recent post, rhetor megas JC employs his rhetorical skills to construct the speech that "Bush should have given." If your eye is twitching à la Chief Inspector Dreyfuss of the Pink Panther series, do not be alarmed. It's a perfectly normal reaction to extremely annoying lameness.

But instead of constructing a Bush speech out of sheer fantasy, I thought it would be better to see WWJD? What Would Juan Do ... in his own actual words.

Instead of...

    Then, this Iraq War that I want you to authorize as
    part of the War on Terror is going to be costly in
    American lives. By the time of my second inaugural,
    over 1,300 brave women and men of the US armed
    forces will be dead as a result of this Iraq war, and
    10,371 will have been maimed and wounded, many of
    them for life. America's streets and homeless
    shelters will likely be flooded, down the line, with
    some of these wounded vets. They will have
    problems finding work, with one or two limbs gone
    and often significant psychological damage. They will
    have even more trouble keeping any jobs they find.
    They will be mentally traumatized the rest of their
    lives by the horror they are going to see, and
    sometimes commit, in Iraq. But, well we've got a
    saying in Texas. I think you've got in over in
    Arkansas, too. You can't make an omelette without
    . . . you gotta break some eggs to wrassle up some

... how about JC's own words from March, 2003?

    I remain convinced that, for all the concerns one
    might have about the aftermath, the removal of
    Saddam Hussein and the murderous Baath regime
    from power will be worth the sacrifices that are about
    to be made on all sides. The rest of us have a
    responsibility to work to see that the lives lost are
    redeemed by the building of a genuinely democratic
    and independent Iraq in the coming years.

Or, instead of this pathetic paragraph...

    So why do I want to go to war? Look, folks, I'm just
    not going to tell you. I don't have to tell you. There is
    little transparency about these things in the
    executive, because we're running a kind of rump
    empire out of the president's office. After 20 or 30
    years it will all leak out. Until then, you'll just have to
    trust me.

... let's hear it from JC himself why we went to war:

    The risks of peace therefore include: continued lack
    of good security in the Persian Gulf region, imperiling
    both the people who live there and the assured
    access to energy supplies on the part of the US and
    its allies; the continued brutalization of the Iraqi
    population by a totalitarian regime that has conducted
    virtual genocide against Kurds and Shi'ites; the
    continued demonization of the United States in the
    region and in the Muslim world for the negative
    effects of the sanctions regime; the possibility that
    Iraq will develop enough in the way of weapons of
    mass destruction to break out of containment and to
    attempt to gain popularity by attacking yet another of
    its neighbors, perhaps Turkey or Israel. The
    aggressive, militaristic nature of the Saddam Hussein
    regime makes such a scenario, however unlikely, at
    least plausible.

Well that takes care of uncle Dick and aunt Condi, and that ever-so-sinister Jew, Paul Wolfowitz! (Notice he left out uncle Colin. He's kosher, ooops, er, he's good people.) Oh, and that "aggressive, militaristic" regime? That's the same "secular Arab nationalist" regime that was supposedly so loath of Salafist elements, or, according to Cole's definition, religion in general. Of course, "secular" and "nationalist" sound much better! The conventional "expertise" of JC aside, some see it quite differently, including one specialist on Syria's Baath known as Joshua Landis. (See also this earlier post of mine with its comments and quotes on Arab nationalism and Islam.)

To say that Cole is a pathetic, hypocritical, dishonest lamoid would be a futile excercise in tautology, as we've grown quite accustomed to his insane musings and his cheap shrill demagoguery. As Wretchard (Belmont Club) recently put it, JC's site is:

    [A] reliable thermometer of Leftist temper ... It
    should be the website of a respectable academic but
    it's a shrine to half-forgotten causes and a casket of
    exorcisms against half-apprehended devils.

So I guess the best advice to give JC (aka "the thermometer") would be to simmer down, lest he blows ... hard.