Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Informed Comment

As the Vietnam War was winding down I read Fire in the Lake by Frances FitzGerald. After reading the 1972 Pulitizer Prize winning book I thought if the real story of Vietnam and its people had been known by our politicians and their advisors, the war need not have happened. We were constantly mislead by people who did not know what they were talking about. Then, as it started to fall apart, we were lied to by our leaders. For the most part Americans swallowed it whole. Of course after then reading David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest, I was less sure that reality mattered at all. That brings me to Juan Cole and his blog, Informed Comment.

Like FitzGerald and Halberstam, Mr. Cole has drawn the ire of the political right wing, the guys now in power. Cole has serious questions about the wisdom of our military involvement in Iraq, as did FitzGerald and Halberstam about Vietnam. As a professor, author, and Middle East expert, Cole is "reality-based" which would quickly put him at odds who those now overseeing our foreign policy and their media shills. His recent exchange with Jonah Goldberg would be funny of it were not so serious.

Professor Cole does have a considerable amount of knowledge about the Middle East which he shares on his blog. His recent short history of Lebanon is a good example. Unlike Mr. Goldberg, he does not believe it is wise that ideology and resulting judgments about that part of the world should precede knowledge. And he does not suffer fools gladly.

If you would like to learn more about the Middle East I recommend Informed Comment. If you think that to question American foreign policy at this time is disloyal and makes you a bad person, I suggest you stay away. You might learn more than you want to know.

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