The Wit & Wisdom of Juan Cole




By Allan Erickson



“The Neoconservatives are notorious liars . . . “   (Juan Cole at his best!  Thirty-six years in academe and still a knucklehead!)


Howz that for sweeping generalized denigration of an entire people group!?  Juan is great at making grand pronouncements, rarely presenting source material to buttress his arguments, leaving us to rely on his deep knowledge, superior intellect and vast experience.   Here is more!


“The Reagan fascination with private armies and funding anti-communist death squads contributed mightily to the creation of al-Qaeda, blowback from which fuelled even bigger Pentagon budgets, spiralling upward and feeding on itself.”


(Spiraling, professor, spiraling.) 


(PS:  Juan—the blowback from Reagan’s foreign policy created al-Qaeda and caused huge Pentagon budgets that increased and fed itself?  Did the blowback feed itself or do Pentagon budgets feed themselves?  I thought Clinton cut defense substantially, or am I wrong?)


Logic and knowledge base allow Juan to credit Reagan with the creation of al-Qaeda.  I suppose Nixon has something to do with it too?  Yeah.  All that anti-Soviet Union stuff really brought bin Laden out of the shadows eh?  Nothing to do with Islamic theology.


For those of you with the keenness of mind to learn about the origins of al-Qaeda and the roots of violence in Islam, consult a set of real scholars, please.


Here is another glimmering example of what passes for academic acumen at the University of Michigan.


“On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.”


You really must be some kind of lunatic to equate Sarah Palin with terrorists.  Can’t you see the resemblance?!  In this Juan joins such luminaries as Rosie O’Donnell in asserting conservative Christians are no different than the Taliban.  The linkage is obvious don’t you think?  Let’s remember, the one side says love your enemies, and the other side says kill your enemies (and everyone not like you is an enemy), the one side embraces tolerance and diversity, and the other side shoots women in the head in sports stadiums, the one side encourages women in education, the professions and the arts, while the other side treats them like cattle.   Amazingly similar, yes?


What most people fail to understand about Cole and Chomsky and Ayers and their ilk is this: the Leftist “intelligentsia” is a clique, a culture like any other.  There are membership requirements enforced with a vengeance.  If you are Christian or conservative you need not apply.  If you want to stay in the good graces of your Leftist friends, maintain access to sexual favors and protect tenure and get published, you must toe the party line, or else.  It is not a matter of pursuing truth.  Rather it is a matter of strutting up the narrative.  This is why Leftists don’t learn anything after their first year in college.  Their remaining years are devoted to the narrative.  Anyone who threatens the narrative is an enemy to be destroyed. In this light, it is therefore understandable why Juan can never change his mind, or allow new information to influence new thinking on a topic.  The narrative is god.   It gets downright psycho.


As if one needs more evidence of Juan’s tendency to disassociate, here is something from about 18 months ago:


“Remember that we’re all concerned, as we should be, about these events at Virginia Tech today. In Iraq this is a daily event. Imagine how horrible it would be if this kind of massacre were occurring every single day. And the people of Iraq feel that either the Americans are not stopping it or they’re actually causing it.”


Fantastic how Juan presumes to speak for the entire Iraqi population.  Is it stopped now?  Was Saddam responsible for the mayhem before and immediately after the invasion?  How about Iran, terrorists, Saddam loyalists, other insurgent groups, Syrian and Hezbollah terrorists.  Any of them to blame?  Just the Americans?  You see how insane his line of ‘reasoning’ becomes once a few more questions are asked?


Comparing the VT tragedy to what was going on in Iraq is, of course, ridiculous, but any comparative atrocity in a pinch to forward the ideological war of words is useful.   One wonders where Juan was when Saddam was murdering and raping his own people, waging war against Iranians, slaughtering Kuwait citizens, developing nuclear weapons and other means of mass destruction, and threatening everyone in the civilized world.  Where were you then Juan?   Americans engaging self-defense is always atrocious.   Muslims killing Americans: always our fault.  Haven’t you read the play book, or, did you escape the American university system with half a brain intact?


Juan remains in the ivory tower suffering continuous decline.  For sheer stupidity, and consistency in being pervasively wrong, take a look at Juan’s pronouncements from 2006 concerning Iraq:


Top Ten Myths about Iraq 2006

by Juan Cole


1. Myth number one is that the United States “can still win” in Iraq.  [Uh, looks like all freedom-loving people are winning in Iraq, Juan.]  Strike one.


2. “US military sweeps of neighborhoods can drive the guerrillas out.” The US put an extra 15,000 men into Baghdad this past summer, aiming to crush the guerrillas and stop the violence in the capital, and the number of attacks actually increased.  [Not only did The Surge work, it worked better than anyone thought it would, including Petraeus and Rice.   Not sweep, but take and hold. And it was not only a military victory.  Marines won hearts and minds on the streets, daily.   Iraqis of every stripe turned against Al-Qaeda, driving “the guerillas out.”  Others were persuaded to help build a new Iraq.]  Strike two, Juan.


3. The United States is best off throwing all its support behind the Iraqi Shiites.  [Never was a U.S. policy, never could be, if the aim was a coalition government with power sharing, the contiuing aim.]  Strike three.


4. “Iraq is not in a civil war,” as Jurassic conservative Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly insists.  [Turns out you are wrong here too Juan, as was NBC: no civil war.]  Strike four.


5. “The second Lancet study showing 600,000 excess deaths from political and criminal violence since the US invasion is somehow flawed.”  [Lots of critics of the Lancet Study: a poor place to hang your hat.]


MoveOn and Soros funded?


[Objectivity or propaganda?   Recall in 2004 they were saying 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died at the hands of Americans.  That turned out to be totally untrue.]  Strike five, Juan.


6. “Most deaths in Iraq are from bombings.” The Lancet study found that the majority of violent deaths are from being shot.  [This is somehow a myth requiring correction?  Lancet again?]  Strike six, Juan.


7. “Baghdad and environs are especially violent but the death rate is lower in the rest of the country.” [The Lancet survey again!] Strike seven.


8. “Iraq is the central front in the war on terror.” [Even Al-Qaeda and Amadinejad agree.] Strike eight!


9. “The Sunni Arab guerrillas in places like Ramadi will follow the US home to the American mainland and commit terrorism if we leave Iraq.” This assertion is just a variation on the invalid domino theory. [Domino Theory concerning communism in SE Asia?!  HA! So Juan says we have nothing to fear from Radical Islam when it comes to Sunnis or anyone else attacking us here at home if we pull out of Iraq and leave the country in the hands of thugs?  Rest assured America, Juan has your back.]  Strike nine.


10. “Setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq is a bad idea.”   [Even Obama now understands this!]  Strike ten!


Anyone see anything wrong with Juan’s myth list?


That’s right.  Juan is incorrect in virtually every aspect of the conversation.  Remember, the narrative is paramount! 


How one man can be so thoroughly wrong so often yet insist on the rightness of his position despite the evidence is pathological.   Not one word of correction.  And the good professor wants us to believe he is teachable, and qualified to teach.  

One suspects a rubber room would be more appropriate than the classroom. 


Finally, we have the ultimate wisdom from Juan just recently: his new top ten list!


Top Ten Myths about Iraq, 2008


1. Iraqis are safer because of Bush’s War. “In fact, conditions of insecurity have helped created both an internal and external refugee problem.”  


[All wars create refugee problems, Juan.  As a history professor you know this, presumably.  Your numbers are suspect, as always.  As with casualty figures, the reports are not consistent, but we know from Iraqi government reports and U.S. efforts refugees are being served, assisted to return, or given haven in the U.S.   We also know Iraq is more secure and safer now than under 24 years of brutal dictatorship perpetrated by Saddam and his goons, yes?  Additionally, “Bush’s War” is a misnomer, as Juan knows.  Anyone care to read the Oct. 2002 Resolution and recall most people in the House and Senate voted in favor?] 


Stephen Cass, history professor, Oxford, had a much different take in 2003, noting Saddam’s atrocities:


“Along with other human rights organizations, The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq has compiled documentation on over 600,000 civilian executions in Iraq. Human Rights Watch reports that in one operation alone, the Anfal, Saddam killed 100,000 Kurdish Iraqis. Another 500,000 are estimated to have died in Saddam’s needless war with Iran. Coldly taken as a daily average for the 24 years of Saddam’s reign, these numbers give us a horrifying picture of between 70 and 125 civilian deaths per day for every one of Saddam’s 8,000-odd days in power.”


Iraq safer today, better off today, better positioned for a hopeful tomorrow?  No doubt.  Wrong again Juan.


2. Large numbers of Iraqis in exile abroad have returned.  “In fact, no great number have returned, and more Iraqis may still be leaving to Syria than returning.”   [These reports contradict your assertions Juan.  Wrong Way Juan strikes again!]



Who to believe, Juan and ‘international aid agencies’ or the Iraqi government?  Even Al Jazeera reports huge refugee returns and these are reports from 2007!


3. Iraqis are materially better off because of Bush’s war.


Juan, did you miss these reports?  Wasn’t there something about billions and billions of dollars in international aid flowing into Iraq?


What was the Iraqi oil surplus reported recently?   $79 Billion?  Schools and colleges and libraries open.  Infrastructure rebuilt and being improved, new roads, power plants, water works, sewage treatment.  Hum.  I guess Juan is wrong again eh?



4. The Bush administration scored a major victory with its Status of Forces Agreement. “In fact, The Iraqis forced on Bush an agreement that the US would withdraw combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, 2009, and would completely withdraw from the Country by the end of 2011. The Bush administration had wanted 58 long-term bases, and the authority to arrest Iraqis at will and to launch military operations unilaterally.”


[Anyone believe the Iraqis were in a position to force Bush to do anything, or that they would want to?  No motive, and certainly not in their best interests.  Also, I thought this was a war for oil, an occupation, an imperialist move by America to dominate Iraq and the region.  If that were true, how can it be the Iraqis have the gall to behave like a sovereign nation, calling for American withdrawal in 2011?]


Once again, Juan’s wonderous wit and wisdom can’t even survive cursory inspection.


5. Minorities in Iraq are safer since Bush’s invasion. “In fact, there have in 2008 been significant attacks on and displacement of Iraqi Christians from Mosul. In early January of 2008, guerrillas bombed churches in Mosul, wounding a number of persons. More recently, some 13,000 Christians have had to flee Mosul because of violence.”


[I could be wrong here, but I have never before read Juan being concerned about Iraqi Christians, but now, they are a minority he is deeply concerned about?  Are you folks aware that Christians have been persecuted in Iraq for many decades?   Furthermore, do you understand Christians have been persecuted by Muslims for 1,400 years?  Furthermore, do you realize they are better off today than ever before in Iraq?  Furthermore,  are the Sunnis and Kurds better off?]


Wondrous Juan whacks out again!


6. The sole explanation for the fall in the monthly death rate for Iraqi civilians was the troop excalation or surge of 30,000 extra US troops in 2007.   “In fact, troop levels had been that high before without major effect. (Not just a matter of troop levels but also a matter of deployment, tactics, strategy, shifting circumstances, duh.) The US military did good counter-insurgency in 2007. (For once, a kudo!)  The major reason for the fall in the death toll, however, was that the Shiites won the war for Baghdad, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Sunnis from the capital, and turning it into a city with a Shiite majority of 75 to 80 percent. When Bush invaded, Baghdad was about 50/50 Sunni and Shiite. The high death tolls in 2006 and 2007 were a by-product of this massive ethnic cleansing campaign. Now, a Shiite militiaman in Baghdad would have to drive for a while to find a Sunni Arab to kill.“


[Escalation Juan.  Spell check is available at the University of Michigan?  Furthermore, Shiites have always been the majority.  According to Dillow of the Orange County register, and others if one cares to do the homework, The Surge worked, was a net troop increase, was successful in part due to military articulation, and in part due to Marines changing hearts and minds, encouraging both Sunnis and Shiites to reject extremism, especially the Al-Qaeda brand.  Besides Juan, if the ethnic cleansing you describe actually took place on the scale you claim, one would expect two things:  news reports and protests in the U.S. and Europe, and a worsening political situation in Iraq, i.e., the breakdown of parliamentary cooperation.   Since neither occurred, and based on your track record in the area of accuracy, one is wise to doubt your credibility.]


7. John McCain alleged that if the US left Iraq, it would be promptly taken over by al-Qaeda. “In fact, there are few followers of Usamah Bin Laden in Iraq. (U.S Marines!)  The fundamentalist extremists, if that is what McCain meant, are not supported by most Sunni Arabs. (thanks to U.S. Marines!)   They are supported by no Shiites (60% of Iraq) or Kurds (20% of Iraq), and are hated by Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Jordan, who would never allow such a takeover.” 


(HA!  Al-Qaeda now hated by the Arab world in the Middle East? If partially true, who do we have to thank for that, American anti-war professors or GWB?)


[Besides Juan, you misrepresent McCain and then shoot him down.  Straw Man argument.  He indicated an early U.S. withdrawal would have multi-dimensional impacts including:  the creation of an unstable Iraqi vulnerable to various terrorists regroupings including Al-Qaeda, a general regional destabilizing effect, encouraging Iranian ambitions in Iraq, threats to the flow of oil which would have global economic impacts, mounting pressure on Israel from a variety of directions, causing a direct need for American intervention again, but this time from a vastly disadvantageous position.]  Once again, Juan is out to lunch.


8. The Iraq War made the world safer from terrorism. “In fact, Iraq has become a major training ground for extremists and is implicated in the major bombings in Madrid, London, and Glasgow.“


[This is a line almost word-for-word taken out of radical Muslim press releases.  Juan, we thought you said Iraq was not the central front in the war on terror and Al-Qaeda was decimated there Juan.  Which is it?  You cannot have it both ways.  Our action in Iraq hammered Al-Qaeda, took out their leadership, acquired for us valuable ongoing intelligence, thwarted numerous attacks globally, allowed for the destruction of their financial resources, disarmed Qaddafi, and kept Americans safe for 7 years.  The world is safer according to many analysts.  Many others say the world is more dangerous.  A better question is: is the world positioned to become more capable of confronting radical Islam thanks to efforts in Iraq?   That is a  no brainer.  Are we now safer?  Debatable.  Would the world be even more dangerous if we had not invaded Iraq? Absolutely.   Juan, I give you a “C” on this one.   In the face of 1,400 years of Islamic aggression, and escalating Muslim extremism the last 80 years, Juan apparently wants a miracle from Uncle Sam in the space of 5 years in Iraq alone.  Now there’s perspective, insight, understanding and reasonable expectations!]


9. Bush went to war in Iraq because he was given bad intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities.


If we believe Juan, because there were conflicting reports, but the bulk of the intelligence indicated Saddam was a real and present danger, Bush lied, people died.  Well, then we would have to believe that the following were lying as well:


>all leading Democrats throughout the 90s

>Russian intelligence

>French intelligence

>British intelligence

>Egyptian intelligence

>The U.N. Security Council


PS:  Again, the Oct. 2002 Authorization Resolution lists a ton of reasons for invading Iraq, but Juan wants us to focus only on WMD because that is the last card he has to play.  But wait!  Is it!?



10. Douglas Feith and other Neoconservatives didn’t really want a war with Iraq (!). “Yeah, that was why they demanded war on Iraq with their 1996 white paper for Bibi Netanyahu and again in their 1998 Project for a New American Century letter to Clinton, where they explicitly called for military action.“


(War can be a different thing than military action you know.  Who else called for military action throughout the 90s?  Answer:  Clinton, Gore, Hillary and Kerry, and any number of other NeoLibs who don’t have the courage to remain consistent in the face of our enemies for more than two weeks.)


“The Neoconservatives are notorious liars and by the time they get through with rewriting history, they will be a combination of Gandhi and Mother Teresa and the Iraq War will be Bill Clinton’s fault. The only thing is, I think people are wise to them by now. Being a liar can actually get you somewhere. Being a notorious liar is a disadvantage if what you want to is get people to listen to you and act on your advice. I say, Never AGain. (sic)”


[Takes a notorious liar to recognize notorious liars I guess eh Juan?]


Dear Juan, by your own definition, IN FACT you are in a disadvantageous position.


And don’t forget boys and girls, according to Juan:  Jews bad, Palestinians good.  Gaza is Israel’s fault, having nothing to do with Hamas or Iran or Syria.  Can anyone guess what Hamas did to the Fatah opposition in Gaza (?): killings, beatings, torture, imprisonment.


Who you gonna believe:  a clown like Juan, or a statesman like Netanyahu; Chomsky or Churchill; Ayers or Golda Meir?


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