Michael Totten and Juan Cole are throwing photographs at each other, after Totten posted a response to a post by Cole, where the president (or is it president-elect?) of the Middle East Studies Association wrote this:
The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."
I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn [sic] in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.
Totten, who realized that 9/11 was not caused by four guys in a "gymn" in Leeds, posted a series of photos showing what, to him, the war on terrorism actually means. Cole decided to retaliate by doing the same thing, but from an opposite ideological perspective (while unexplainably failing to mention Totten–humbleness, Mr. President, show some humbleness).
One can debate the exchange endlessly, but there was one passage that caught the attention of a friend of mine, and that suggests how Cole can distil dishonesty. He writes of Fred Ikle, the former undersecretary of defense for policy in the Reagan administration:
Fred Ikle, who had been part of the Reaganist/Chinese Communist effort to convince Muslim fundamentalist generals in Pakistan–against their better judgment–to allow the US to give the radical Muslim extremists even more sophisticated weapons, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal urging the nuking of Mecca.
Actually, what Ikle wrote is this:
Last, let's not give up entirely on deterrence. The more dangerous enemies for the coming type of warfare are not suicidal terrorists who think like losers. Osama bin Laden's goal was to expel the American presence from the Middle East and this is his "victory": U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and Central Asia, a stronger U.S. deployment in the Persian Gulf, Pakistan police pursuing bin Laden's followers, and a better defended American homeland. This kind of an outcome, not the "bringing to justice" of some terrorists, is the deterrence we need. Those who out of cowardice use their wealth to pay Danegeld to the preachers of hate and destruction must be
taught that this aggression will boomerang. A nuclear war stirred up against the "infidels" might end up displacing Mecca and Medina with two large radioactive craters.
Now I'm wondering what grade to give Cole for his fraudulent jump in interpretation, suggesting Ikle is advocating bombing Mecca, when all he is doing is warning what might happen if terrorists, indirectly supported by cowardly Arab regimes (read the Saudis), used a nuclear device against the U.S.? Cole couldn't link Ikle's piece because it's not online, but that's really no reason to slip such an outrageous accusation by.