I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hats off to Juan Cole

Yale University is widely regarded as a bastion of conservatism and probably cranks out aspiring young neocons faster than Goodyear can produce radial whitewalls, so it is certainly surprising that they seem to be about to offer a faculty appointment to Juan Cole of Informed Comment. Professor Cole is an expert on modern Middle East history and studies, and has been an unapologetic opponent of the United States invasion of Iraq. He continues to enrage his opponents by suggesting crazy ideas like, if we actually bothered to try to understand the culture and religion of the people of the Middle East, maybe we would be better prepared to deal with them intelligently and defuse some of the tension leading to our terrorist problems. Of course, this news has the conservatives in a tizzy. This from the New York Sun:
The prospect of Mr. Cole joining the Yale faculty is disturbing for many reasons. His "scholarship" in this area consists entirely of crude polemics, and his outlook is colored by a conspiratorial view of history. Mr. Cole has used his modicum of fame not to participate in the realm of respectable scholarly debate but to express his deep and abiding hatred of Israel and to opine about the influence of a Zionist cabal on American foreign policy.
Yes, the "evil" Juan Cole has earned no friends among the supporters of the Bush administration or the war hawks. He compounds his "sins" in the eyes of the conservatives by speaking out against the United States' unilateral, knee-jerk support of all things Israel, regardless of circumstance, and their attacks on the Palestinians in all cases.

I suppose that none of these opponents bother to look very deeply into Professor Cole's "insidious activities" such as his work in founding the Global Americana Institute. This horrible, anti-American project has the nerve to try to translate the texts of early American founders and politicians (the likes of Lincoln, Jefferson and Ben Franklin) into Arabic so that Middle Eastern people could better understand our government, society and principles and possibly deal with us more rationally. But of course, you won't see any support for such and effort from the likes of Powerline and Michelle Malkin. It's easier just to blow the bastards up, right?

Should this offer be made and accepted, I would like to congratulate Juan and wish him luck. He'll probably find a fairly hostile environment at Yale, but one in deep need of some fresh air and open thinking. Not an easy or enviable task for him, but probably one that is deeply needed and long overdue. Best of luck, Juan.

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