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, May 03, 2006

Ask the experts

When I want to bloviate on a subject about which I know basically nothing, (and long time readers can probably confirm that's a high percentage of my writing) I will generally at least make the effort to consult the work of somebody who is a subject matter expert in the field. Today we learn a hard lesson, Facts of Life 101, teaching us that you really need to check into the bona fides of your "experts." From Phillip Weiss at Huffington Post.

Ken Pollack: Iran Expert Who's Never Been There

I just got a copy of Ken Pollack's latest book on Iran, The Persian Puzzle, and was shocked on flipping to page 429, the Author's Note at the end of the book, to read that Pollack has never been to Iran and doesn't speak Persian, has only dribs and drabs of Arabic.

You'd think a book that purports to explain the "Persian Puzzle" might have offered that disclaimer at the front.
Pollack was a formerly sensible progressive who suddenly decided, a few years back, that invading Iraq was just a peachy idea. As Weiss points out, this gave a lot of faux "mainstream" credibility to the neocon's wardrum beating theories. Now he's going to gin up the push for military action against Iran? And the guy has not only never been there, but can't consult any source material in the original language of the authors? Translations have been found, in so many cases covering nearly every subject matter, to lose a lot in the translation, particularly in important, nuanced sub-text and meaning.

Who is this guy interviewing for his in-depth analysis? Rumsfeld and Rice?

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