Goldberg, a.k.a. 'Jabba the Hack,' presumed to challenge Cole on the subjects of Iran and Iraq, venturing into the field of combat armed with nothing save a brazen gall that could be sold on the open market as seal blubber. 'I think it is time to be frank about some things,' Cole begins. 'Jonah Goldberg knows absolutely nothing about Iraq. I wonder if he has even ever read a single book on Iraq, much less written one. He knows no Arabic. He has never lived in an Arab country. He can't read Iraqi newspapers or those of Iraq's neighbors. He knows nothing whatsoever about Shiite Islam, the branch of the religion to which a majority of Iraqis adheres... 'Jonah Goldberg is a fearmonger, a warmonger, and a demagogue. And besides, he was just plain wrong about one of the more important foreign policy issues to face the United States in the past half-century. It is shameful that he dares show his face in public, much less continuing to pontificate about his profound knowledge of just what Iraq is like and what needs to be done about Iraq and the significance of events in Iraq.' Yes, I would say that's being frank. But why should such moon-crater gaps in Goldberg's knowledge hinder him from expounding with complete bogus confidence? He's never let his ignorance handicap him before, and he's not about to start now. That would be a betrayal of everything he studied in Pundit School. The subject of their tiff was Goldberg's outrage, which he warms over a bunsen burner between columns, that Cole could posit that the 1997 presidential election in Iran was more democratic than the recent purple-digit production in Iraq. Cole takes a few paragraphs to set the record straight, concluding: "In every way, from the transparency of candidates and platforms, to safe conditions for voters, to unexpected results, to the percentage of eligible voters who voted and the percentage of the electorate that directly chose Mr. Khatami, his election was more democratic than the elections just held in Iraq. "The reason Mr. Goldberg is alarmed that I pointed this obvious fact out is that he wants to kill thousands of Iranians and thousands of US troops in a war of aggression on Iran. If the American public knows that there is a lively struggle between hardliners and conservatives in Iran, and that an American intervention there would be a huge disaster and would forestall the natural evolution of Iran away from Khomeinism, then they might not support Mr. Goldberg's monstrous warmongering. "That is why he attacked me. "So let me propose to him that we debate Middle East issues, anywhere, any time, he and I. "Otherwise he should please shut up and go back to selling Linda Tripp tapes on Ebay." Yeow. And Cole's not finished with conservatism's favorite funnyman. Goldberg attempts a rebuttal, which Cole lifts by the scruff and holds up for the shabby thing it is. "Goldberg did not name any book he has read on Iraq, and admits he knows nothing about the 1997 election in Iran and will have to 'check with someone.' Wouldn't the time to do that be before he went into print criticizing me for saying something knowledgeable about it? He is openly admitting that he speaks without having the slightest idea what he is talking about! I have to deal with this maroon, and I have spent a lifetime studying this subject and know Persian." Yes, but Jonah speaks fluent Simpsons, which is why he's so popular with campus conservatives as he goes about entertaining and mentoring the maroons of tomorrow.I love it.
Wolcott on Cole on Goldberg
Via the ever-clever James Wolcott, I find out (for the first time) about a bitch-slap that Juan Cole gave Jonah Goldberg not once, but twice. (Jonah Goldberg is the issue of the malevolent Lucianne Goldberg, an alleged literary agent and current webfuehrerin of a genuine, bonafide fascist website, whose 15 minutes came and went during the Lewinsky "scandal.")