Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Little Open Dialogue

John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kenney School have authored a paper (for a full version, click here) arguing that the Israeli Lobby distorts American policy, operates against American interests, and played a decisive role in fomenting the war in Iraq.

While a controversial thesis, to be sure, one might expect that as Americans, deeply valuing principles of free speech and academic inquiry, there would be a grand debate over such a thesis. After all, as Justice Holmes wrote, "the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out." Surely, an issue so vital to the national interest can be discussed with candor and openness, right? Oh yeah, we're Americans, so we get a headline in the NY Sun screaming, "David Duke Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean," which is then recycled by Wall Street Journal scribbler James Taranto. Taranto says, "it seems fair to say that their views dovetail disturbingly with those of unquestioned anti-Semites." Moreover, says Taranto, their argument is "anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent."

Yes, nothing like a little character assassination.

Ironically, Mr. Bush warned Iran just yesterday that American military would be used if necessary to defend Israel. "I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel," said Bush, referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel. As luck would have it, Mr. Bush made his proclamation on the same day that the Supreme Court rejected on an appeal by Jonathan Pollard, a former Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel.

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