Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

And it's about time. If you haven't heard, Christopher Hitchens is now amidst verbal fisticuffs with the pompous and very often terribly unpersuasive history professor/blogger Juan Cole. The substantive matter is over Cole's apparently shoddy, laughably naive take on Ahmadinejad's designs for Israel. Cole's writing frequently bears the all too familiar affliction among foreign policy commentators of various schools of thought, which causes him to infer out loud some sophisticated political collusion among a quiet Jewish cabal in our government. I wouldn't attribute this idiosyncrasy to what is at issue between Hitchens and him - necessarily. Especially because what Cole seems especially incensed over is how Hitchens managed to 'pilfer' an e-mail he wrote laying out his apparently mistranslated interpretation of Ahmadinejad's statement about wiping Israel off the map. No biggie, says Cole; wrong, says Hitchens.

But the embarassing e-mail came, according to Hitchens, in an unsolicited forward from one of Hitchens' readers. Even assuming Hitchens' correspondent is an adroit hacker, what is obvious is that, while his fluency in Persian might be perfect, Juan Cole could benefit yet from looking up the meaning of the English word 'pilfer' in an English dictionary.

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