Thursday, May 12, 2005


This weeks asshole is none other than a relic of the sixties named Tariq Ali, who I had the distinct displeasure to listen to on the way home last night as a part of some NPR radio show called "mideast matters" or some crap like that. You can read a discussion between him and Christopher Hitchens here:

The first thing that struck me was his obvious, unabashed, and completely unscholarly assertion that " a hundred thousand people have been killed in Iraq". WHile this number tends to be tossed around uncritically, slate did an excellent piece that elaborates on the reality of it. YOu can go to slate and search for it yourself. This study by John Hopkins University in reality went something like this: they are ninety per cent certain that between ten thousand and a hundred thousand people have been killed in Iraq. As the article in slate said, this isn't a number, it's a dart board. I won't even engage in the possibility of hiding one hundred thousand fresh bodies, since Hussein couldn't do it even after ten years.

That doesn't even address the opinions of fellow leftists like those at "iraqbodycount" which measure it at around 20,000. WHy is it, then, that he gives full authority to one source and doesn't even mention the other, whose biases are the same? Because Ali is a tired-ass old fogey, a relic of a bygone era, a mere remnant of a romantic period who continues to view things through the same old lense; "imperialism" and all of the baggage that accompanies it. It really makes me want to wear a beret and go back to SFSU and stand screaming in the square.

Ali calls the Iraq insurgency the "resistance" and claims they are simply related to the original insurgency against the British. He sees them as freedom fighters in the most simplistic terms. He further claims that because the occupation is ugly, then the resistance can't be pretty either. He wants to believe that this resistance is akin to so many others in history; but this resistance appears to be a lot more vicious than any I have seen. I don't recall entire mosques exploding and crowds of people being butchered by the hundreds; more than anything I don't see why the fact that these insurgents are sunni and their victims or shiites doesn't penetrate his thick head. These people are not "freedom fighters" by any measure.

Ali is member of what I call the "michael mooristas" whose anti-Americanism runs so deep that they are willing to defend almost anything and excuse almost anything. Calfornia universities are 0-2 by now. We had Ward Churchill at Berkeley and now Ali at Stanford. Not a great victory for California academics.


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