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Juan Cole frontpaged at Daily Kos, Metro Times

23. February 2006 • David Boyle
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UM (Ann Arbor) history professor Juan Cole is getting serious attention today, including mention in a front-page Daily Kos article ,
“Juan Cole’s blog, which covers the mess in the Middle East, will never be described as “sunny”. But it’s been particularly bleak today. Things are going from bad to worse. ...”
As well, on the cover of today’s new Detroit Metro Times , there is…Juan Cole, standing in coat and tie by a small world globe, with the blurb, “What this man says about the MIDDLE EAST WILL SCARE YOU: Juan Cole and the worst-case scenario”. The article within is Juan’s world: A scholar of the Middle East on the tightrope we’re walking .

  1. Anybody floating around here ever have a class with Cole? I would love to hear what those people say about him.

       —Just a Voice    Feb. 23 '06 - 09:11PM    #
  2. Just remember to turn everything Juan Cole says around 180 degrees, then you’ll have the true picture. Cole is as wrong to Middle-East events as Paul Krugman is wrong to economics!

       —Garry K    Feb. 25 '06 - 03:08AM    #
  3. Could you help me Garry in finding this true picture? Because I’m confused… When I give a 180 degree turn to Mr. Cole’s claim that “7 US GIs were killed in Iraq on Wednesday” do I say “7 US GIs were born in Iraq on Wednesday” or do I say “7 US GIs gave birth in Iraq on Wednesday”?

    Thanks for your help.

       —FAA    Feb. 25 '06 - 04:15AM    #
  4. “7 Iraq GIs were killed in U.S. on Tuesday”

    Or was it on Yadseut.
       —David Boyle    Feb. 25 '06 - 05:50AM    #
  5. Ok, again let me try this. I have heard that Cole is very anti-Israel in the classes he teaches. Has anyone had him for a class and what did they think?

    As for his blog, I had visited his blog a few times in the past and never though much of it, though it seems he’s much less about making political comment now and much more just a bunch of links to stories in the news.

       —Just a Voice    Feb. 25 '06 - 08:09PM    #
  6. Hey, FAA, read one widow’s response to some BS Mr. Cole wrote about her murdered husband at

    She asks questions: “How often have you been to the Middle East, Mr. Cole? ... How much Arabic do you speak, Mr. Cole?”

    She also says to Cole: “You did not know him – you did not have that honor, and you will never have the chance, thanks to the murderous goons for whom you have appointed yourself an apologist.”

       —Garry K    Mar. 3 '06 - 08:32AM    #
  7. Garry,
    thanks, that was a very interesting look into this Cole guy.

    I would still love to hear more peoples opinions of him. I think he got caught with his pants down in the example Garry showed us.

       —Just a Voice    Mar. 4 '06 - 02:16AM    #
  8. Garry:

    You’re going to have to do better than that. I’ve sifted through a lot of rhetoric on Cole – some positive, some negative. The Vincent thing was decidely negative. However, it surely isn’t enough standing alone to indict Cole. In an answer to Vincent’s question, Cole has lived in the Middle East for extended periods and speaks Arabic… and Persian and Urdu.

    Cole is very critical and very controversial. But to say he’s wrong on every issue? I’d love to see your case.

       —Daniel Adams    Mar. 4 '06 - 06:02AM    #
  9. I’m sure Garry K also speaks Arabic, Persian and Urdu.

       —Just Another Voice    Mar. 4 '06 - 07:10AM    #
  10. I took a class with Prof. Cole, and he was excellent.

    If someone wants to assail his credentials, they should think again. In addition to speaking Arabic, Persion (Farsi), and Urdu, he also speaks Turkish. He has studied in Damascus, Syria (during the civil war there, no less) as well as in Cairo. As far as CV’s go, his is pretty solid.

    In terms of what he actually said, I think people hate Cole because he insists on anchoring whatever he says in the history of the region. Before he talked about anything current, he walked through the history of European and American imperialism/colonialism in the middle east. This history, well known throughout the Arab world and virtually forgotten here, is the stage upon which current events are set and informs the perceptions of many who live in the Middle East.

    I saw no evidence that he was “anti-Israel.” The class I took was entitled “American Involvement in Middle Eastern Wars” so we did do a good bit of reading about the 67 War and it’s ramifications. He did present the facts as to the extraordinary amount of US tax money that goes to Israel in the form of military aid.

    I read Prof. Cole’s blog consistently, and he seems to have been relatively accurate in his predictions concerning Iraq. His basic thesis last year was that Iraq is akin in a boiling pot of ethnic tensions and that Saddam Hussein was a lid on the pot. Remove the lid, everything boils over and suddnely you’re in the middle of a civil war. This seems to have occured.

    Day-to-day, Cole’s monitoring of the Middle Eastern press gives an enlightening perspective on what’s going on there, unfilitered by our corporate news outlets or the military. One gets a very different picture of the conditions on the ground when one sifts through just the headlines that have appeared around the Middle Eastern world every day.

    I also read the letter written to Prof. Cole by Vincent’s wife. This seems to me like the understandable grief of a widow, lashing out at her husband’s detractors. Cole’s argument is that Vincent’s actions (being ANYWHERE with an unmarried female Iraqi without a member of her family around) could be interpreted in the Iraqi male honor code as a major offense, one which it has not been uncommon to kill people for. He should have known that and gotten a male interpreter. I agree with Cole here, and everyone who’s furious with him looks…kinda dumb.

       —bates    Mar. 5 '06 - 02:18AM    #
  11. bates,

    thanks for the input. You say he taught you about the ramafications of the 67 war, ok then i’m curious if he taught you;

    that Egypt also got lots of military aid after tht war

    that 99% of US aid to isreal came post 67 war (i actually think its 99% post 72 war, but would have to look up the fact, that I got from a pro palestine person btw)

    I’m really glad you chimed in, but I would still like to hear from other students about what they think about him as an instructor

       —Just a Voice    Mar. 5 '06 - 04:17AM    #
  12. Yes, one of the statistics he mentioned is that some ungodly amount of US aid, something like 60-70%, goes to the Israel and Egypt, the two most blessed recipients of US foreign aid. He did also mention that US aid came mostly after ‘67, after which point the US was convinced that Israel was a viable military power and not going anywhere.

    Interesting historical note—the 6 day war lasted 6 days because the Israelis were basically out of ammo at that point.

       —bates    Mar. 7 '06 - 03:34AM    #
  13. I had Cole’s War in the 20th Century Middle East class a couple years back and thought he was excellent. I also do not understand the supposed biases people see in his teaching—he seemed incredibly reasonable and fair toward all parties, and sure as hell knows what he is talking about. I think the only people who’d find him “anti-Israel” would be uber-politicized ziontastic students who never want to hear/think anything negative about any Israeli policy/action.

       —Brandon    Mar. 8 '06 - 12:25AM    #
  14. See today’s Daily, ‘Dangerous’ Prof. fights extremism with books: Cole shifts focus from job candidacy at Yale University to helping rebuild the U.S. image in the Middle East by Walter Nowinski,

    “Despite numerous reports that Yale University is considering offering him a position, outspoken LSA Prof. Juan Cole refused to comment on whether he will leave the University.

    “As things stand, no offer has been made,” Cole said.

    Cole said he will not comment until he receives an official offer from Yale.

    “Right now it would be like asking me if I am running for president,” he said.

    Earlier this year, Cole was named one of the nation’s 101 most dangerous academics by right-wing author David Horowitz. ...”

       —David Boyle (Yale may snag J. Co)    May. 15 '06 - 10:35PM    #