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June 27, 2008



re your post on your 'aint no diss record, it was thoughtful and, i believe, a very appropriate sense of the spirit of blogging. your young self would be proud of the more mature self...no need to bash since civil dialogue is a far, far better way to unpack deeper truths. if you have good ideas to share then vitriol and bad manners shouldnt be needed. passions may run high, but reason should prevail. well said. you 'aint no candy ass'.
chris df


Well said indeed. Criticism should not be personal, and I think I have adhered to that. But meeting substantive criticism with silence is another thing. And really, lumping me with the personal-attack style of Kazimi, is a bit out of bounds, don't you think?

Eric Martin


As I have always said, I greatly respect your work and your contributions, but at times I do think that you get personal.

Who was it that you called an "ass-kissing little chicken-shit"? I imagine that young man could have taken such a statement as a personal attack.

Eric Martin

And let me be clear, I do not mean to suggest that I am above making personal attacks or saying things that I later regret or wished I could have back.

Sometimes we all lose our temper or grow frustrated at the mess we see around us.

Brian Ulrich


I do agree that you sometimes have a habit of taking pot-shots at people that doesn't come across well. These often involve the construction "X and his/her ilk."

seth edenbaum

The problem begins when you confuse the interests of the Iraqi people with those of the US as defined by its leadership.
States play an important role, but they're artificial. At the same time as I recognize the reality of "state action" in absolute terms there's no difference between a child in Iowa and a child in Iraq, and any interest in American "greatness" undermines that simple equation. I've lived my entire life in this country but it means no more or less to me than any other.
Nationalism is a problematic perquisite of the weak. No intellectual justification exists for the nationalism of the powerful.

There's a huge difference between being a government lawyer and a government intellectual. Lawyers suffer no loss of integrity as a result of their clients. For an intellectual to have a client is to make a sacrifice. Sometimes its the noble choice but it's a choice.
Though refuse to admit it, you confuse peace with security with "peace with honor" and Pax Americana.

Ashraf al-Halabi

Cry me a river Marc, people disagree with you because you're ill-willed and by extension, you mislead those who read you and of course those poor bastards over whose GPA you have control.

You're not an expert on the Middle East and that's the end of it. I know you'll delete this post before people have a chance to read it, you'll delete it because you know I am right and you hate "losing," ironic since you're a Bostonian...

I am gonna click "post" next...


Eric, the incident you refer to was a case of res ipsa loquitur.


Marc, I think you are a dishonest academic, and that's why I don't like your 'intellectual' discourse. You claim the original thoughts of others as your own, and you never re-address big glaring mistakes that you've made. I also think you're a poser, a habit that's probably bred out of a sense of insecurity, which to my eye permeates much of your perspective on the region. Sure, take the "I shall remain aloof" approach, I'm sure that works well with "we can solve the world's problems through hugs and beach volleyball" crowd that you're pining to impress, but at a time of war, when so much is at stake, I can't stand by and let your 'givens' about Iraq, which you claim are inferred by your alleged 'expertise', mislead those who think that you're the real thing. You're not. And you know it.

When this all started, I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, and advised you to correct yourself, and to dampen down your arrogant sense of 'certainty'. But you clearly chose the path of "famous for DC" stardom instead, with all this inherent fakeness and fraudulent vaidation. Good for you. But being a public figure has its costs, one of which is the tendency of others to cut-you-down to size.



Marc, you also have the habit of twisting one's words, so here are some Lynch-related links on Talisman Gate that your readers can check to see for themselves as to the background to your post...Check the comments sections too...



Plus, don't you remember some of you little hostile quips you've made prior to all this when linking my stuff on your blog's del.icio.us...things like, "I think he's nuts" and so on...

seth edenbaum

I realize you walk a grey area. I enjoy your discussions of and with the MB in Egypt which give the impression of you being in no one's employ. But on the other hand, your discussions of public diplomacy seems incredibly naive, and your friend Mountain Runner, the happy warrior, is the worst example I can imagine of the servant technocrat as pseudo-intellectual.
But of course I'm forgetting Abu Muqawama.



I wrote this post neither to attack nor to defend nor to play beach volleyball (which I stink at and don't enjoy!). It's a sincere attempt to change the dynamic between us. So for "hostile quips," or intemperate comments in response to yours, I apologize.

I decided to reach out because I thought that despite that rather...lengthy and colorful... list of posts which comes up on the search thread you posted, it might still be possible to have productive interactions. That may have been a mistake, judging by your response, but I think still worth the effort. Think about it.


I'm gonna have to turn you down, Marc. You should have jumped at my offer that I made over a year ago from the very beginning, but your ego wouldn't let you. I don't think you've changed much, and hence if I do interact with you, then I'd be adding legitimacy to a man whose intellectual authenticity I'm wary of, and consequently can't respect. That's how I see it, for better or for worse. I will continue to read your stuff. Often it is useful, especially the links you provide. But your analysis, well, that I choose to take with a grain of salt. And I will continue to expose its un-intellectual/politicized underpinnings, fallacies and motivations, as I perceive them. So sorry Marc, you're not off the hook just yet.

I really wish your readers would take a look at all what I've written about you over at Talisman Gate. I think there's more validity there than what you've termed as "personal attacks", plus if you think about it, it's pretty tame stuff. However, I think the term 'sissy' should stand; from what I know, Zebari doesn't live in the Green Zone. His house used to be across the river in Jadiriyah. So an ivory-tower fellow who has never been to Iraq dismissing and taunting Zebari as "the epitome of Green Zone elite" deserves to be called out on his feined macho-ness.


And for heaven's sake please give Spencer Ackerman credit for being the first to consistently use rap lyrics as the titles of his posts. It stops being 'cool' if done the way you're doing it. Find your own schtick!



Well, we'll leave it at that then.

On Zebari, though, I do have to point out that the tag in question actually defended him: "not a puppet", to be precise. And if someone who has been the Foreign Minister in every Iraqi government isn't the epitome of the Green Zone elite, who is?

But enough. I'm heading out now for the evening.


Oh, and the rap lyrics were an explicit homage to Spencer Ackerman, as he well knows!
Anyway, off for real.


Eric M and Brian U: On reflection, I see that those are real faults of mine that you have identified, and I will strive to correct them. Mind you, I didn't say I never insulted anyone, just not Marc.

So: Do you think I should forgive him for lumping me with Kazimi in this way, press him for an apology, or just let the thing speak for itself? I am inclined to think the latter. (Giving up my once-in-a-lifetime moment in the limelight with such company...)


Urgently needed:

a peace & reconciliation summit between Marc, Nibras and Badger ...

Facilitator: Helena Cobban.

Location: Geneva.

Conducted in Arabic. No interpreters.

Exclusive worldwide joint live telecast by Al Hurra and Al Jazeera.


And Juan Cole banned.


Just so people know what the gist of my criticism of Marc was about, it was about his public silence about the month-long campaign of airstrikes against Sadr City (the whole Democratic policy-groupie community was likewise silent, but I named him and Cole in particular). Given the fact that others look to these people to know what the issues are, their silence helped make that campaign a non-issue in US politics, and was deserving of much harsher criticism than mine. This was not, as he says in his peculiar way, about "the Sadrists or whatnot..." Using silence and then evasiveness in this way is not (to use his expression) "my vision of how the blogosphere should work..." Just fyi.

Peter H

There's no reason to be so nice to Nibras Kazimi, Marc. He's an insolent jerk, as he's amply demonstrated from the comments here.


"Insolent" is perhaps not the best word to use in this context.


Per Kazimi's criticisms, this coming from someone connected to the Hudson Institute and the New York Sun who uses childish insults against those he perceives as not representing his own ideology and is an apologist for American Neoconservatives. Far from being "elevated," Kazimi frequently makes use of juvenile personal attacks on his blog. He makes comments such as, "He is one of the smartest Middle Easterners I've ever come to know," (http://talismangate.blogspot.com/2008/06/tis-season-to-bash-al-hurra.html). Replace "Middle Easterners" with "blacks" or "Asians" or "whites" and the ridiculousness of this construction is clear. Being a "Leftie Obamist" is better than being a warmongerer who likes to play an armchair general.


Something to consider:

Our compliant media and the "expert" mouthpieces present us with a FALSE DILEMMA, according to which we either have to sanction/bomb Iran or else face being nuked by Iran. This is simply not the case. Not only are Iran's centrifuges under IAEA safeguards but Iran has made perfectly reasonable compromise suggestions to resolve the standoff that is widely endorsed by American and international experts: multilateral enrichment on Iranian soil. This was one of many Iranian compromise offers that the US has refused to even acknowledge, along with Iran's 2003 comprehensive peace offer (which Rice falsely claimed she had never seen.) Read more at http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/05/opinion/edzarif.php and http://www.IranAffairs.com

No Preference

I agree with Badger's comment about the silence of some Democratic commentators on certain sensitive issues. When it comes to the influence of the Israeli lobby on Democratic Party Middle East policy, and how that influence helps or hurts the United States, the silence is deafening.

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