Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Uninformed Comment

Professor Juan Cole, who uncritically swallowed the Little Red Hoax as proof of the "Bushist Police State", now proclaims the story to be fake but accurate:

However, it is one of those hoaxes that bespeaks a reality, which is that the level of unwarranted (a pun!) surveillance of Americans and violation of their fourth amendment rights under the Bush administration has skyrocketed to new levels of criminality. And, as I said, I do know of people who have been interviewed when they tried to import Arabic books.

Unlike some bloggers, I am not a law professor, and have no wish to play one on the Internet. Neither is Juan Cole, whose field is Middle Eastern history. I can only rely on the opinions of legal specialists such as Orin Kerr, who has argued at length that the efforts to track al Qaeda communications coming into or from the US do not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, though Kerr does believe it violates FISA.

John Schmidt, who was Associate Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, goes even farther and argues that the Bush Administration's surveillance program is "consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents."

As far as Professor Cole's claim that "I do know of people who have been interviewed when they tried to import Arabic books", that is a far cry from what was alleged in the Little Red Hoax.

Of course, this is hardly the first issue on which Professor Cole has gone racing straight into the fever swamp. Blogs such as Winds of Change and Across the Bay have amply documented his often bizarre and factually challenged rants.

In particular, Professor Cole is known for his vicious attacks on the state of Israel. Alexander Joffe has documented some of the most egregious of these in a piece for Middle East Quarterly. That Cole is now officially President of the Middle East Studies Association should tell you all you need to know about the sorry state of affairs in that field.


Post a Comment

<< Home