Libya, Libya, Libya, part 2

You’ve read John Cole, now here is Juan Cole, who has supported the intervention from the start.

27 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OK, so the question is, who is Politico going to quote, then attribute the wrong way?

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Wait, I thought you two were the same person…

  3. 3
  4. 4
    yeahyeahwhatevs (Studly Pantload, once upon a time) says:

    Why do I imagine that Juan Cole is your double with a thin mustache? For all I know, it could be you who sports the thin mustache. Or an Evil Spock beard. Or Cthuluesque tentacles. The mind reels!

  5. 5
    Adam Hyland says:

    It took me like 2 years to realize you were not the same guy. I kept going to Juan Cole’s website and wondering “why is this guy so fucking serious” then coming here and wondering “where is all the middle east policy talk and who the hell is Tunch?”

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:


    Nobody has ever seen the two at the same time. Come to think of it, nobody has seen….

    Also, too, is this good for John McCain?

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    But Juan Cole says the government was firing on peaceful protesters before the uprising started, and people here have said over and over again that can’t be true because Bush once accused a dictator of being unpleasant to his citizens.

  8. 8
    TX Expat says:

    You were wondering who the rebels were earlier. Here ya go:

    The National Transitional Council was set up after the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule began in February by mostly liberal-minded lawyers, doctors, academics and business executives from eastern Libya and led by Gaddafi’s former justice minister, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

    If someone set you straight earlier in the day, sorry for the repeat. :)

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    Juan Cole is the one who doesn’t watch the Steelers.

  10. 10
    No One of Consequence says:

    Pre-emptive ‘Eat a Hefty sack full of salted Kochs’ Sam.


    – NOoC

  11. 11
    Arclite says:

    From the article:

    The excellent McClatchy wire service reported on the reasons for which then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the Pentagon, and Obama himself were extremely reluctant to become involved in yet another war in the Muslim world.

    Sounds like John Cole wasn’t the only one who thought this was a bad idea…

  12. 12
    Derf says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: McCain. Who is now saying Obama didn’t make this happen faster or some other horseshit.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:

    Prof. Cole is right. (No, not you, the other one.) From the beginning, this was primarily driven by the Libyan people themselves, not Western powers deciding what was “best” for them. The UN intervened at the request of the recognized provisional government to prevent Gaddafi from using his mercenaries to stamp out the rebellion.

    To me, this really seems to be a litmus test for whether or not someone is a genuine pacifist. If you can look at this intervention, which was fully international, remained limited, and occurred at the request of a provisional government, and still be against it, then you’re probably a pacifist.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with being a pacifist, but you should probably just say “yes, I’m a pacifist and I don’t think intervention is ever right” rather than try to come up with some tortured example of intervention that you would totally support that would be better than this one.

  14. 14
    Derf says:

    @Arclite: And your point being?

  15. 15
    Samara Morgan says:

    Juan Cole has the heartbreak of MBP (male pattern baldness).
    i assume John Cole does not.

  16. 16
    Derf says:

    @Mnemosyne: Making decisions to go to war are very hard. Making decisions to be a pacifist and say war is wrong under pretty much any circumstances is quite easy.

    So know nothing wrong way Cole of course took the easy route. Obama took the right course.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:


    Pacifism is a perfectly defensible moral stance — the Quakers have been practicing it for centuries, to name just one group. In some ways, it is the more difficult stance to take because you can’t rationalize yourself into doing what you want to do.

    As I said, I’d rather be arguing this with honest pacifists than with people who claim that intervention is just fine but this one somehow didn’t meet their constantly-shifting criteria.

  18. 18
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with being a pacifist, but you should probably just say “yes, I’m a pacifist and I don’t think intervention is ever right” rather than try to come up with some tortured example of intervention that you would totally support that would be better than this one.

    Or, better yet, to be an actual pacifist, not one who becomes one the instant you’re asked to put skin in the game.

  19. 19
    yeahyeahwhatevs (Studly Pantload, once upon a time) says:


    Sadly, I got yer Good News for John McCain® right here.

    Team Obama better be in “I got this” mode so some of us can chill the fuck out. And a healthier (or at least less moribund) economy would be a nice side benefit, too.

    Confidential to derF: Did Cole (John, not Juan) beat you up for lunch money when you were kids, or what? There’s disagreeing with someone’s POV, and then there’s this apparent personal animus you display that seriously detracts from any credibility you hope to project (assuming you do, in fact, hope to).

  20. 20
    ruemara says:

    Is it ok if I still think it’s not great but not horrible? At least until we see how this whole building a democracy thing plays out? I can’t join in the Obot spiking of the ball, this isn’t the end, it’s only the first damn phase.

  21. 21

    Professor Cole’s thoughts on the Libyan revolution are [naturally] excellent. So glad you’ve put a link there.

    John, I never was upset by your against-intervention-in-Libya stance except for one thing: I really don’t worry about Obama’s actions influencing succeeding, Republican presidents. Unfortunately. [Wish he could influence them to be nicer than they probably will be.]

  22. 22
    Pococurante says:

    Nuance. Strategic vision. Actual awareness of how the local neighborhood is able to employ same.

    Juan Cole can be incoherent on Israel, as he seems to accept that the last five years are a norm that erupted out of nowhere. And yet in so many other areas he does a fair job balancing complex factors where Israel is not obviously involved. A not so high price in order to be taken seriously by Arabists and Orientalists.

    The kneejerk anti-AIPAC crowd is to Juan Cole as the Tea Partiers are to Art Laffer. A shame really. No wonder Glenn Beck can ooze up through the flooring.

  23. 23
    Pococurante says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Cole’s reflex to Obama/Libya was never based on nuance. His was the reflex of the mugged, amazed it could happen to him.

    The US accepted its role as a NATO member, upheld the alliance, and upheld it to the letter. The US forced NATO to accept the costs of its decisions.

    The result is clear to all. The US, under the president, is not unilateral. It responds to its treaty obligations without warping it.

    John will eventually make the connection. He was only recently mugged after all.

  24. 24
    Derf says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Does not change the fact that war is hell and making the decision to go to war extremely difficult. Nothing good ever comes from war. Just the hope of a best worst case scenario.

    But just doing nothing is easy. In fact it is the easiest thing a politican can do to get re-elected. Just look at Kucinich. Has nothing to do with Quakers…..(wtf??)

  25. 25
    Lizzy says:

    Juan Cole has a picture, I’m beginning to believe Tunch is the real author of this blog.

  26. 26
    patroclus says:

    Juan Cole sure is a smart guy. Too bad his American twin isn’t on this issue.

  27. 27
    something fabulous says:

    please to ignore. just doing that comment thing to enable the phone i hope.

Comments are closed.