Totally Despicable

Brian Cook

Even for the McCain campaign--the sorriest crew of knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers on the planet--the attacks on renown Middle East scholar Rashid Khalidi are despicably low. As both Juan Cole and Spencer Ackerman have pointed out, they are explicitly racist. They also add one more piece of evidence to the case that McCain is not fit to be president; if he can't distinguish between Khalidi and (his words) a "neo-Nazi," then I'd be surprised if he can any longer tell the difference between his ass and his elbow (or his brain). Part of the reason I find this so infuriating is that back in those dark days of early 2003---when this country was going cuckoo over the prospect of invading Iraq---Khalidi performed a real, patriotic service to our country in the pages of this magazine, exposing the lies of the Bush administration's "case" for war and predicting with eerie prescience what would be the most likely outcome of the invasion. (You can---and should---read those pieces here and here.) His wise counsel, of course, was ignored, with horrific and devastating consequences. But at the time, Khalidi's writings were manna to myself and millions of other Americans who (correctly) protested this hideous war, providing a shelter of sanity from the blizzard of bamboozling and bullshit pouring down from this nation's more august media institutions. For that, and for his truly remarkable history, The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (an absolute must-read), I owe him my thanks, and as forceful a denunciation as I can possibly muster of these spurious and heinous attacks on his character.

Brian Cook was an editor at In These Times from 2003 to 2009. He now works on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine.
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