Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dispelling the Myths about Iraq: Juan Cole and James Phillips

David Jones recommends the article Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2005, by Juan Cole, University of Michigan history professor and soon-to-be president of the Middle East Studies Association, which he describes as -- contra FoxNews -- "fair and balanced."

We all have our ideologically-fueled predispositions. Just as David Jones tends to approach anything authored by NWN (Neuhaus, Novak, Weigel) with extreme prejudice given their "neocon" affiliations, I would personally do the same with Juan Cole, background information on whom can be obtained from the following:

Meanwhile, James Phillips, another researcher in Middle Eastern Studies, posts his own article Dispelling myths about Iraq at SperoNews, "refuting of some of the major myths that have distorted the pub lic's understanding of U.S. policy regarding Iraq."

Given as Phillips is part of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies (run by the notoriously (gasp!) conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation), his assessment of Iraq reads somewhat at odds than that of Dr. Cole. As I've linked to both articles in question, I trust our readers will make their own judgements as to their merit.

I think when it comes to learning about Iraq we need to take information from multiple perspectives (politically-aligned) and sift the wheat from the chaff. Anybody who has followed Arthur Chrenkoff's "Good News from Iraq / Afghanistan" round-ups during 2004-2005 realized that the usually-negative commentary of the Mainstream Media provided only a small glimpse of what was actually happening.

When it comes to understanding "the situation in Iraq", I've benefited greatly from reading the blogs of U.S. military currently serving in Iraq, journalists like Michael Yon and Bill Roggio (thanks to Chris Burgwald for recommending the latter) "reporting from the field", as well as the frontline accounts of Iraqi bloggers who are exercising their freedom of speech post-liberation (or occupation, depending on your POV). One of my personal favorites is Iraq the Model; Hassan from Iraqi Blog Count provides a history of Iraqi blogs.