BEING THERE. Matt's dig at Michael Ledeen reminded me that I wanted to highlight this Ross Douthat item from a few weeks back about how Ledeen has never actually been to Iran, the country on which he claims unparalleled expertise:
I don't want to resurrect my ancient feud with Michael Ledeen or anything, but I was a little gobsmacked by this comment he just made:
In a new entry to the competition for the coveted Walter Duranty Prize For Most Favorable Coverage of Tyrants, the Wall Street Journal weighs in with a new puff piece on Ahmadinejad, speaking of his "soaring popularity" due to "populist policies."
Well, I've never been to Iran, and I doubt it would be smart for me to do a research trip there so long as the mullahs rule, but Roozonline, written by people with lots of first hand experience, has a rather different view of the Iranian economy . . .
Wait, wait . . . Michael Ledeen has never been to Iran? Michael "the expert on all things Iranian, and how we should overthrow the mullahs in five easy steps, and faster please, on to Isfahan" Ledeen has never been to Iran?
And yet somehow, both Prospect senior correspondent Noy Thrupkaew and then-foreign editor Laura Secor managed to go in recent years. Noy wrote about her trip for the Prospect in 2003. Laura even went back for a second visit, and then wrote a big New Yorker story about it. It really couldn't have been that hard for Ledeen to go at some point during the quarter century plus he's been advising Republicans on foreign policy, especially as he has so many more resources at his disposal than did our intrepid female reporters.