TWO SMEARS IN ONE. Brothers Yglesiasand Klein say most of what needs to be said in re: Jonah Goldberg's ridiculous Charles Lindbergh smear. Evidently, this is similar to what happened after the release of the Mearsheimer/Walt paper. As it happens, I don't actually think M/W made their case; granting that assessing the impact of interest groups is one of the thorniest questions in political science (untangling the cause/effect relationships is almost impossible), I think much of their anaylsis was tendentious and unpersuasive. But the point of calling otherwise distinguished scholars anti-Semites with no independent evidence (or comparing them to David Duke) is not to debate the very open question about the role of the pro-Israel lobby on American foreign policy but to prevent the important questions from even being asked.

The beauty of using Lindbergh is that it gives you two smears for the price of one. Another routine we've been seeing recently is attempts by various Bush dead-enders to divide foreign policy positions into two camps: people who uncritically support every harebrained scheme that crackpot hawks send down the pike, and "isolationists." Going to war with Iran is a really, really terrible idea, so tarring people who support a rational policy as "anti-Semites" isn't enough; they need to be called "isolationists " as well. We'll be seeing plenty more of this kind of thing.

--Scott Lemieux

You may also like