Scholar Combatant II

Posted by sepoy on November 01, 2005 · 1 min read

I have vented about Bernard Lewis before. So, allow me one more.

From the Jeffrey Goldberg piece in the Oct 31 NewYorker on Brent Scowcroft that everyone is talking about:

Scowcroft suggested that the White House was taking the wrong advice, and listening to a severely limited circle. He singled out the Princeton Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis, who was consulted by Vice-President Cheney and others after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Lewis, Scowcroft said, fed a feeling in the White House that the United States must assert itself. "It's that idea that we've got to hit somebody hard," Scowcroft said. "And Bernard Lewis says, 'I believe that one of the things you've got to do to Arabs is hit them between the eyes with a big stick. They respect power.'" Cheney, in particular, Scowcroft thinks, accepted Lewis's view of Middle East politics [emphasis mine].

I really wish that I had hit Bernard Lewis between the eyes with a big stick, when I had the chance.


elizabeth | November 01, 2005

I sat behind him at a big conferency-thing last year. No stick. But I'm wishing I'd pulled a maggie thatcher and whacked him with a handbag. Many people in Turkey are still fond of his first book, but that's largely because it parrots many of the kemalist/modernization theory tropes about Ottoman decline & the brave new world of Turkish modernity. Sigh.

sepoy | November 01, 2005

Yes, 'cuz the Kemalist model is the only model that works for Mr. Lewis. Aargh. This plus that NYT's Robert F. Worth's reading list makes me really tear my hair out.

raven | November 01, 2005

It's not too late.

Umair Ahmed Muhajir | November 05, 2005

Sickening, but hardly surprising from Mr. Lewis. This is exhibit "A" for Said's complaint that it remains respectable to say things about Arabs that it wouldn't be about virtually every other "group"...