Friday, November 16, 2007

Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis really put the "ASS" in ASMEA (The Association for the Study of the Middle East and North Africa)

As I sit here in a low-budget hostel in Montreal waiting for the cleaning staff to pick up the condoms and empty beer bottles most likely strewn across my would-be accommodations for the next week, I was surfing the blogosphere, when I saw that Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis had founded their own association for the study of the Middle East to 'counter' MESA, the Middle East Studies Association, which I'm sure they view as apologist and, dare I say it - progressive. Wasn't Campus Watch enough? Since when can the people who make up the 'establishment' claim the mantle of rebellious, revisionist luminaries? Please - don't make me choke on my kashi.

On his blog Nibras Khazimi claims that influence peddlers like Ajami and Lewis have the ear of the administration because they "know what they are talking about." More like they just regurgitate the 'smoke 'em out of their holes' foreign policy that the Bush Administration wants to hear. Last time I checked this administration wasn't a clearing house for dissenting opinions. And I GUARANTEE that the members of MESA, per capita, have spent twice as much time living and studying in the Middle East as whatever membership ASMEA will actually draw. I'm sure the non-resident scholars at AEI and the Hudson Institute need some more institutional memberships - so ASMEA will be great for them. As for the rest of us, we'll keep our academic rigor, our opposition to the war in Iraq, our SOULS and our MESA memberships.

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