Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Only Thing More Horrible Than the Middle East Are the Books Written About the Middle East

By Barry Rubin

You might want to take a look at my review of a terrible book by Stephen Cohen. For many years, he's been getting contracts to advise the U.S. government on the area. Read this book and you can imagine the kind of counsel they've been getting and why so much has gone wrong.

What is amazing is that in 2010 commercial publishers can be putting out books so riddled with conceptual and just plain factual errors. No wonder people don't understand the Middle East.

However, this experience gave me the idea for a great parlor game. You can open this book (and all too many others) to a page at random and the player whose turn it is has to point out all the mistakes.

In a humorous sequel, Cohen obviously called up two buddies to write letters supporting him. Obviously, neither had read the book as they made no specific reference to its contents. Indeed, if they thought it was so great why didn't they give a cover blurb?

It's really sad what nonsense is presented to the public about this all-important part of the world where so many lives are at stake.

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