Juan Cole


Juan Cole, Professor of History, blogger and author of Engaging the Muslim World, discusses Gaddafi’s military offensive that began in earnest while outside forces were mobilizing against him; modeling intervention in Libya after the 2001 defeat of the Taliban, with US air support for Northern Alliance ground forces (and look how that turned out); why the no-fly zone is worth it to prevent massacres, like in Kosovo; why the terrorist Gaddafi can’t be allowed to stay in power, as he might invade Tunisia and destabilize the region; and the question: if Libya intervention is justified, then why are Bahrain and Yemen off limits?

MP3 here. (25:22)

Juan Cole is the author of Engaging the Muslim World. He is a Professor of History at the University of Michigan and writes the “Informed Comment” blog at Juancole.com.

47 thoughts on “Juan Cole”

  1. I found Juan Cole's arguments disappointingly weak.

    I thought a no -fly zone = war declaration?

    Also, since when is Kosovo a success story? Yes, it did put local forces in power- the KLA (drug-smuggling, organ-harvesting , human-traffickers calling themselves the Kosovo "Liberation" Army).

    Does Juan Cole want the equivalent of the KLA in Libya?

  2. I am heartsick at the way my countrymen and women can be so easily sold on another war. Even the lies are the same. In this way, the military establishment always wins and keeps control of us all.

  3. Wow, it is disappointing to hear Juan Cole on Antiwar.com regurgitating the propaganda of the cruise missile left. It seems obvious to me that he hasn't really taken a close look at Kosovo. The line about "mass graves" really got me. I suggest he read Johnstone's piece in Counterpunch this week and Malic's piece on Antiwar.com. Without the space to get into it, let me say that "mass graves" in Yugoslavia had to be found or at least produced to establish the legitimacy of Nato and the ICTY. I'd also like to remind him that the 78-day bombing was collective punishment, killing men, women, and children, demolishing downtown areas of Pristina and Belgrade, destroying millions and millions of dollars of civilian infrastructure, leaving the country scattered with cluster bombs and depleted uranium. These interventions are much more humanitarian if you're watching them on TV in a different country. http://counterpunch.org/johnstone03072011.html

    1. Juan Cole was not against the Iraq War. He wanted Sadaam out.

      He's a war monger masquerading as a peacenik, as he says from a military family. He's always complaining about how the war is waged, not the war.

      He's incapable of any kind of logic.

      Only an idiot would start another stupid war. How stupid do you have to be? Isn't it possible to learn from Vietnam? From Iraq? and now going on 10 years in Afghanistan where they are making "progress" against bakers and herdsman and newlyweds.

      Juan Cole is a nerd. Over intellectualized fool with no real depth intellectual or emotional and that's the reason he keeps promoting WAR, while claiming not to.

      And of course he's an "expert"…..on nothing.

      He simply misunderstands and interprets everything in a very disturbing way. He's simply put, quite disturbed. His thinking is not logical, sensible or honest. He's very twisted.

      The idea that the "international community" is "intervening" to help innocent people is absurd.

      As usual there is no logical…military, ethical or even self serving reason to enter into any of these "wars" (against who? what?) in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya.

      The mentality of the intervention sounds more like a movie plot, a episode in a TV series…it's not real.

      Listen to his answer to Scott Horton's question about the amount of people killed by Barack Obama as compared to Gaddafi? It's rambling and thoughtless.

      "He blew up the Lockerbie airliner"….says Cole….hmmm….there's a lot of controversy about that.

      Cole is pro Shiite and anti Sunni. He's always been that way. As if giving the Shiites the power is going to solve anything.

      He can't stop involving himself in other peoples business.

      He's just awful.

  4. He needed to study Economics. I will take Justin Raimondo over him any day. We can get an encyclopedia and know all the things this man is saying. How cheap are those missiles? Put a war tax on this man's salary. Stay out of Bahrain also. Good for Scott asking these questions. War is not free. Wars costs. How many of the 194 (besides our) countries in the world are next? Angry people and some news organization as the cheerleader.
    The Lies Begin:
    “The problem is if Obama goes out and says to the public this may take months and months, you’re also saying to Qadhafi that we know we can’t come get you. You don’t want to convey to the target that we think this is difficult and may take a while.” (Politico)

  5. With ani-war proponents like Juan Cole is it any surprise that the Nobel Peace prize went to Obama.

    1. This is an example of what Chris Hedgesmeant when he wrote "The Death of the Liberal Class". Cole is a neo-liberal which is the same coin that carries a neo-conservative on the other side. Both are bellicose warmongers and jingos. Cole should remember what one time Commandant of the US Marine Corps, bemedaled Gen. Smedley Butler wrote in his biography, "War is a racket. I was a thug, a hit-man for Wall Street."

  6. Well I am disappointed that so many seem to have
    Bush Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and don’t have the ability to judge one situtation from another.

    The only other alternative was to do nothing and reinforce the ME street view that the US intervenes only for it’s ’empire’ balance of power and Arab ruler puppets and against the Arab street.

    Too much knee jerk thinking going on here…that is just as hypocritical as all the punidts, politicians and quais experts who need to fill in air time on 24/7 cable.

    “Something happens…then you make a choice and take a side”….Graham Green, ‘The Quiet American’.

  7. Crimes in Libya? Its a civil war. Large sectors of the Libyan population support Gaddafi.
    what short memories y'all have: Just a few weeks ago, the Libyan 'rebels' were ' executing, burning and torturing captured 'mercenaries' to the nose-pinching 'approval' of Western journalists. Who were these 'mercenaries' – so horribly killed? They were all described as 'black'. Whe investigated their deaths? Were they really mercenaries? Maybe they were Libyan citizens. Maybe they were itinerant African immigrant vendors. So why was the West celebrating the summary execution of black 'mercenaries' by the Libyan mob 'rebels. Why was the West exonerating the grossest form of racism. No wonder so many Libyans have rallied to Gaddafi.

  8. Juan Cole is a academic mouthpiece for empire-building. He still supports Clintons 'humanitarian' cleansing of all the non-Albanians citizens of Kosovo and the utter destruction of the industrial infrastructure of Yugoslavia. And what did the West 'win' in Kosovo. The world center of trade in human organs, not to mention a fake nation whose 'economy' is based on the underground trade in drugs, weapons and women and children for the international sex industry. Well, maybe its a good thing for the wealthy if they need a healthy kidney – or heart (Like VP Cheney).
    Libya is a civil war where the empire decided to intervene to tip the balance toward the 'rebels'. I'm sure Prof. Cole will be too busy with the next imperial project to contemplate the fate of the 'other' Libyans – the ones who opposed the intervention.

  9. Can it be said that one side rebeled or protested against being oppressed, but were not doing the killing, while the other side had the capability and will to begin killing as many rebels as possible? Should the U.S. have joined with the Libyan government and helped them suppress the rebellion, or should the U.S. and others have done nothing while hundreds, possibly thousands of rebels would have been killed. The option to stand on the sidelines while rebels were slaughtered was a very poor choice.

    It has been a very long time since the U.S. supported the people rather than the leaders. It did not matter what type of leader an individual was, what mattered was if that leader was friendly, or could be bought? If the U.S. got something out of a deal with the devil than so be it, at least it was something rather than nothing.

    After observing the falsehoods, pretence, and violence raining down from the sky it appears that the loyalists are the most brainwashed and the rebels who desire freedom.

    1. The action in Libya is completely different from Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
      The 'rebels' are rebelling against a tyrant who has brutalised a nation for some 40 odd years.
      Where were all you purist antiwar holier than thouers when the west was selling the very arms to Gadaffi he now uses to kill his own people who have dared to ask for political reform?.
      Seems to me we owe something to the 'rebels' he told us he would execute on masse when entering Benghazi as he has murdered thousands already..
      Executing them with the weapons we gave him!!
      Puts us in a bad spot.
      Sort of like Saddam I suggest.
      What this tells us is to keep ourselves out of parts of the world we have no right in interfering in and to stop the manufacture of arms to be sold to others.
      We created the Gadaffi military machine for profit – so now we just watch while he uses it against his own people?.
      My word that is really something to be proud about – NOT!
      Gadaffi stinks and frankly I defy one of you bleeding hearts to admit that you would have wanted to endure his vile dictatorship for 40 years.
      Pontius Pilates. Washing your hands.
      We created the monster and in this case I think we owe to the Libyan people to irradicate the evil we have sustained for years – for oil!

      1. We didn't give 'him' any weapons. Try Wikipedia. When you argue from a false premise, you reasoning is useless. Our country being broke to fight their dictatorship or any other that will surely pop up only weakens our country. Washington can not even fix the US's domestic problems

        1. If you rely on Wikipedia I am not surprised you are writing twat.
          Get your head around some decent research or are you just into disinformation?.
          This is just the EU's contribution to the murderous Libyan toad.
          There is quite a measure of guilt. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/mar/
          Any friend of Tony Blair should be no friend of anyone on this site and Gadaffi and Blair are very very matey indeed.
          Short memory all round.
          I would imagine his tear gas cannisters have the same label as Mubaraks.
          And where were those made?
          Where indeed?
          Not to mention other elements used against the people.

        2. If you want to send me e mails make sure you send e mails based on fact not from junk sources like wikipedia.Displays a level of intelligence and research of the lowest order.I have replied on the site.

          1. I read your sources. I am from the US, your Guardian article links the EU and former states of the Soviet Union, the US was not listed. I know from experience where his heavy weapons are Soviet Era design. If you don't like online Encyclopedia sources that is your situation. You consider them junk, I consider one useful source of many.
            We are in theory a Constitutional republic. The British Empire contracted after WW2. We are hoping the US' contraction won't be as bad. You remind me of what Eric Margolis said, people who can not tell a tank from a armored personal carrier.
            Go pay a war tax and cry and save the planet. Let me worry about my Republic.

          2. Please see my reply and this Antiwar item todayhttp://original.antiwar.com/medea-benjamin-davis/2011/03/23/instead-of-bombing-dictators-stop-selling-the

      2. Hi Emilyrose,

        I think your heart is certainly in the right place. However, I'm not sure where you are from when you say 'we'? As a US citizen, I am painfully aware of the mistakes we have made vis-a-vis foreign policy, but I don't believe the US has either sold or 'given' Libya weapons that are being used in this conflict. The vast majority of their heavy arms/planes are Soviet-era, and not from the EU. On top of that we get little, if any, oil from Libya.

        I and most everyone on this site would agree with your statement that we should "keep ourselves out of parts of the world we have no right in interfering in." But then you argue that we need to intervene just…one…more…time, and everything will be better? The same arguments you used can also be used to justify US actions in Iraq as well, yet it's obvious you don't agree with the Iraqi invasion.

        Peace be with you.

  10. Juan Cole is a pro-Iran shill. The Iranians want Qaddafi out because Qaddafi assassinated Shiite cleric Musa al-Sadr, and he is a counter-balance to Iranian influence.

  11. Bush:OPEX comissions & israel assasiantion are SAVE tools for $ progress

    Bush Sheea hates saddam that he got him hanged
    Gulf hamirz hated Qathafi that they asked Qardahwi to hang him soon.
    Yamanees hated Abodz/Saleh/BenAli/Mubarak/Abas that they will Jail them soon for life.
    Khalifah Aaed is chosen to expose this iPOKKKER game…anyONE dirty Munafeq for Khelafah rasheda Progress SOON.

  12. Bush:OPEX comissions and israel assisnation is SAVE tools for $ progress

    BushKWIsheea hated Saddam that they got him hanged
    ObamaQardhawihamirz hated Qathafi that they will get him done
    KhalifahAaedSunnis is hating their U$Kingz till they retire in Nakheel DXB for UE NOW

  13. What a completely EMBARRASSING moment of 'Left Liberal' hypocricy this was. Cole has sunk to the lowest levels of NEOCONISM (formerly the exclusive residence of 'Right-Wingers' of the Bush/Cheney/Kristol brand). Had Scott replaced the name 'Cheney' for 'Cole,' none of us would have been surprised. This is now proof positive that there really isn't a 'DIME'S WORTH OF DIFFERENCE' in DEMOCRATS and REPUBLICANS. BOTH have their 'NEOCON' wings, and NEITHER 'Party' will admit it.

  14. Very disappointing, unexpected. Cole and other statists think top-down action, including violence, can solve the world's problems; they just think it's a matter of application. And really, hearing him chortle that his was an "Army family" was too much in this context. He continues to be a go-to for analysis on Middle East politics and culture but he clearly can't be relied on as an anti-interventionist voice.

  15. You would expect a rank and file liberal's anti-war stance to be merely Bush-deep, but not an intellectual like Cole. Very sad.

  16. How could this Horton character allow Cole to spew all of that nonsense about Kosovo?

    Not a single challenge?

    Pathetic. I've heard all I want to hear of Horton.

  17. What I find very disappointing is the groupthink and the rolling over each other who can come up with the nastiest insult and having a go in a pissing contest about who is the most consistent antiwar.

    If there are very good reasons for why Cole is wrong then one would expect better arguments than a bunch of ad hominems would come up. Now really.

  18. The Late Edward Said would brand him as a typical orientalist doing the bidding of an Empire. Nothing surprising from Prof. Cole. He also supported Iraq war as long as the UN backed it. Civilian deaths, rape, destruction are not concerns of his.

    Cole is wrong because he refuses to acknowledge US double standards in Israel, Yemen, Bahrain, and its support for numerous other dictators. Using Cole's logic, would he approve bombing of western states that are responsible for civilians deaths as a result of drone attacks in Pakistan?

    US was militarily supporting Gaddafi as recently as last year. The US helped Gaddafi crushed the rebels during the peak of Iraq war (search weapon deals with Libya). Again, nothing surprising – very consistent history of double standards and hypocrisy. US also supported the great Mujahideen aka Taliban before they struck back at their own suppliers.

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