[Marxism] Dear David Bromwich

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Sep 18 09:32:54 MDT 2013

I hope you don't mind me calling attention to some terrible sloppiness 
in your LRB Diary on Obama and Syria 
(http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n18/david-bromwich/diary), especially since 
you are Sterling Professor of English at Yale. I am certainly in awe of 
Yale's reputation and must conclude that anybody who has become a 
Sterling Professor must have leaped some high hurdles--but really. You 

 >>What exactly are those forces? One of the largest and the least 
talked of in the US has been Saudi Arabia. If it is necessary to supply 
weapons and money to jihadists to weaken Syria, and thereby to weaken 
Iran as well, the Saudis have shown that they are willing to do such 
things. Turkey and Qatar also support the rebellion for reasons of 
political advantage; and Israel is interested in prolonging the war, 
though not in assuring the victory of jihadists. It makes Israel shine 
more brightly as America’s sole reliable partner in a region sinking 
into devastation. A New York Times story on 5 September offered this 
disclosure by a former Israeli diplomat, referring to the jihadist 
rebels and Assad government forces: ‘Let them both bleed, haemorrhage to 
death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, 
there’s no real threat from Syria.’<<

I must prevail upon you from using the term "jihadist" in such an 
obviously demagogic and irresponsible manner. Most scholars of the 
region put no more than 10 percent of the rebels into that category. 
Perhaps you use the term based on having watched a Youtube clip showing 
a FSA member crying out "Alluakhbar" after firing a machine gun at an 
armored helicopter or some such thing. In wartime men and women who are 
observant Muslims often resort to such morale-boosting rhetoric but that 
does not mean that they intend to come to New Haven and impose Sharia 
law on your faculty or prevent you from enjoying a nice Pinot Noir.

My suggestion to you is to find some time to study up on Syrian 
economics, politics, and society. I put together a reference guide 
intended just for people like you. It is titled "A Guide for the 
Perplexed on Syria" 
(http://louisproyect.org/2013/09/16/a-guide-for-the-perplexed-on-syria/). I 
am sure you will find it most salutary.

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