[See links in previous "related posts" listed below for specific criticisms.]
Even more startling, given who they are, is the flimsiness of their work. Countless facts are simply wrong. Long stretches of argument are implausible, at times almost comically so. Much of their research is oddly amateurish, drawn not from credible documents or primary source interviews but from newspaper clippings, including dozens from this newspaper, seemingly dug up in quick Internet word searches aimed at proving a point, not exploring the truth. Some are wildly misquoted. An undergraduate submitting work like this would be laughed out of class. A dean apparently gets to see it posted on Harvard's Web site.
And here's a charming quote from Mearsheimer, in the Asia Times:"We fully recognized that the lobby would retaliate against us. We expected the story we told in the piece would apply to us after it was published. We are not surprised that we've come under attack by the lobby." What retaliation? Last I noticed, Mearsheimer and Walt still had their respective cushy tenured jobs as Harvard and Chicago. What they have faced in not retaliation, but criticism, criticism that Drezner reports they refuse to respond to. And exactly who is "the lobby"? Just in the blogosphere, Mearsheimer and Walt have been criticized by a huge range of bloggers who have no connection with any organized pro-Israel lobbying group, or each other. Is every individual who finds the Mearsheimer and Walt paper to be shoddy scholarship (Mearsheimer has acknowledged, by the way, that none of the evidence represents original documentation or is derived from independent interviews; in other words, it's a rehashing and compilation of material published elsewhere) to be dismissed as a tool of "the Lobby"?
It's bad enough for these professors to write a (as Drezner put it) piss-poor paper endorsing ridiculous conspiracy theories(e.g., that the "Israel lobby" is responsible for the War in Iraq). It's worse when they attribute legitimate criticism to that same conspiracy "retaliating" against them. Come on, Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, you have all of the resources of Harvard and Chicago at your disposal. Explain why your critics are wrong! (If you can!)
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