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November 17, 2006

I Finally Come Clean About Anthony Cordesman

Barry in comments here asks this about Anthony Cordesman:

How do you know that he's 'one of the best think tank denizens in Washington', especially since he 'seemingly just makes things up'.

Methinks that you know him personally, and can't emotionally accept the idea that he's evil.

Okay. I think it's time for me finally to be honest about this:

1. Anthony Cordesman provided the financial backing for my highly successful PCP lab.

2. In addition, he's (as far as I know) the only Washington think tank type who wrote something non-crazy about the recent Hezbollah-Israel war. Specifically, he stated (pdf):

One key point that should be mentioned more in passing than as a lesson, although it may be a warning about conspiracy theories, is that no serving Israeli official, intelligence officer, or other military officer felt that the Hezbollah acted under the direction of Iran or Syria...

The issue of who was using whom, however, was answered by saying all sides - the Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria - were perfectly happy to use each other. Israelis felt Nasrallah had initiated the Sheeba farms raid on his own and that Iran and Syria were forced to support him once Israel massively escalated. Israeli officials did not endorse the [idiotic American pundit] theory that Iran forced the Hezbollah to act to distract attention from its nuclear efforts.

Also, despite the fact he was as wrong as one human possibly could be about Iraq's WMD, he wrote an excellent analysis of the various investigations into what happened, saying it was preposterous to blame the CIA, etc. for something that was obviously the fault of the Bush administration.

In my judgment, this does make him one of the best think tank denizens in Washington—not because he's so fantastic, but because the standard is so extraordinarily low.

Posted at November 17, 2006 04:01 PM | TrackBack

Speaking of "conspiracy theories" and "distractions", Jon.

When do you suppose one (or another) of the extra-regional "players" in the Middle Eastern "theater" will get around to noticing that Iran (and several other governments in the area, now) really only want to "go nuclear" because Israel already has--with (apparent) impunity.

Posted by: Mike at November 17, 2006 09:17 PM

I've had it. I'm going to start my own think tank.

Should I call it

1.The Infinite Reality Institute,

2.The Dentonia Foundation,

3.The Inverse Social Credit Commission, or


I'm open to other suggestions, especially if they are confusing and respectable-sounding.

As far as Israeli nukes go, I've often wondered why Ahmedinejad has never suggested that he would be more amenable to negotiate with the US, et al, if Israel came clean regarding their nuclear program. Of course for all I know he has and I've missed it because of over-reliance on CNN and their ilk for info.

Could he say something substantive that didn't get picked up by the US press because they only want to cover him threatening fiery destruction to the west?

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at November 18, 2006 09:26 PM

Think tanking is definitely the way to go--


1. You're the sort of comedian who enjoys telling the greedy old bastards in the front row what they want to hear.


2. You're talented enough to make some of 'em believe you actually mean it...

Posted by: Mike at November 19, 2006 10:05 AM