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December 11, 2011

I Apologize to Tablet

I recently made fun of Tablet Magazine for emblazoning "Agents of Influence" across a picture of Leon Panetta in a column by Lee Smith about Iran. My interpretation was that they were implying that Panetta and other dreary time-servers in the Obama administration were somehow spies for Iran, and compared them to Squealer in Animal Farm. But as their editor, Alana Newhouse, tells me, "Agents of Influence" is the name of Lee Smith's column there, and it's on the main photograph on everything he writes. So I apologize to Tablet.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 11, 2011 07:11 PM

Your inference was a natural result of their ill-advised actions, and your apology once again shows your truly generous nature.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at December 11, 2011 10:34 PM

See, here's the problem: They gave Lee Smith a column. I'm thinking that an apology is over-generous.

Posted by: Nell at December 12, 2011 04:24 AM

Me too. Here is The Music Machine to console them.

Posted by: Dredd at December 12, 2011 10:22 AM


Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 12, 2011 12:55 PM


Posted by: Not Errol Flynn at December 12, 2011 04:28 PM

I'm inured to the vacuous, casual brutality of most American writing about foreign policy. So I'm not surprised that Lee Smith, a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is clamoring for us to bomb Iran's "oil and natural-gas fields, its ports, power plants, reservoirs, and dams." Or his blithe acknowledgement that this will result in Americans being killed at "the Mall of America, the Port of Los Angeles, Disney World, who knows?" Or that he celebrates our support for both sides of the "bloodbath" of the Iran-Iraq war. Or that he believes that "our inheritance includes the Persian Gulf." Or the predictable fact that, as an employee of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Smith opposes democracy.

I am glad you DID NOT SCRATCH the above part from your post. The arrogance in his statements "the United States has the power of life and death over 80 million Iranians and there is always a price for being American" is mind boggling. "Superpower" and "Exceptionalism" is his mantra I guess.

Posted by: Rupa Shah at December 12, 2011 06:27 PM

Good on you. However, what does "Agent of Influence" as a title say about Smith's assumptions about the meaning of global politics?

Couldn't he just have called it "Ramblings of a paranoid psychopath" and thus promoted truth in advertising?

Posted by: The Creator at December 13, 2011 02:37 AM

Fair enough. Also, what Rupa Shaw said.

Posted by: Batocchio at December 14, 2011 03:20 AM

I don't see why you failed, initially, to devote the now crossed-out words to excoriate the hideously monstrous
Mr Smith instead of using them to address a relatively miniscule point on Panetta.

Smith's article is stored, however, for reference, when the next craven fool asks: "Why do they hate us?"

And why? Because of US exceptionalism = "OUR global genocide doesn't stink!"

Posted by: John Puma at December 17, 2011 09:02 AM