Juan Cole takes on Taylor Marsh and other hopium smokers:
The danger of Obama becoming mired down in Afghanistan and Pakistan is very real, and is obvious to anyone who knows the history of imperial interventions in the former. Warning Obama that he started out on a bad foot in Pakistan and suggesting that he take some time to consider charting his own, original course, is not injurious to Obama. Blind support for whatever he does is what would harm him.
I have been thrown out of organizations and even a whole country for refusing to toe a party line. Baathist Syria censored my news articles when I was working for a newspaper in Beirut. Theocratic Iran, where you have to follow the khatt-i Imami, the line of the Supreme Leader, once had me blackballed from an academic conference they helped fund. I object to party lines. I am not interested in being a court poet who spouts panegyrics. I am interested in being the academic equivalent of Hunter S. Thompson.
If we cannot call our leaders to account, we do not have a democracy, and those who insist we march in lock step are the greatest threat of all.