Occam’s Razor In Action

By Daniel Luban

I see that Jennifer Rubin is refusing to reply to my last post, in which I provided evidence of NIAC-basher Hassan Daioleslam’s ties to the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) terrorist group. Which is fine — I don’t particularly need or expect a retraction of her previous attacks; I will be satisfied as long as she merely exercises more critical scrutiny toward Daioleslam and his accusations in the future.

But in the meantime, Rubin seems to be doubling down on her accusations, writing a paranoid post that accuses me, Andrew Sullivan, Spencer Ackerman, Matthew Yglesias, and Glenn Greenwald of secretly coordinating with the PR firm Brown Lloyd James (which I confess I had never heard of before) to defend NIAC — and by extension, presumably, to further Tehran’s interests in Washington. Noting that the five of us (along with virtually every other commentator outside the neocon fringe) were not overly impressed with Eli Lake’s attempted expose of NIAC, and that we pointed out NIAC’s record of taking stands against the Iranian regime, she intones ominously that “that sort of smooth-running rebuttal doesn’t just happen on its own.”

While I don’t want to get in the way of a good theory, I would suggest that Rubin could benefit from the judicious use of Occam’s Razor. It is indeed possible, I suppose, that every commentator who has disputed the charge that NIAC lobbies for the Iranian regime has only done so because they are receiving talking points and unmarked cash-filled envelopes from Brown Lloyd James. But let me venture what I think is a simpler explanation: commentators from across the political spectrum have argued that NIAC is not a tool of the Iranian regime because, well, it is utterly obvious that NIAC is not a tool of the Iranian regime.

Obvious, at least, to anyone who closely followed the post-electoral turmoil in Iran this summer — during which NIAC strongly condemned the regime’s violence against demonstrators, demanded new independently-monitored elections, urged the Obama administration to put human rights issues on the diplomatic agenda, called for engagement itself to be shelved so as not to handicap the opposition, and used its blog to disseminate evidence of the regime’s human rights abuses. The NIAC-haters have never adequately explained, or even attempted to address, how these actions are consistent with a desire to further the regime’s interests.

So I have to ask: were Rubin and her ideological comrades even aware of these things? Did they actually pay much attention to the events of this summer? Or were they too busy trying to think of ways that the brutality could be spun to justify killing even more innocent Iranians?

[Cross-posted at The Faster Times.]

Daniel Luban

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Chicago and was formerly a correspondent in the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.



  1. Occam’s Razor?!? I doubt that the neo-cons, intellectually speaking, shave. They would likely not understand such a highly technical term. Understand it or not, they could not accept the concept because they feed off conspiracy theories.

    Anyway, delightful post.

    Readers may also wish to check out the insightful analysis of the Iran-bashing industry by Professor William Beeman.

    Humor aside, this is a deadly serious issue.

  2. Feed on conspiracy theories, yes. It’s paranoia, pure and simple. These people are smart enough to see that Israel’s position has deteriorated dramatically since Camp David. Inside they are so gripped by fear for Israel that they see conspiracies where none exist. They seem unable to realize that their own attitudes and policies are contributing mightily to the continued decline in Israel’s reputation and security. Compare Israel’s position today with that of 30 years ago, after Camp David. If the trend continues, the position 30 years from now will be desperate. Yet the majority of pro-Israeli thought in this country feels that Likudism (if I may use that term) is the way to go. Cutting their own throats!

  3. So because you so easily rebutted her, therefore there must be a conspiracy? LOL

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