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.]