A reader writes:
In connection with Danielle Pletka's assertions in the NYTimes, I just wanted to add an additional perspective. A number of years ago I worked for Danielle Pletka for a summer as a researcher, and her piece today matches the "scholarship" she and AEI were producing in the early part of this decade. I was rarely if ever asked to perform background research on a subject but was more often asked to provide specific evidence to support ready made assertations. At the time AEI was mobilizing in support of military action against Iraq, and it was quite clear to me that the academic process was reversed - positions designed, research dug up to support the positions. At the time I was shocked that my undergraduate professors had higher standards for scholarship than one of the more influential think tanks in the country, but I learned quickly that winning the argument and scoring points mattered much more to their scholars than any sort of genuine attempt at elucidating the world around them.
Danielle Pletka's article on Iran is the academic equivalent of mad libs. The form is set by the neoconservative agenda, and she mobilizes a narrative that fills in the blanks to serve that agenda. Unwilling if not incapable of producing an article any other way, she is more than content to reverse engineer her position with a strict liner logic. Her final statement is telling. "...Iran neither needs nor wants accommodation with the West," and it is clear to me this would have been her conclusion regardless of what the preceding 800 words had been. At AEI, whether by design or not, "scholarship" serves only one master - ideology, and no matter what may change or may not change in the broader world, it would be naive to expect the conclusions of AEI scholars including Pletka to deviate from neoconservative ideology to which they have attached themselves.
They want a war on Iran - and nothing will deter them from it. Takes you back, doesn't it? But don't they realize we have memories?