Saturday, 21 October 2006
Stealing Fitzgerald

I hesitate to write a post critical of someone “on our side” so to speak, and a loyal reader of Jihad Watch to boot, but I find I am compelled to do so in this case. Diana West, a person whose work I greatly admire, has written an article in the Washington Post called A Vote for Civil War in which she blatantly takes ideas developed by Hugh Fitzgerald, involving the exploitation of the Sunni-Shia split in Iraq, and puts them forward as her own. Fitzgerald has worked tirelessly over the last two years refining and developing this strategy and Diana West knows this very well.


Let’s look briefly at the time line. I distinctly remember Fitzgerald blogging on this subject late in 2004, but here are two of his early articles in which he explicitly puts forth this argument:

 The greatest Intelligence Failure of the Iraq War was not about WMD (Jan, 23, 2005)

The Adventure in Iraq (Jan. 28, 2005)

I, myself, took up the argument in these two articles:

 Fighting the Last War (May 7, 2005)

 Disengage, Contain and Constrain (May 14, 2005)

Then still later, in the Sept 26, 2005 issue of the American Conservative, the same argument was put forth by James Kurth in his article, Splitting Islam.


Now, I can forgive her overlooking my work. I can even forgive her overlooking Kurth, but I cannot understand how she could forget to attribute a major political and strategic war policy, originated, developed and refined for over two years, to someone whose work she obviously knows intimately.


In fairness to Diana, Fjordman has been even more blatant about it: see here.

Update: After doing some more digging, I now have in my possession Hugh Fitzgerald posts going back to Feb. 20, 2004 accurately predicting the exact situation we are in in Iraq right now. Hugh has never wavered in his stance and has patiently and methodically built up an entire geopolitical strategy for the "war on terror," an important part of which includes Iraq, and has tirelessly defended this policy from all comers for over two and a half years. I, too, have broadcast and defended this policy since the spring of 2005 when I formally began working at Jihad Watch to the best of my ability because I see it (both then and now) as our best, and indeed our only, hope for survival in this struggle. In fact, I debated John Derbyshire over this very issue (I advocated withdrawal from Iraq, John advocated "stay the course") on Joey Reynolds' Show on WOR in NYC last December. 

Well, a lot has happened in a year and a lot of people have changed their positions, but Hugh Fitzgerald has steadfastly maintained and refined his. He deserves credit for being the first public voice to advocate the only sensible position to take, not only on Iraq, but for his entire war strategy. I simply think it is ungenerous on the part of Ms. West not to acknowledge this. I didn't say it was illegal, or a copyright infringement,or anything of the sort, I simply think it is wrong not to give credit where credit is genuinely due, especially when it is so evident that Ms.West has changed her position on the war due (at least in part) to Mr.Fitzgerald's relentless and unceasing efforts.

Posted on 10/21/2006 7:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
21 Oct 2006
I thought of that policy myself long before I read the essays by Fitzgerald and Fjordman. So must dozens of other people who think as we do. As Ms. West says, it's common sense, given the values we share. To claim sole authorship is in effect to deny that lots of people are familiar with the ancient tactic called "divide and conquer," of which this proposed policy is a subcategory.

21 Oct 2006
Send an emailRebecca Bynum
Dear Frieda, Here was my reply to West:
It may seem like common sense now, but back when Hugh first started making the argument, he was a lone voice of one, and he deserves credit for taking a courageous stand when nobody else would.
That remains my feeling on the matter.

21 Oct 2006
Send an emailbutterfly
He deserves credit, and praise.