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Grasping At What the Meaning of “In” Is

James Kirchick over at the Joe Lieberman weekly seems to think that he’s really onto something in his textual exploration of the Lieberman canon:

Ilan Goldenberg of the National Security Network claims that, in an interview yesterday, Joe Lieberman said:

If we did what Sen. Obama wanted us to do last year, Al-Qaeda in Iran would be in control of Iraq today.

Goldenberg is apparently a believer in the meme that Sunnis and Shia’s can never work together, exclaiming "There’s no such thing as Al Qaeda in Iran!" Never mind the fact that the 9/11 Commission actually did find extensive ties between Al Qaeda and Iran (in that several of the hijackers passed through Iran in the months leading up to the attack, that "Iran made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with Al Qaeda after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole," that Iran harbored Al Qaeda members after the fall of the Taliban, etc. etc.), what Lieberman actually said was "Al-Qaeda and Iran." Watch the interview here.

Yes, astute Lieberman scholars can listen for themselves to the glorious tape, that sonorous Lieberman voice, and argue with each other about whether Lieberman said in or and, and the profound, subtle significance of each. He goes on to chide Goldenberg for using me as a source for the tragic mistake, saying "apparently the credulosphere isn’t just illiterate when it comes to terrorism, but the English language as well."

Well, I listened to it again, and to my unschooled ears, sure sounds like he said "in," but I didn’t sit there and listen to it over and over again like Kirchink obviously did, and clearly I don’t have his insights into Lieberspheric cosmology. I used this neat thing that the toobz now offer called Fox News transcripts.

I think one of Kirchick’s own commenters sums it up best:

Again, Jamie- like on yesterday’s expose of Burlington: this post was nothing more than an attempt to use real and serious things as a tool to bludgeon political opponents and sneeringly call out weak liberals. This is not helpful. And it is hard to make the puff-chested claim that the blogosphere doesn’t know anything about terrorism when you yourself are backing insane claims that have nothing to do with the reality of Iraq.

Poor Franklin Foer. He had Kirchick foisted on him, a Marty Peretz special. Well Franklin, your instincts were right — unless your vision of TNR is a stable of scholars who pour over the words of Joe Lieberman with Talmudic intensity and a fundamentalist fervor for enforcing obeisance. In which case you’re safe, because that’s what you’ve got.

The Plank’s commitment to scrupulous fact checking continues unabated.

Update:  Looks like Lieberman was calling around to  media outlets, and made Fox change its transcripts.  I guess Kirchick (who now dishonestly tries to pretend it was ever thus) was just printing Lieberman’s press release.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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