Let me add to DeLong’s post. First, the idea that there is anything at all unseemly about “associating” with Rashid Khalidi is — why mince words — racist.
As Matt Duss points out, Khalidi is a respected professor of Middle Eastern studies. His history of the Palestinian people was on the syllabus of a course I took in college on the Arab-Israeli conflict. To intimate that Khalidi is in any sense a terrorist is a racist slander of the Palestinian people and betrays the cynical expectation that Jewish voters will run in fear of the Scary Arab. Whatever country Sen. John McCain is running to be president of, it sure as hell isn’t America.
Second, McCain really needs to be more careful about raising this sleazy “associations” non-issue. Because, as Cernig points out, a BBC News investigative team is finding evidence that Mikhail Saakashvili’s Georgian government — which lined the pockets of McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheuenemann — may have committed war crimes this summer as it fled South Ossetia:
Eyewitnesses have described how its tanks fired directly into an apartment block, and how civilians were shot at as they tried to escape the fighting.
Research by the international investigative organization Human Rights Watch also points to indiscriminate use of force by the Georgian military, and the possible deliberate targeting of civilians.
Indiscriminate use of force is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and serious violations are considered to be war crimes.
Funny how guilt by association works. By the standards established by the McCain campaign, the good senator should be in The Hague by now.