Congress is permanently in “Annie” mode. It will deal with its war responsibilities, like its myriad other forfeited powers, tomorrow, which is always a day away.
What I am going to say is that publishing any academic work is akin to strapping on the sparring gear and stepping into the ring. When an author salts that academic work with accusations about the personal character of a famous and beloved figure and about the probity of his work, that’s a lot like stepping into the ring and telling every black belt in the room that their master instructor moves like a pregnant yak. People are not merely going to respond. They’re going to fight back. With vigor.
Most academics, like most taekwondo students, understand that there’s a certain amount of verbal and intellectual sparring involved in putting one’s work out into the public eye. Not everyone will like or agree with everything you write. We learn and grow as scholars when we engage with that disagreement, respond to it intelligently, and work to get better next time. It’s the same way we learn and grow as taekwondo students.
Nancy MacLean, however, has – thus far – almost entirely declined to participate in the sparring match that she started. She stepped into the ring, called James Buchanan a pregnant yak, and is now trying to persuade the rest of the world that the academics who are stepping into the ring with her are picking on her.