Part III: In Which the King of Jordan is Implicated

In the comments below Eli Perle (whose sole job seems to be promoting Eisenstadt’s blog) writes:

Good research on your part, but it still leaves some unanswered questions. M. Thomas Eisenstadt just posted another blog that looks deeper into Callahan and found some intriguing connections between him and King Abdullah II of Jordan. Maybe you guys can find out what really happened at the Phi Delt house in ’83-’84? The rabbit hole is getting deeper….

He then links to this post by Eisenstadt. Quite Frankly, this whole thing seems rather ridiculous to me. Point by Point:

  • Does Hart spell E R-H’s name right in the book? We’re still – at best – left with a Dartmouth English professor who neither cites his sources, nor even spells the name of his subject correctly. If an Ivy League English prof. can’t check the spelling of one of his esteemed colleague’s names correctly, it begs the question about the value of a Dartmouth education.

1. Yes, the name is spelled correctly in the book.

  • Was Hart actually a student of E R-H? (we know he taught at Dartmouth, but the DR [sic] says he and E R-H probably didn’t overlap). In and of itself, this doesn’t corroborate that the Citizen quote was widespread, only that Hart used it more than once. The trick is to find someone else who remembers the quote.
  • If he wasn’t a student, what’s his original source for the ‘96 quote? The DR [sic] can just ask him.

2/3. Yes, Hart was a student of Rosenstock’s. TDR has an article here.

  • The DR [sic] now puts the blame squarely on Callahan and/or Birzin, suggesting that they copped from Hart. Fair enough, but then I ask again, why would the Callahan quote be such a personal one “from his father?” If a man lies so cavalierly about his own father, what else is he lying about? His own resume? His own trackrecord at Dartmouth? Do we really want this guy representing us at the State Department working in anti-terrorism? We’ve been asking around the National Security community, and indeed, Callahan has a stellar record protecting America (and yes, even contributing to Bush/Cheney in 2004). If Hollywood was to depict a handsome, daring, athletic, patriotic, articulate diplomat, they couldn’t do better than Callahan. To read the Birzin piece in particular, the guy is one part Tom Cruise and one part Matt Damon (minus, of course, the Sarah Silverman thing).

4. I’m not putting the blame on either Callahan or Birzin because I don’t think there’s anything blameworthy going on. Just because the guy wanted to verify the aphorism his father told him does not make him a plagiarizer. I don’t understand why you were so nonchalant about Goeglein, and yet you’re pressing this so hard. This is bordering on sophistry.

  • ….But, what happened at the Phi Delt house? The Birzin profile spends considerable time talking about Callahan’s experience cleaning up his frat, Phi Delta Alpha (not to be confused with Dartmouth’s Alpha Delta Phi [sic], the inspiration for the film Animal House):

    Just before he took the reins as president, Phi Delt was put on social probation by the administration for a series of behavioral incidents and infractions by its members. Callahan was faced with the difficult task of finding a way “to reconcile the house’s objectives with the legitimate concerns of the Administration.”

    What’s interesting is that the general dates of that time period coincide with Jordan’s then-Prince (now King) Abdullah hanging out at the frat:

    Royalty visited Phi Delt in the 1980s. Prince Abdullah of Jordan hung out at Phi Delt in 1983, while visiting close friend George ‘Gig’ Faux ’84.

    Best as we can tell, Callahan took over as Phi Delt president from Gig Faux the next year and had to clean up “the mess.” I have no reason to doubt Callahan’s loyalty to his country, but should a high-ranking State Department expert on counterterrorism be old frat buddies with the King of Jordan? As one of our strongest allies in the reason, maybe that’s a good thing. But it begs the further question of if the young Prince had anything to do with the “behavioral incidents” at the Phi Delt house and what exactly did Callahan do to “clean it up”?

5. A house being put on social probation is not uncommon. For instance, if a house has extra unregistered kegs at a party, then they’ll be put on probation. There’s probably a 50/50 chance that any given fraternity president would have to deal with his house being on probation. Also, I don’t follow how Callahan followed Faux as president of Phi Delt since they were both ’84s. Faux is currently the President of the Phi Delt Corporation, but that is different than being the student president of the fraternity.

  • Has anyone tracked down Birzin, Callahan or Hart to get to the bottom of this?

6. There is nothing to get to the bottom of here. To reiterate, I don’t think anyone plagiarized or was plagiarized in this instance.