Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.
Our source must remain covert, but we have gained access to a series of e-mails between James A. Baker III and Lee A. Hamilton, co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group. (Actually, the ISG designates them as “co-chairs,” but even a cursory look shows neither of them to be furniture.)
The messages’ content sheds an interesting light on the ISG’s 79 recommendations. We submit these messages below, without comment:
Dear Jim: I’ve looked at the draft of the ISG recommendations. Do you think anybody will notice there aren’t really 79, and that a bunch of them repeat or extend other recommendations? And do you think the entire report is unnecessarily, shall we say, windy? – Lee
Dear Lee: Nobody will notice. Heck, we could number the paragraphs and call each one a recommendation. We could have 200 if we wanted and nobody would say boo. As for being windy: Congress spent a million bucks on this thing. We have to give the people some bulk for their money. Have you seen the secret “Executive Executive Summary”? – Jim
Dear Jim: Thanks for your input. Yes, I received the Executive Executive Summary, and I agree with it, but don’t you think its single sentence, “Solve all Middle East problems from Somalia to Kashmir,” is a bit too brief? – Lee
Dear Lee: I think you’re right about the Executive Executive Summary being too brief. It needs at least two sentences. – Jim
Dear Jim: Two sentences would be about right. Do you have anything in mind? – Lee
Dear Lee: You bet. It also should say, “Sell out Israel.” – Jim
Dear Jim: You’ve got it. – Lee
Related matters: Remember the good old days, when anti-American Americans criticized their country for failing to foster democracy in the Middle East?
“All the United States cares about is OIL!” they would say. “We just prop up corrupt dictatorships – the royal family of Saudi Arabia in particular. We never do anything to promote democracy in the region.”
Then along came George W. Bush, fostering democracy in Iraq, and anti-American Americans had to change their tune. Suddenly, the United States was indulging in cultural imperialism, forcing its values on an unwilling populace. U.S. insistence on a constitutional democracy in Iraq became “condescending.”
Our “condescension” must play well among the millions of Iraqis who plunged their index fingers into purple ink, in both fear and joy, to participate in the democracy the United States fostered.
Anyway, the anti-American Americans’ new approach fits well with the current, rampant, values-free academic diversity mongering, and never mind that it’s a total contradiction of the old “we never promote democracy” complaint.
The outburst here is occasioned by an article in my alma mater’s alumni magazine, wherein a couple of political scientists opine that “making democracy promotion a core foreign policy doctrine …” is a mistake.
Such a policy, they say “… is a systematic claim by the United States that we get a massive say in the domestic political arrangements other states create for themselves.”
One must surmise that these scholars take a dim view of the “democracy promotion” that occurred in Europe and Japan following World War II. I believe the United States had a rather “massive say” in the affairs of the Axis nations following that conflict.
The academics continue, “In our view, democracy promotion was never deeply embedded in American foreign policy thought. Rather, it was a substitute rationale for the Iraq war after the non-discovery of weapons of mass destruction.”
Really? This is belied by Bush’s prewar speeches, which cited WMDs but also declared America’s intention to create a free (read “democratic”) Iraq.
Exempli gratia: “The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America’s interests in security, and America’s belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq.
“The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people, themselves. Today they live in scarcity and fear, under a dictator who has brought them nothing but war and misery and torture. Their lives and their freedom matter little to Saddam Hussein – but Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us.”
The two scholars suggest that the next U.S. administration will have to “recapture a sense of humility. …”
I have to think it would be better if academia – accurately represented by these characters – recaptured a sense of national interest and national identity, as well as an accurate portrayal of recent history.
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