I'm all for looking on the bright side, but this is ridiculous. Commenting on the largest demonstration in favor of Hezbollah's war on Israel — a demonstration that took place in American-liberated Baghdad —
Condoleezza Rice had this to say to NBC's Tim Russert: "That people would go out and demonstrate and say what they feel is one sign that perhaps Iraq is one place in the Middle East where people are exercising their right to free speech." Come again? Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites, calling "Death to Israel" and "Death to America," voice their support for a terrorist organization that hides behind human shields in Lebanon as it rains rockets down on cities in Israel, and the secretary of state praises freedom of speech in Iraq? It's enough to make a happy face weep. But Miss Rice beams on, diplomatically speaking, Pollyanna on the Potomac.
A more realistic approach would wipe the smile off anyone's assessment. But our foreign policy is increasingly driven by a sanguine un-reality. Oh, for an administration official who could respond to this intractable situation with an unabashedly unpleasant analysis.
"Yes, Tim," my dream secretary of state would say. "What you see in these pro-Hezbollah protests is the unfettered expression of the people of the Republic of Iraq. I wish I could say this was limited to a vocal minority, but we're seeing this same sentiment expressed across sectarian lines, in the now-free press, even in back channel communications. Why, Iraq's parliament came together unanimously — a democratic first — to condemn Israel, never mentioning Hezbollah. And why should it? Iraqi officials have refused to condemn the Iranian proxy as a terrorist group."
That might leave the host speechless — but just momentarily before he'd ask: "So what are we doing there?"
"Well, Tim,"she would respond, "the president is currently working on a major address — the most important address of his second term, I would imagine — to prepare the American people for entry into what we like to think of as the post-PC world. What I mean by that is, American efforts to extend the pacifying, enriching and ennobling benefits of democratic liberty to the Muslim Middle East have bumped up against our own erroneous teachings of political correctness.
"For generations now, Americans have been taught that all peoples are the same, all cultures are the same, all religions are the same — hard-wired to live by the same self-evident truths. Our experience in Iraq, our experience with Islam, if you will, tells us, in fact, that we are not all the same. We do not all want the same things out of governments, our cultures or our religions. This is something our experience in Iraq has finally taught us. There are vast differences between Islam and the West, differences that are not the mission of the United States military, or in the interest of the United States to bridge."
My dream secretary would continue: "Whether posterity judges us kindly and calls ours a noble experiment in Iraq, Tim, the bottom line here and now is that we're not getting results. I mean, how do you expect to fight a war on terror for, or alongside, terrorist sympathizers? It can't be done. And the war on terror is the president's primary concern. As a result, you will see the mission of American troops changing as they leave the streets of Iraq's cities to be redeployed to strongholds in Kurdistan — and beyond."
"Let's just say we'll be talking much more about Iran and Syria in the coming weeks, and their roles in sponsoring terrorism and nuclear blackmail." Poof.
Alas, Coleridge-like, I find my vision of chat-show Xanadu has gone black. On the real-life program, Miss Rice went on to offer a typically reality-challenged solution for Lebanon: Her idea — the U.S. idea — is "to flow the authority of the Lebanese government and Lebanese forces with the help of international forces" into Hezbollah-controlled areas. Just keep smiling, and never mind that all too much of the Lebanese government, the Lebanese forces, not to mention the Lebanese people are rootin'-tootin' Hezbollah boosters.
But wait, what's that voice in my head? "Given the Free World's stake in the destruction of Hezbollah's terrorist forces," my dream secretary is saying, "the president will be calling on our friends in the international community to offer Israel our shared gratitude and unified support for taking on this common enemy."