The strat­egy FDR never thought of

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

Pil­ing on is fun, as ev­ery school­boy re­mem­bers from gram­mar-school re­cess. The trick is to be one of the pil­ers and not the pilee, and never get crushed at the bot­tom of the pile.

Ge­orge W. Bush is the boy at the bot­tom of the pile, tak­ing the weight of in­sult, af­front and other abuse from as­sorted con­nivers, blowhards and cor­po­ra­tion lawyers look­ing for clients.

Ken­dall My­ers, a self-styled “ex­pert” on U.S.-Bri­tish re­la­tions and an ad­junct pro­fes­sor — i.e., a part-timer with­out se­ri­ous aca­demic cre­den­tials — at the Johns Hop­kins School of Ad­vanced In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, told a sem­i­nar that “the spe­cial re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the United States and Bri­tain, the foun­da­tion of vic­tory in two world wars and tri­umph in the twi­light strug­gle of a pro­tracted Cold War, is “to­tally onesided” in Amer­ica’s fa­vor, that Wash­ing­ton has no re­spect for the Bri­tish, that Bri­tain’s role as a bridge be­tween the United States and Europe “is dis­ap­pear­ing be­fore our eyes.” All Ge­orge W.’s fault, nat­u­rally.

There’s pil­ing on from an old source of op­por­tunists. The State De­part­ment is in­fested with “an­a­lysts” and “ad­vis­ers” ea­ger to call al­most any pres­i­dent “ar­ro­gant” and “stupid” and “ig­no­rant,” and par­tic­u­larly this one, os­ten­si­bly for his war pol­icy in Iraq but ac­tu­ally for his re­luc­tance to take se­ri­ously the lose-lose nos­trums that flour­ish like E. coli bac­te­ria in Foggy Bot­tom. Mr. My­ers’ su­pe­ri­ors called him in for a talk, and he will pre­sum­ably be told not to let the door hit him in the butt on his way out.

Or maybe not. Such be­hav­ior is not un­known in Foggy Bot­tom. Only a month or so ago an­other State De­part­ment nood­nik, ea­ger to get on television, any television, told an in­ter­viewer for Al Jazeera, the pre­ferred medium of Mid­dle East ter­ror­ists, that the United States — i.e., Ge­orge Bush — had dis­played not only “ar­ro­gance” but “stu­pid­ity” in Iraq. He, too, was dis­ci­plined, but af­ter mak­ing a full grovel he was al­lowed to stay on the pub­lic pay­roll.

The Hol­ly­wood rants, which mostly il­lus­trate the mind­less vul­gar­ity that now de­fines the pop­u­lar cul­ture, are aimed to en­ter­tain, cer­tainly not per­suade, and Danny DeVito, who has made a movie ca­reer of ap­pear­ing as cos­tume jew­elry worn by ac­tresses twice his height and half his weight, showed up drunk to wow Bar­bara Wawa & Co. with a story about his fun trash­ing of the Lin­coln Bed­room as a guest of the fab­u­lous Clin­tons, fol­lowed by a ram­bling rant about Ge­orge W. that was so vul­gar that half of it had to be bleeped out.

But more se­ri­ous pil­ing on is on the way. The bi­par­ti­san Iraq Study Group, com­mis­sioned by Congress to find a way to dis­pense with the war in Iraq and led by the man who helped Ge­orge W.’s daddy save Sad­dam Hus­sein in the first Iraq war, will re­port next week that it de­plores what’s go­ing on in Iraq, but hasn’t a clue about what to do about it.

The pan­elists said they would re­port to Congress this week and in the mean­time were warned by co-chair­men James Baker and Lee Hamil­ton that they were not un­der any cir­cum­stances to tell any­one what was in the re­port. So of course some of them did. What’s the point of know­ing stuff in Wash­ing­ton if you can’t tell ev­ery­body about it?

Ev­ery­one is told to ex­pect a rec­om­men­da­tion that Iran and Syria be in­vited to as­sist the coali­tion of the will­ing in ex­tract­ing the West from Iraq. We won’t be told how the en­emy can help, since no­body knows. A pity FDR and Win­ston Churchill didn’t think about a strat­egy like this in early 1942. Half of us might be speak­ing Ger­man now (and the other half Ja­panese). The panel, ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, will sug­gest with­draw­ing 15 com­bat brigades from Iraq and send­ing them to un­spec­i­fied bases in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries where they would be re­spon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing the Amer­i­cans re­main­ing in Iraq. It’s not clear how they would do this, per­haps by con­duct­ing sem­i­nars led by ad­junct pro­fes­sors at Johns Hop­kins, beamed into Iraq by Al Jazeera.

Wis­dom some­times slips out of the mouths not only of babes, but of fools. “I think we’ve played a con­struc­tive role,” said one per­son iden­ti­fied by the New York Times as “in­volved” in the com­mit­tee’s de­lib­er­a­tions, “but from the be­gin­ning we’ve wor­ried that this en­tire agenda could be swept away by events.” Re­al­ity can do that.

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