I’m usually pretty hard to disgust. Growing up in the sixties and reaching maturity in the 70s created within me a puke level that was rather high. But Joel Mowbray’s article in the latest issue of National Review, "Maids, Slaves and Prisoners", put me over the top. Where’s the outrage? Well, it’s right here my friend. If I made a deal with the devil to tolerate the Saudis for the sake of toppling Saddam, well now I find myself in absolute and utter contempt for our very own Department of State.
Lest I spoil your dinner, Mowbray will do that for you, I won’t go into the many disgusting details of his article. But I will say that it illuminates one of the great divides that separates ordinary Americans from our so called "betters", who practice diplomacy. Apparently the Department of State is not staffed with Wilsonian idealists or flinty eyed Metternichs so much as amoral appeasers who never met a human rights offense they could not justify.
Tales of the mistreatment of immigrant Saudi servants in the corrupt kingdom are bad. But when it happens under the very eyes of our own State Department IN the United States of America, well the only thing I can say is that George W. Bush should have a heart to heart with the entire management team and lay out for them the rules of how they should represent the interests of the United States. You can be with us, our you can be with the Saudis.
And while my ire waxes hot, perhaps the President can do some house cleaning at that other bastion of delusion, the Central Intelligence Agency. Not only did they (and their equally incompetent confreres at the FBI) fail to protect us from a millennial Pearl Harbor, but they insist on a business as usual approach. Not a day passes that some low level scut does not insert a dart into the President, Colin Powell’s and George Tenet’s implication that there is a link between Iraq and Bin Laden. Bush should have the same sort of Come to Jesus session with the spooks at Langley. Their record of miserable performance continues to this very day. How many agents are in Iraq today? With thousands of discontented Shias in the south, and thousands more of discontented Kurds in the north, Iraq should be on the verge of armed rebellion right now.
But we’ve learned in just the past few weeks that the CIA has been so dilatory in accomplishing anything that the responsibility for liaising with internal rebels has been assigned to DoD. Apparently between Powell and Rice, the recommendation was made that in order to get anything done, you go to the "go to guy", Rumsfeld.
Diplomacy and intelligence are difficult disciplines at best. Sometimes we must do business with people who turn our stomachs. We often ask these men and women to pay a high price. To subsume their own personal moral codes for the greater good. But this is no excuse for acting to undermine the United States of America.
It was often said, in the days following the inauguration of George W. Bush, that he faced the labors of Hercules in cleaning out the Augean stables of the Clinton years. If it was important before 9/11, it is even more critical today. Moral relativism, Arabism and bureaucratic inertia characterize and executive branch lost in petty feuding and budget politics. The American people know that things changed that sunny morning in New York.
It’s time for the paid help to find out too.