Monday, December 17, 2007

Replacing Hughes


Thank goodness John Brown watches public diplomacy constantly, so I can relax once in awhile. He forwards an interesting quote by James K. Glassman, whom President Bush has nominated to replace Karen Hughes as America’s chief civilian PD officer.

Although Glassman has professed to be a libertarian and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, he freelances as both an optimist—he’s the guy who wrote Dow 36,000—and worse for PD purposes, a triumphalist, as the quote Brown forwarded demonstrates.

Written in April 2003, in the flush of an apparent U.S. victory in Iraq, it is about one parking space away from ugly:

... The anti-war protesters remain clueless. They're still planning their marches.

Instead, they should be apologizing.

Before the war, they told us that 500,000 Iraqis would be killed in Dresden-like bombing, that we would precipitate an eco-catastrophe by pushing Saddam to set fire to his oil wells, that millions of people would flee the country, that thousands of our own troops would be killed, that the Arab "street" would rise up, that terrorist attacks would resume ferociously on our homeland, that Iraqis would tenaciously resist our colonization of their land, that we would become bogged down in urban warfare, and on and on.

In fact, none of that has happened. It has been a war unmatched in history, with relatively few civilian and allied casualties and the prime objectives - control of the capital and the destruction of Saddam's regime - achieved in only a few weeks.

Conscientious opponents of the war should say they were wrong, wrong, wrong - on all counts. Certainly, if there had been failures, they would have condemned Bush administration officials and supporters of the war.

It’s tough when you meet your prime objectives splendidly but those niggling little secondary objectives refuse to budge. Here’s the end of Glassman’s original, written for Capitalism magazine:

And, as for supporters: no, it is not over yet, but a little celebration, even gloating, is in order.

It took political courage to tell the Security Council, the French, the Germans, the Russians, that inspections were a dead end. And it took personal courage for our troops to carry the battle 500 miles to the heart of the capital of fear and mass destruction.

Maybe it's time for a different kind of Stop the War parade in Washington - a victory march.

Unfortunately, it’s never time for gloating in public diplomacy. It’s never time for sweeping pronouncements about the future; that’s the president’s job, if anyone’s. It’s never time for up-with-the-war pronouncements that discount the idea of things going wrong.

And there’s no need to find a chair at State for someone who only sat down at the Broadcasting Board of Governors in August.

No comments:

Site Meter