Saturday, June 7, 2008

Proof President Bush has a Sense of Irony

With George Orwell no doubt smiling widely, George Bush attended the groundbreaking of the new home of the US Institute of Peace today. Well known for his tireless commitment to diplomacy, Bush began his speech thusly:

I appreciate what you do to resolve conflict and support new democracies and to build peace by promoting effective diplomacy. And speaking about effective diplomacy, it seems like you used some to get this special piece of land.

One hesitates, then, to inquire just how said land was acquired.

President Bush has previously illustrated his commitment to the organization's stated goals by nominating David Pipes, at times called "the world's leading Islamophobe," to its board in 2003.

Like many other Middle East scholars, Daniel Pipes sees a way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But unlike most of his peers, Pipes sees no room for negotiation, no hope for compromise and no use for diplomacy. "What war had achieved for Israel," Pipes explained at a recent Zionist conference in Washington DC, "diplomacy has undone."

Again, it is obvious that no two people other than Bush and Pipes are more qualified to lead or associate with an organization committed to diplomacy.

Actually, there is perhaps no one less qualified for such a position than Pipes. Whereas the USIP is dedicated to "the peaceful resolution of international conflicts," Pipes is about as opposed to diplomacy as is conceivable by the human mind. The only solution in Pipes' opinion to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the total annihilation of the Palestinians, for instance. At odds even with Bush, who (publicly) favors a two-state solution.

A prolific author and columnist with a doctorate from Harvard, Pipes opines exhaustively on just about every aspect of terrorism and the Muslim world. Pipes is also a founder of Campus Watch, a website that compiles public files on college professors who are critical of Israel or certain aspects of American Foreign policy.

Bush's speech today also dealt with rebuilding countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. Pipes will have none of that.

[In 2003] he penned a column arguing that the Bush administration should install a "democratically-minded Iraqi strongman" in Iraq. In another column, he asserted that the U.S. had no "moral obligation" to rebuild countries like Iraq and Afghanistan after an invasion.

During his short tenure, Pipes "blasted USIP for hosting a conference with the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy."

While the Pipes nomination may be a thing of the past, it is a poignant display of just how far President Bush's commitment to peace and diplomacy go. The stated mission of the USIP is to promote "the peaceful resolution of international conflicts," but both Pipes and Bush seem more adept at stoking conflict.

But, it was apparently without any sense of Orwellian pride with which Bush gave the groundbreaking speech today.

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