Daily news and commentary by: Whymrhymer

“The occupier has started to search for a face-saving way out. The resistance, with all its factions, is determined to continue fighting until the enemy is brought down to his knees and sits on (sic) the negotiating table or is dealt, with God’s help, a humiliating defeat.”

These are the words of a person who called himself “Abu Mohammed” as he spoke on Al-Jazeera television on Friday. The “occupier” he speaks of is the United States and the “resistance, with all its factions” is a reference to the various insurgent groups operating in Iraq. Abu Mohammed, just previous to that statement, had listed a set of “conditions” for any negotiations; conditions that even an Arab terrorist would not take seriously. According to a Boston Herald article:

“. . . the man, appeared to set near impossible conditions for the start of any talks with the Americans, including the return to service of Saddam’s armed forces, the annulment of every law adopted since Saddam’s ouster, the recognition of insurgent groups as the sole representatives of the Iraqi people and a timetable for a gradual, unconditional withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign troops in Iraq.”

Alberto Fernandez, the director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near-Eastern Affairs at the U.S. State Department went on Al-Jazeera television on Friday to respond to Abu Mohammed’s statement and conditions. Fernandez spoke like a “true” diplomat (giving some credit and taking some credit) but true diplomacy has long been dead; today’s diplomat is only supposed to speak in officially sanctioned sentences. What Fernandez said (if translated correctly . . . he spoke in Arabic), may cost him his job. This is the translated excerpt of what he said that is being published in the media:

“We tried to do our best, but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq.“We are open to dialogue because we all know that, at the end of the day, the solution to the hell and the killings in Iraq is linked to an effective Iraqi national reconciliation. The Iraqi government is convinced of this.”

Fernandez’s accusations of “stupidity” and “arrogance” on the part of the U.S. made headlines around the world and earned a quick rebuttal from an “anonymous” senior Bush administration official: “Those comments obviously don’t reflect our position,” he said. The official rebuttal came later from U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack who suggested that Fernandez himself denies that the translation is an “accurate reflection of what he said.” Officially, McCormack denies that history will reflect any stupidity or arrogance on the part of the United States.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave . . .”

Talk about arrogance and stupidity, here we have three examples of different degrees of arrogance and stupidity:

  • A terrorist on television who is arrogant and stupid enough to claim that terrorist tactics could ever bring the U.S. to its knees.
  • A diplomat on television who is arrogant enough to tell what he sees as the truth rather than reflect the “official position” of his government.
  • A U.S. State Department official who is arrogant enough to deny the truth of the situation and who believed that the American public is stupid enough to believe his denial.

In spite of the “official” U.S. response, I believe even a casual observer of U.S. actions in Iraq would agree with Fernandez. Yes we were arrogant to assume that we could turn a Muslim nation into any kind of democracy in less than ten to twenty years and yes we were stupid to assume that there would just be an anemic resistance to our presence in the region, a resistance that could easily be dealt with. That may not be a “diplomatic” assessment by todays definition of the word but it is honest.

Links:

The Boston Herald: U.S. diplomat says America showed ’arrogance’ and ’stupidity’ in Iraq

From the blogosphere: US Envoy: ‘Arrogance,’ ‘Stupidity’ In Iraq; al Jazeera’s pet State Department mouthpiece

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