Bush's big plan for making peace with Islamic world involves bombing them till they love us and sending Karen Hughes over to explain why we're wonderful. We all know haw the first part is going, let's check in on the second part.
This week, Hughes embarked on her first trip as undersecretary. Her initial statement resembled an elementary school presentation: "You might want to know why the countries. Egypt is, of course, the most populous Arab country... Saudi Arabia is our second stop; it's obviously an important place in Islam and the keeper of its two holiest sites ... Turkey is also a country that encompasses people of many different backgrounds and beliefs, and yet is proud of the saying that 'All are Turks'."
The Kurds, our important allies in Iraq, and the largest nationality in the world without their own country, make up about a quarter of the population of the Turkish Republic. They are not proud to say "All are Turks." In fact, over the last century they have frequently been in a state violent rebellion against efforts by the Istanbul government to Turkify them.
"Many people around the world do not understand the important role that faith plays in Americans' lives," she said. When an Egyptian opposition leader inquired why Mr Bush mentions God in his speeches, Hughes asked him whether he was aware that "previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our constitution cites 'one nation under God'."
Karen, the constitution does not say "one nation under God." That's the Pledge of Alligance.
With these well-meaning arguments, Hughes has provided the exact proofs for Bin Laden's claims about American motives. "It is stunning to the extent Hughes is helping bin Laden," says Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist...
"If you read Osama's speeches, they begin with descriptions of the US occupation of the Arabian peninsula driven by our religious goals and that it is our religious purpose that must be confronted. That argument is incredibly powerful, not only to religious Muslims but also secular Muslims. Everything Hughes says makes their case."
The undersecretary's blundering tour of the Middle East might be the latest incarnation of Innocents Abroad. "The people stared at us everywhere, and we stared at them," Twain wrote. "We bore down on them with America's greatness until we crushed them."
Once again, the administration shows it' contempt for expertise and competence and doles out important jobs based on cronyism and loyalty to the boss. At least our relations with the Muslim world aren't important to our economy or security or anything. Are they?