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September 28, 2005

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She also asserted that women are faring much better in Iraq than under the rule of deposed president Saddam Hussein.

Feh.

Edward: Hughes seems to be one of the few people in the world W will carefully listen to, and sending her into that setting to get honest feedback deserves applause.

Only if it was intentional. It's entirely possible that neither Hughes nor Bush realized that outspoken Islamic women with no financial connection to Bush the administration would not provide polite flattery: it's possible that Hughes actually believed that the US is broadly popular among Islamic women for the things Bush & Co says it has done to "liberate" them. (And it's more than possible that Bush actually believes this: it's likely.)

So, if it happens again, it deserves applause. If it never happens again and Hughes makes sure she is never again in a position where she's likely to get honest feedback, we can assume that the one time it happened, it was an unwanted accident.

She also asserted that women are faring much better in Iraq than under the rule of deposed president Saddam Hussein.

Feh.

Oh, now, the reporter couldn't read his notes for that statement, which is why he paraphrased rather than offer a direct quote...in doing so he left out the essential qualifiers Hughes made sure to include, i.e., those women still living and able to avoid the marading rapists in the streets are faring much better in Iraq than under the rule of deposed president Saddam Hussein

True enough, Jes, I stand corrected.

And this is charming too:

"You're concerned about war, and no one likes war," [Hughes] said. But, she said, "to preserve the peace sometimes my country believes war is necessary."

Much more peace around here now that war has preserved it. Look, peace over there next to the White House, oops it was just arrested. But wait, peace just appeared in Baghdad, no wait just saw a female suicide bomber smiti that bit of peace. Perhaps it has been "preserved" in the cellar next to the canned peaches, let me go look....nope, all spoiled.

But wait, perhaps peace has been turned into war by the magic peace fairies who inhabit the White House. Yes that's it! Look at the peace spewing out all over Iraq, isn't it pretty? You can see the wonderful results of the magic White House peace fairies at the site linked to here


[sorry, I'm a bit tired and p'od]

Oh, now, the reporter couldn't read his notes for that statement, which is why he paraphrased rather than offer a direct quote...in doing so he left out the essential qualifiers Hughes made sure to include

Good one. Sadly, the AP reporter could read her notes:

"It is impossible to say that the plight of women was better under Saddam Hussein. Women were tortured, they had their children tortured in front of them."

Women tortured by the United States after we deposed Saddam? Check. Children tortured in front of their mothers by the United States? Not that I've heard of. So there you go, women must be better off after Saddam left because while they may have been tortured, at least their children weren't tortured in front of them (maybe), and otherwise their days are filled with milk, honey, joy and a pony.

I HOPE it was intentional. Getting diverse points of view from their source is a virtue, reactionary thugs notwithstanding...

If it was intentional, it might be the beginning of a reform of this administration that allows it to become successful because it is willing to learn rather than the failure it has been up to this point because it was so committed to dogmatism.

To me, though, the most indicative part of the article was this bit:

Hughes, a longtime confidant of President Bush tasked with burnishing the U.S. image overseas, has generally met with polite audiences -- many of whom received U.S. funding or consisted of former exchange students -- during a tour of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey this week.

Sound familiar? IMHO, this is reminiscent of nothing so much as Dubya's ill-fated Social Security-"reform" travelling-circus of earlier this year: a big hoo-ha roadshow to showcase and pitch some policy or other of the Administration's - consisting mainly of stock speeches given to pre-vetted - and presumably sympathetic audiences - with any possible dissenters rigorously excluded so as to provide a nice, positive media image.
Unfortunately, as far as Karen Hughes' latest tour seems to prove, she has not quite gotten the reception she expected ,and not just in Turkey.
If this is the best the Bush Administration can do to sell its Middle East policy to the people of the region most directly effected - well, it's a pretty sad state of affairs.
But then, that's the Bush Adminstration all over - if it all wasn't so serious, it would be laughable.

If this is the best the Bush Administration can do to sell its Middle East policy to the people of the region most directly effected - well, it's a pretty sad state of affairs

Please. What's not to like about 2,000 pound JDAMs and torture from the U.S. and mass executions and suicide bombs from the insurgents? The insight, merit, and genius of these policies speak for themselves. If the Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan can't get on board the Peace Train after Karen Hughes is kind enough to explain it to them, what good are they?

Ungrateful whelps.

OT - This interview with the soldier who accuses members of his unit of 'abusing' (boy, do I ever want to use the 'T' word...) Iraqi detainees might be something to shed some more patented ObWi illumination upon, since Hilzoy already posted on the initial HRW report (my apologies if someone has already brought this up in comments):

The New York Times

Captain Fishback, 26, a West Point graduate from Michigan and son of a Vietnam War veteran, said he was troubled by the Army's response to his concerns, starting in the spring of 2004 after the abuses at Abu Ghraib became known, about the treatment of detainees that he believed violated the Geneva Conventions.

In the months before, Captain Fishback said he had seen at least one interrogation where prisoners were being abused and was told about other ill treatment of detainees by his sergeants. But he said his commanders left the impression that the United States did not have to follow the Geneva Conventions when dealing with prisoners in Iraq, so he did not report the incidents.

That changed, he said, after he heard Mr. Rumsfeld testify to Congress after the Abu Ghraib abuses became public that the Conventions did apply in Iraq. But when he took his complaints to his immediate superiors, Captain Fishback said his company commander cautioned him to "remember the honor of the unit is at stake." He said his battalion commander expressed no particular alarm.

As he moved up his chain of command, he said no one could give him clear guidance on how the Geneva Conventions applied in Iraq.

"We did not set the conditions for our soldiers to succeed," said Captain Fishback, who has served combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. "We failed to set clear standards, communicate those standards and enforce those standards. For us to get to that point now, however, we have to come to grips with whether it's acceptable to use coercion to obtain information from detainees."

Worth considering on this story: self-described "scummy ex-pat businessman" Collounsbury. link--if simply for the cynically non-partisan prose and the local color.


I read that the US has "plus" popularity rating in very few countries (topped by Israel —at $4b aid per annum).

I sense nothing is goin to persuade hard-liners who still argue that attacking Iraq was the right thing to do, but even they cannot deny that the Bush Administration has done a poor job making its case. Karen Hughes is agile and slick, but this (like Katrina) is too big a problem to cloak with fast talk and coat-hanger smiles.


War is peace.

Bad is good.

Evil is righteous.

Killing is life affirming.

OT - Judge Hellerstein orders the Abu Ghraib pictures released, again.

Maybe the pentagon will give up this time.

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