- The Congressional summer recess began last week. That
means our legislative representatives in Washington - as they do each year
at this time - get to include the actual bodily component with their perpetual
mental hiatus, and physically leave town for a week.
- Meanwhile over at the executive (b)ranch, George W. Bush,
who, in a manner of speaking, left town in 1972 never to completely return,
took the opportunity posed by the legislature's collective absence and
made what is potentially his most insensitive and inappropriate political
appointment to date!
- Given his prior record, that's no mean feat.
- But sad though it might be, it is no less true.
- From his Prairie Chapel "ranch" in Crawford,
Texas where he too was
- vacationing while the world went round and round, the
President of Endless War (and virtually endless fundraising vacations)
appointed Daniel Pipes, PhD, to the board of the taxpayer-funded think
tank, known as The USIP, The U.S. Institute of Peace.
- US? Peace? Seems an oxymoron.
- Which common noun - for some unknown reason - brings
me back to George W. Bush. With the congressional recess relieving him
of those pesky legislators and their irritating, if not often relevant,
questions, George W. Bush and his neo-con advisors were suddenly free to
decide what's best for the rest of us, and do so within their favorite
milieu: unimpeded by scrutiny or logic. So, as usual, acting on their own,
the neo-cons presented Dubya with a candidate of their own. Also, as usual,
the President of the United States did what he was told, and added yet
another "intellectual" zealot to the Bush League's ever-more-dubious
roster of taxpayer-supported world-changers: Daniel Pipes, PhD.
- Now, we all know that the mainstream media has been spread
pretty thin, what with Kobe Bryant and the historical Madonna kiss, and
stuff, so there has not been much coverage of the Pipes appointment. It's
understandable, then, why one might be moved to ask: Who is this guy, Daniel
- Well, he's another neo-Conservative who's gained a reputation
for genius by behaving in a manner that combines the soaring intellect
of a Richard Pearl of Wisdom Perle, the chickenhawk ideology of Paul Howlin'
Wolfowitz, the fundamentalist convictions of a John the Baptist Ashcroft,
and the kill-for-peace delusions of Don Quixote Rumsfeld all rolled into
one. Add to this gumbo of goofiness a ton or so of Biblical myopia, and
you've pretty much got the picture. Or, to be specific, yet another abundantly
educated, philosophically bankrupt fool eager to suckle at the public teat
while regaling our leader with stupid ideas. Among other things, Pipes
is the man whom CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations claims
many Muslims consider the most virulent Islamophobe in America. Quite a
distinction in today's home of the quivering brave.
- There are many (not that many) who disagree. Which means,
I suppose, that they know of an even more virulent Islamophobe. But perhaps
CAIR is, in fact, being unduly judgmental. Perhaps too many Muslims are
fixating or misinterpreting Pipes' recent statements about them. Things
he's said like, "All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes,
but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most," or, "West
European societies (I guess that's us) are unprepared for the massive immigration
of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining
Germanic standards of hygiene." While I doubt he was citing the bathrooms
at Dachau, I would hesitate to judge so distinguished a scholar of Semitic
history as is Pipes by those statements alone. Come on CAIR, give the man
even a cursory benefit of doubt. Let's move on to some of his more insightful
statements. Perhaps we can clear things up. For example, Pipes has said,
"Between 10 and 15 percent of Muslims are potential killers."
According to CIA population statistics, that would make 300 million of
them potential killers! That's more than one potential killer of every
American man, woman, and child! Well, it's no wonder then that Rush Limbaugh
and tough guys like that are so scared!
- I dunno. I think those nit-pickers over at CAIR are just
reading things into Pipes' observations. For example, when he said, "The
Palestinians are a miserable people, and they deserve to be," Dan
Pipes could have meant many things. Some quite positive, I'm sure.
- While making light of this is perhaps necessary among
the sane, it is also inappropriate. So let's get real. Daniel Pipes is
not the sort of verbally diuretic firebrand the Bush crazies should be
inflicting on a nuance-driven world situation that is already poised to
explode like a supernova.
- As recently as the week before Dubya's shadowy appointment
of him to the Peace Institute, Pipes uttered the diplomatic gem quoted
above this article's title: "Conditions of peace have, by and large,
been created through military victory." Jeepers, Dan! No kidding?
Such logic would, I imagine, be especially applicable to those who find
a quite complete and lasting condition of peace with each "military
victory," by dying. Arlington National Cemetery, for example, basks
in an obvious condition of peace, as does Gettysburg, and let's face it,
E-Entertainment won't be planning a "Getting Wild In Hiroshima"
special any time soon.
- After spewing his obviously brilliant "peace through
military victory" bon mot, Pipes offered his first - albeit remote
- concession to temperance. He told the Washington "press" corps
not to quote him until after Bush appoints him to the peace institute.
As always, they obeyed. But the point is, if Pipes asked not to be quoted
until after he got the job, that means he understood the implications of
his words. Why, then, did he say them? What can he be expected to say in
an official capacity? What will his inflammatory "insights" bring
to the institute's endeavors toward world peace?
- While we wait for Dr. Pipes to pipe up again, let's quote
something else. The charter of the USIP, which states: "The mandate
of the United States Institute of Peace, as established by Congress, is
to support the development, transmission, and use of knowledge to promote
peace and curb violent international conflict. To this end, the United
States Institute of Peace Act directs the Institute to serve the American
people and government through the widest possible range of education and
training, basic and applied research opportunities, and peace information
services on the means to promote international peace and the resolution
of conflicts among the nations and peoples of the world without recourse
- It escapes me how the USIP's stated objective - that
of achieving peaceful solutions to conflicts without resorting to violence
- reconciles the philosophical observation of its newest member - "Conditions
of peace have, by and large, been created through military victory"
- Daniel Pipes.
- Clearly, it does not. I get the pragmatic subtleties,
thank you. It does not reconcile with diplomatic process. It does not reconcile
to diplomatic progress. It does not yield to any wholly intelligent interpretation.
- Let's quote yet again. This time it's the Arab American
Institute's President, James J. Zogby oh, yeah, I almost forgot PhD: "Daniel
Pipes has a problem," said Zogby, "his obsessive hatred of all
- Peace? Pipes? (pun intended) Where does the Bush League
get these people? What is Bush after here? Are we combining his neo-con
advisors' Old Testament rage with Bush's New Testament dogma, and pitting
both against followers of the Koran? What benefit could acrue to the inclusion
of Daniel Pipes, a man so widely perceived as a bigot, so widely evidenced
as an unbridled blabbermouth, possibly contribute to so volatile a Middle
East and Far East situation that's already roiling well out of control
under this administration's heavy-handed insensitivity to extant, historical
reality? When do these righteous, self-aggrandizing fools who presume to
govern this still-secular republic, begin to realize, or at the very least
acknowledge that their words kill? When will their hubris, and stupidity
be recognized and condemned as the criminal incompetence it so surely is?
- But more to the point, as a governed, enlightened peoples,
when will our continued tolerance of such behavior appear equally as criminal
to the rest of the world?
- I submit that it already does.
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