Sunday, August 13, 2006

Our Best and Brightest

The "Best and the Brightest" of course was used to describe the Kennedy-Johnson schemers and plotters (esp. Robert McNamara and McGeorge Bundy) who brought us mass murder in Indochina. Today NPR interviews James Mann who's book, Rise of the Vulcans investigates the history of today's murderous foreign policy masterminds working in the White House. A helpful review of the book by Martin Sief appeared in in which he calls it the "'Best and the Brightest'-lite" noting that Mann takes an oddly respectful and detached view of his subjects. Today's interview on NPR, focusing on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's role in the Lebanon and other Middle East disasters of this administration, finds Mann again taking a strangely respectful tone. For instance, Debbie Eliot asks Mann about how Rice's infamous "birth pangs" description of the Israeli devastation of Lebanon played in the Middle East, and he responds that her "comments came at the time of the outbreak of war, so in the Middle East it was taken as meaning that the 'New Middle East' meant more and greater violence. That s not what she intended but it was the wrong time to say it." How convenient that Mann knows what she intended and can defend her, whereas any thinking individual might conclude that that's exactly what she meant and intended. After all, at that point in the war Israel had already pulverized Lebanon's infrastructure and killed hundreds of civilians and Rice was purposely blocking any ceasefire so that Israel could continue its rampage. That was the stated policy--at least on this planet!

Mann concludes the interview by indirectly criticizing Sec. Rice for not engaging with Iran and Syria more directly, but he fully swallows the complete B.S. of team-Bush wanting to spread democracy in the Middle East: "she’s going to have to engage in some tough bargaining and some tough talk both with America’s allies—like Israel—and also with people the United States, with governments it doesn’t agree with including possibly Syria or Iran.....she’s going to have to talk…without giving speeches about democracy in the Middle East, that s not going to help, that’s a worthy cause, but not something she’s going to help by preaching on."

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