Expect news of the purging of the Defense Science Board to come down any day now. This report is really bad news for the Bushies, and, more importantly, bad news for us all.
Download the report (Adobe Acrobat format) and read it over lunch and then photocopy it and pass it around to every Bush voter you know with the words, "Read this and let me know if we're winning."
Where to begin. Some excerpts.
Opinion surveys conducted by Zogby International, the Pew Research Center, Gallup (CNN/USA Today), and the Department of State (INR) reveal widespread animosity toward the United States and its policies. A year and a half after going to war in Iraq, Arab/Muslim anger has intensified. Data from Zogby International in July 2004, for example, show that the U.S. is viewed unfavorably by overwhelming majorities in Egypt (98 percent), Saudi Arabia (94 percent), Morocco (88 percent), and Jordan (78 percent). The war has increased mistrust of America in Europe, weakened support for the war on terrorism, and undermined U.S. credibility worldwide. Media commentary is consistent with polling data. In a State Department (INR) survey of editorials and op-eds in 72 countries, 82.5% of commentaries were negative, 17.5% positive.
Are we crazy to think that it's very, very bad to have 94% of Saudi Arabia pissed off? Or 78% of Jordan? Especially when our government is trying to "bring democracy to their region" with a shock & awe use of force? Our most powerful military display of might since Vietnam, and they're not blinking. Neither are they embracing us. They hate us more than ever. And they control a lot of money. A lot of weapons. A lot of men whose only goal in life is to achieve death.
A lot worse.
There is consensus in these reports that U.S. public diplomacy is in crisis. Missing are strong leadership, strategic direction, adequate coordination, sufficient resources, and a culture of measurement and evaluation. America's image problem, many suggest, is linked to perceptions of the United States as arrogant, hypocritical, and self-indulgent. There is agreement too that public diplomacy could be a powerful asset with stronger Presidential leadership, Congressional support, inter-agency coordination, partnership with the private sector, and resources (people, tools, structures, programs, funding). Solutions lie not in short term, manipulative public relations. Results will depend on fundamental transformation of strategic communication instruments and a sustained long term, approach at the level of ideas, cultures, and values.
Apart from taking the administration down many, many notches, the report seems to say in the last third of this passage is that the only way to accomplish anything at this point is to escalate to a level of national focus last seen in World War II. A complete effort utilizing much of our economic and industrial resources.
What was a marginal network is now an Ummah-wide (all of the Muslim world) movement of fighting groups. Not only has there been a proliferation of "terrorist" groups: the unifying context of a shared cause creates a sense of affiliation across the many cultural and sectarian boundaries that divide Islam. (parenthetical added)
There's a reason why the Middle East has been a third rail for many, many years. It's an ill-defined prospect. The worst thing we could've done was to have re-elected the one man least qualified to handle that state of affairs. A man without acumen for understanding the vast and deeply rooted complexities of the region. A man who interceded with nothing but the notion of one-upping the political and personal shortcomings of his father.In final days of the Civil War, General Lee had an opportunity to disperse the Confederate Army and send them off into the mountains from which they'd stage guerilla warfare against the United States. Sensibly, he refused. The reason he cited is that a guerilla war would go on and on, generation after generation.Refusing the lessons of history, the Bush regime has initiated an era of bottomless crisis by not planning for an insurgency (and by going to war in Iraq in the first place, but we know that).What we should know too is that history will associate our generation of Americans with these mistakes, like it or not. 60 million of us endorsed the lot of them. Write to your local paper of record and tell them now that not all of us endorsed this regime and its war.And if you're a Republican and you have some foreign policy experience, get your resume together. There's going to be some openings in the Defense Science Board.