THE SPINE NOVEMBER 1, 2007
Karen Hughes is gone.The first question to ask: will anyone notice?It's not that she accomplished anything. That is, she accomplished nothing. But her assigned task was to change how the world feels about the U.S.Ms. Hughes contrived that to mean she was a strategist. If only the Senate had known, it would never have confirmed her. So she had ideas: the first, predictably, was to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I, for one, can't grasp how that would ease hostility against America in Afghanistan or Pakistan -- unless one assumes that all those angry men on the streets carry Palestine in their hearts. And what about the rancor in South America against the U.S.? Are Senor Chavez's multitudes also angered that Jews are in their holy places?So we come to Iraq. Hughes told the Wall Street Journal that "negative events never help." Very sage. The Blackwater shoot-up in Iraq didn't help. Why, that overwhelms the quotidian suicide bombings. And her own overestimating the number of Iraqis murdered with poison gas by Saddam didn't help also. Oh, if only she had been accurate, keeping the kill rate to 200,000 not at 300,000. The Muslim masses want the under-secretary of state for p.r. to be very precise. There is no hyperbole in their political culture.In any case, these are her results: nothing. Even though four times as many p.r. folk who speak Arabic were dispatched to do interviews than before she took her post. With whom will we replace her?