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Perils of Nation Building by... The Heritage Foundation?

Al Kamen of the Washington Post, in his In The Loop column, writes about an email he received from the arch-conservative Heritage Foundation warning of, get this, the perils of "top down" nation building:

This e-mail came in Tuesday from the conservative Heritage Foundation:

HL 900 - Lawrence of Arabia and the Perils of State Building

Dear Colleagues:

The following Heritage Lecture is now available on line: "Lawrence of Arabia and the Perils of State Building" by John Hulsman, Ph.D.

The experience of T. E. Lawrence in the early 20th century teaches that state building should always be approached from the bottom up, never from the top down; local elites must be stakeholders in the process, far more than people in faraway Washington, and policymakers must understand the history and culture of the region.

Why didn't anyone mention this before?

Of course, the catch-22 here is, if the Bush administration had been smart enough to do nation building properly, they would've been smart enough to not invade Iraq in the first place.

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The operative word here is "smart". Bushco would be lucky to be called "Dumb and Stupid" and actually their actions are an insult to those two words. We can only hope that this lack of "smarts" ultimately leads to their downfall.

... isn't so much bottom up "state building", although he certainly had considerable success in acting as an "adviser" to existing Arab leadership. The real lesson, for Lawrence himself as well as for others, was and is imperial duplicity.

In that context, the AIPAC-PNAC gang might have a few things to learn about not publicizing aims and plans too widely. On the other hand, they take a back seat to no one when it comes to duplicitousness itself.

Shhhh! One thing about these guys is that they're so arrogant they don't realize that their plans might seem off base to some people (well, OK, maybe more like fascist, apocalyptic, totally devoid of respect for life of any kind, etc.) As long as they keep publishing at least we know what they're thinking -- don't give them any ideas!

Meanwhile, I just got myself a job helping to discretely build these wonderful new detention centers out in America's wilderness. It's a job with a future, don't 'cha know? Our goal is to double the number of facilities to 1200 by the 2006 elections. They're really quite nicely decorated, using the latest barb wire/electric fence technologies, and can easily hold 4000 evildoers each -- double that if pressed. I am assured they will only be used if the elections appear to be spinning out of control.

I can't wait to see what the US history books will have to say about this period, assuming I make it through: "Like the great Ronald Reagan, George Bush singlehandedly brought the evildoers to their knees and made the world once again safe for time honored interrogation techniques."

Gawd! Where's my BP medicine?

"imperial duplicity"? I'm shocked.. shocked I tell you ;)

Ben in DC

“For many years I have felt that the situation in the Middle East was very nearly hopeless. The fundamental problem for us is that we have lost our freedom of action an the Middle East and are committed to policies that promote neither our own national interest nor the cause of peace. AIPAC (the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) and its allied organizations have effective working control of the electoral process. They can elector defeat nearly any congressman or senator that they wush, with their money and coordinated organization.

For those who may be interested in learning more about the imperial aftermath of "Lawrence of Arabia" and about the history of perfidy and betrayal giving rise to Middle East turmoil generally, there's a pretty good summary by Dr. Robert John at American Free Press.

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