A couple of years back, I went to hear Paul Wolfowitz. I knew him only by reputation - the most sinister of all the neocons, the big bad Wolfowitz, the man whose name started with a scary animal and ended Jewishly. In fact, he was a very soft-spoken chap, who compared the challenges of the Middle East with America's experiments in democracy-spreading after the second world war. He said he thought it would take less time than Japan, and maybe something closer to the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe. I would have scoffed, but he knew so many Iraqis by name - not just Ahmed Chalabi, but a ton of others.
Around the same time, I bumped into Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister and man of letters. He was just back from Egypt, where he'd been profoundly moved when he'd been asked to convey the gratitude of the Arab people to President Chirac for working so tirelessly to prevent a tragic war between Christianity and Islam. You don't say, I said. And, just as a matter of interest, who asked you to convey that? He hemmed and hawed and eventually said it was President Mubarak. Being a polite sort, I rolled my eyes only metaphorically, but decided as a long-term proposition I'd bet Wolfowitz's address book of real people against Villepin's hotline to over-the-hill dictators. The lesson of these last weeks is that it turns out Washington's Zionists know the Arab people a lot better than Europe's Arabists.
Isn't it odd that the people who purport to be able to see past the smoke and mirrors that are the Bush Administration don't have that power when confronted with European statesmen and Wahabbist lunatics? Why do Chirac, Putin and Schroeder always get taken at their word by lefties, while the "evil neocons" of the Bush administration get every word picked apart for hidden meaning?
I bet you already know the answer to that. And it's about time we all stopped paying attention to those who have dragged their feet every step of the progress coalition soldiers are paying for with their lives.