Karen Hughes – Texas Missionary

"Hughes said her remarks were part of a U.S. policy of "slowly advancing ideas" with the Saudis. "My job is to raise issues in, I hope, a respectful way, to help other countries understand concerns Americans have," she said.

During a meeting with top Saudi editors, Hughes pointedly noted that the United States was concerned that inflammatory literature intolerant of other religions and traced to the Saudi government had been found in American mosques. Hughes pressed the government to help "find room to respect people of different faiths and different faith traditions."

Hughes added that Americans were upset that Muslim clerics did not immediately condemn the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. She urged Saudis "to speak out and be very vocal" when "you have someone committing these acts in the name of your faith.""  Washpost

Interesting.  I assumed that Hughes saw her "job" as a PR effort to explain the US and its policies to the the Arab and Islamic Worlds.  That would a normal diplomatic function.  But, from what she has said in Egypt and Saudi Arabia it appears that she believes she has been sent forth to change the behavior and culture of these countries by "jaw-boning" them into seeing the error of their ancient ways.  A belief in the possibility of success in that endeavor could only be described as breathtaking in its arrogance and ignorance. 

Islamic culture has existed in a state of internal tension between tradition and modernism ever since its emergence in the Seventh Century of the Common Era.  In every age there have been "reformers" who sought to adapt Islamic practise to what they saw as the need to re-interpret doctrine to fit changing circumstance.  A long list of those variously condemned as heretics, apostates or outright unbelievers because they pursued such goals would be easy to produce.  It would be a long list extending in time over many, many centuries.

The religion, especially in its Sunni (majority) form is remarkably resistant to change.  In Arabic the word for innovation and the word for heresy are the same word (bida’).  Perhaps that should tell us something.

Upon reflection, it is easy to see that the assignment of this Texas politician to the task of "converting" Islam and the culture of the Arabs into something that will "fit in" in Houston or Fort Worth is part and parcel of the administration’s understanding of the world.

After all, these are the same people (with Jacobin reinforcements) who believed that Iraqis were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Western troops in order to throw off old, outmoded ways, embrace such ideas as "one man, one vote" and essentially become US.

Incredible.  I wonder how long it will be until Hughes follows Beers and Tutwiler into oblivion.

Pat Lang


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9 Responses to Karen Hughes – Texas Missionary

  1. Pat, I have a couple of questions for you. Do you believe the DoD is reading the correct books? Do they read AND understand Eurabia, Jihad by Fregosi, the Legacy of Jihda by Bostom (releasing soon, I have read previews), anything by Robert Spencer, Sperry’s Infiltration? I ask this because the actions of this Administration tell me they are only reading Esposito and Armstrong. And finally, one of the first rules of war is ‘know your enemy.’ By choosing not to study Islam and its 1400 year history, they embarked on this Iraq strategy. Then the second rule ‘divide and conquer’ or more correctly ‘divide and weaken’ was ignored. Why is internecine conflist in the Islamist world bad? Shouldn’t we have them fight each other and waste their treasury RATHER than have us sacrifice our brave soldiers and squander our treasury trying to overlay a veneer of ‘democracy’ over Islam. Even if this democracy experiment works, Islam will only retreat into weak jihad that the West will call ‘peace’ only to have strong jihad rise and destroy democracy some time in the future?
    Jihad is the natural state of Islam. Democracry and promoting secular principles of equality are unnatural to Islam.
    Hugh Fitzgerald, who comments and sometimes writes articles at JihadWatch, has proposed this strategy (‘let ’em fight each other rather than be fighting the infidels’) as the best strategy and I agree.

  2. searp says:

    I think Hughes’ appointment serves a domestic political purpose. A confidant of the President is in charge of public diplomacy to the Middle East, and that is supposed to tell us that he is serious about public diplomacy to the Middle East.
    Her ability to actually catalyze change? Nil, the substance is all Rice….

  3. Some Guy says:

    searp, I agree. She is news bait for U.S. audiences. If she actually thinks she is going to make a difference, she is truly a fool.
    My sense is that U.S. coverage of her has been pretty weak but not breathless, meaning reports do not contextualize the size of the windmill she is supposedly trying to tilt but they do not present a sense of “and so that is a good idea!” either.
    I do not watch FOX so all bets are off on what they “think.”

  4. J says:

    not only saudis are irate with hughes, but turks as well. all hughes is doing is inflaming the mideast even more than it already is. hughes has no business over there, as a “u.s. official representative” that is. geez
    Turkish Women Blast Karen Hughes With Iraq War Criticism

  5. ked says:

    Proselytize is more like it. Script updated right out of the Empire’s “white man’s burden” 19th century colonial policy, with some severe country schoolmarm thrown in. If only we could move into the 20th century.

  6. Pat Lang says:

    THey don’t talk to me anymore so I don’t know what they read but it can’t be much.
    I don’t do much general reading on the region/culture anymore. I look things up a lot. I recently obtained a CD ROM copy of the Encyclopedia of Islam which I find fascinating.

  7. Pat Lang says:

    There were a few intereting colonials. The guys in Jordan, (Peake, Glubb, Kirkbride, etc.) were interesting. In India a whole tribe of Indian Army officers make an interesting cast. See John Masters’ autobiography “Bugles and a Tiger.”
    I agree that this school-marmish baloney is really destructive. When you tell a Muslim that you are a person of faith, and then tell him how he should change his life he will inevitably think this is proselytization which they don’t like since they think they should be proselytizing US. pl

  8. Michael Murry says:

    During the 2000 presidential campaign, Al Gore had this media advisor named Chris Lehane, I believe. Like all such types he preached “staying on message,” which meant, of course, saying the same damn thing over and over again in “answer” to whatever “question” someone might choose to ask. I recall one frustrated reporter saying that he sure didn’t want Al Gore to win because then the country would have to endure at least four years of Chris Lehane and his infuriating “robot speak.”
    Then came George W. Bush and his media advisor Karen Hughes, who has made Chris Lehane look like a sophisticated cocktail party raconteur by comparison. Now, even that bow-tied, irritating little twerp of a “conservative” commentator, Tucker Carlson, gnashes his teeth and rails against her mindlessly repetitive “Orwellian Rap.”
    Anyway, Hughes hasn’t gone to the Middle East to sell Middle Easterners anything. She has gone to the Middle East to sell Middle Americans (who vote in American elections) an imgage of herself “defending” George W. Bush and the “American Way” against our “enemies” in the Muslim world who “hate our freedom.” Since Pat Lang has devoted (or at least subtitled) this website to “media management” issues affecting our country, I think it only reasonable to keep in mind that — in all things — the Bush administration has subsumed policy to propaganda, with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove among the most influential propagandists. I don’t think we should ever forget this for a moment.
    I don’t want to make a master’s degree thesis out of this posting, but I do think we need to remember what Mark McKinnon (another of Bush’s senior media advisors) famously boasted to Ron Suskind in a now-canonical New York Times Magazine interview (see: “Without a Doubt,” Oct. 17, 2004.) The money quote:
    “You think he [Bush] is an idiot, don’t you?” … “No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don’t care. You see, you’re outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don’t read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he [Bush] walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it’s good for us. Because you know what those folks don’t like? They don’t like you!”
    Longtime BBC commentator John Humphrys understands this commercially influenced Bush (and Blair) media manipulation perfectly. In a finely written new book called “Lost for Words: the Mangling and Manipulation of the English Language” he says about these CEO-guru-speak political marketing men:
    “They too use language to manipulate, but it has nothing to do with argument. Words are used — if they are used at all — to conjure up moods, images and subconscious associations in order to sell. The intention is not to persuade us through convincing argument, or even to appeal to our passions. It is to subvert our emotions so that we submit to the message, only half aware that we have done so.”
    Karen Hughes has labored for years teaching George W. Bush to “catapault the propaganda” and to “say things over and over again until the truth sinks in.” Practically the entire American bureaucracy now does little but produce unwavering pictures of a man not wavering; unshakeable images of a man not shaking. Posed heroically before captive military wallpaper, the “commander in chief” sends forth his legions and ambassadors to keep Middle Americans safe from those coastal, newspaper-reading liberals at home and those “freedom-hating terrorists” abroad.
    Scripted, vetted “news” film of The Crusade at 11:00.

  9. Dan says:

    I don’t have much to add. But given the content of the response above, i think you might enjoy this: http://www.xroadsfilms.com/batescomedycentral/
    Harlan Mcraney is the real power behind the throne!

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