by Patrick Lang (bio below)

I have been careful not to say that anyone ever lied about any of this Iraq business in the Bush Administration or nearby in the “Bushes” (as the Rev would say). I have done so because I do not KNOW that they did, and because I think that a massively delusive disconnect from reality is the more likely explanation for their statements.

Politically, some of these statements are interesting, as are the boringly easy way that they are “taken up” by the press and repeated over and over ad nauseum. Perhaps you remember the “mantra” before the January election. “Iraq’s first ever democratic election.” was the “drift.” Interesting statement this, because Iraqis voted in parliamentary elections for the Ottoman Parliament in Istanbul when they were part of the empire and then voted for 35 years more or less for parliamentary representatives under the Hashemite Constitution from the twenties to the late fifties. the press finally “tumbled” to the truth in this matter and began saying that it was the first democratic election “in 35 years,” but it took a while. Was all this a deliberate falsehood? I don’t know and so will not say so, besides, as I said before, self delusion and group-think are satisfactory explanations.

Now we have administration spokespersons like Dr. Rice making peripatetic appearances on the Sunday Newsies to tell us that the government produced by these last elections will be the only constitutional and democratic government in the Arab World.


If that is so, then why were we so thrilled with the prospects of elections in Iran a while back? Why did Rice and K. Hughes spend so much time in Egypt seeking to influence the process there in the recent election? If the process was seen to be utterly corrupt and without merit as an exercise in Democracy then why did we lend credence to it by participating in the grand “dog and pony show” which preceded the election. What’s the deal? It seems that we only complain of election processes when the results are not what “we” want.

We claim to have friends among the governments and politicians of the Middle East. We went to a lot of trouble to advance the cause advocated by Saad Hariri in Lebanon in their last parliamentary election. We also seem to be fairly happy with the result. Do we not believe that the election was constitutional and democratic and that the government that resulted was legitimate. If we do not, then we are sponsors of an undemocratic government.

What about Jordan. King Abdullah’s little country has a parliament. It has two houses and at times in the past members have been elected who did not please the king in their politics. When will we begin to harass the Hashemite Kingdom with accusations of tyranny and illegitimacy? Never, I hope.

Hypocrisy? You bet.

Col. Patrick W. Lang (Ret.), a highly decorated retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, served as “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. Col. Lang was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. For his service in the DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (interview), CNN and Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room (interview), PBS’s Newshour, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” (interview), and more .

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Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2

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