Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Who Needs Knowledge? I Reckon I Do!

Professor Todd Gitlin asked the question via TPMCafe building off Sunday's WaPo piece from Ahmed Rashid (image to the left) questioning Bu$hCo's "talent" on merely understanding Pakistan.

I will first give snaps to Dr. Gitlin for closing with:

I await ... Tim Russert's indignant question to Republican candidates, Will you pledge that the State Department will be staffed by people who have a clue about the countries they're in charge of?
His ending is great but to appreciate fully you perhaps need some background as to Tim Russert's most recent inanity. For more on this inanity check out Paul Waldman's recent American Prospect work. Oh mercy another book to add to my wish list it appears.

I suppose what I want to do with this post is once again lament, and also celebrate in some way, how long it takes to understand almost anything of substance. I am finally finishing Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? and admittedly I'm frustrated with how the right often gets to keep the simple stuff so simple for the simple. Yet isn't it great that we can track down ideas and resources so easily on the internets. More on that to follow.

The bottom line from all of this is that ...

Retired American officials say that, for the first time in U.S. history, nobody with serious Pakistan experience is working in the South Asia bureau of the State Department, on State's policy planning staff, on the National Security Council staff or even in Vice President Cheney's office.
It gets worse however in that ...
Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney's office.

Here we go again? Truly I expect few people with any real grasp on this area would want to work for these Mayberry Machiavellis. Especially with Dead Eye Dick ready to use the dark side of the force on anyone that crosses him.

I want to learn. I want to understand. And I want to share. Once again I understand why I am so attracted to the process of blogging. Peace ... or War!

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