28 September 2005

And why is Karen Hughes in this job again???

As Karen Hughes, the US soccor mom, made her first trip to the Arab world to mend US image and relations there, she was met by a chilling response.

The response on Tuesday was not what she and her aides expected. When Ms. Hughes expressed the hope here that Saudi women would be able to drive and "fully participate in society" much as they do in her country, many challenged her.

"The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy," one audience member said. "Well, we're all pretty happy." The room, full of students, faculty members and some professionals, resounded with applause.

The administration's efforts to publicize American ideals in the Muslim world have often run into such resistance. For that reason, Ms. Hughes, who is considered one of the administration's most scripted and careful members, was hired specifically for the task.

Many in this region say they resent the American assumption that, given the chance, everyone would live like Americans.

So explain why we sent someone with no experience or education or understanding in Arab affairs, history, or culture to try and sell Muslims on the virture of America? Was everyone else busy? Are there no Middle Eastern studies scholars available to take on the task?

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