The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, January 18, 2007  

Anyone Home at State to Listen?

Former President Jimmy Carter is on the op-ed page of today's Washington Post with a thoughtful essay, A New Chance for Peace?

I know it's fashionable these days, on the right, left, and center, to bash Carter, but you've got to give the man credit for daring to raise issues that Americans with narrow, even mainstream-ish, reading lists are unlikely to be exposed to. He's hardly a radical and certainly no crank, quite unlike the neocons who dominate the nation's discourse on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Martin Peretz's paranoia, delusions, and hyperventilating notwithstanding, he's plainly not an anti-Semite.

(By the way, I'm about half-way through Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which is far better -- and more reasonable -- than you probably have been led to expect.)

I hope someone in the State Department took at least a cursory glance at Carter's article. On the subject of State, did anyone else think it was a little embarrassing, ridiculous even, that the media was enthusiastically promoting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's latest junket to the Middle East as a "fact-finding tour"? I mean, really, it's 2007, and she's just now doing fact-finding tours? What, does she have a book report due next week?

Meanwhile, what's going on at the State Department anyway? Anything? There are plenty of empty offices at the assistant secretary level these days, with no clear indication of when the seats might be filled. Of course, sitting there these days is tantamount to career suicide, but that's another story.

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