(Ed. Note: I'm not making this up...)
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Turkey, urged the Turkish government to quickly wrap up its recently begun military operations in Northern Iraq and move to open diplomatic channels in an effort to resolve the conflict between the neighboring countries.
Gates, who in 2006 succeeded Donald Rumsfeld as the military's highest ranking civilian, will meet on Thursday with Turkish leaders to discuss the escalating crisis between Turkey and Kurdish rebels operating out of Iraq's northernmost province of Kurdistan. At Wednesday's press conference, Gates began to lay out the United States' expectations for Turkey's future actions.
"It's very important that the Turks make this operation as short as possible and then leave, and to be mindful of Iraqi sovereignty," Gates told reporters, going on to add "I measure quick in terms of days, a week or two, something like that. Not months."
The Defense Secretary also added "There certainly is a place for security operations but these also need to be accompanied by economic and political initiatives...," and set a stern warning for Turkey by concluding "Military activity alone will not solve this terrorist problem for Turkey."
Eyewitness reports, including photographic evidence, conclude that Gates was able to maintain a straight face throughout the press conference, not once even cracking a smile.
Herein lies the quintessential example of the arrogance and indifference that embodies the Bush administration. It seems that at no point during the preparation of these remarks, did any staffer, advisor, or even Gates himself stop to think "Maybe we should avoid the topic of timetables, that's kind of a sticky topic in this neck of the woods," or "Does it somehow seem strange that I am advocating diplomacy between two parties between whom there is a longstanding history of physical violence, and all the while the nation I am here to represent is currently engaged in an illegal, unjust and immoral war that was initiated, in part, by the side stepping any form of diplomacy whatsoever?" Of course, if these questions were raised, they were quickly cast aside, in much the same manner as has been any shred of reason or decency in this administration.
In the Bush administration, it seems, there is no questioning yourself, there is no fact checking, there is no apathy. These traits are instead replaced by blind ambition, with the accent on 'blind."
What is most unfortunate about this latest series of events, is that one almost gets the feeling that the United States is looking forward to plying the tactics of its unique brand of diplomacy upon Turkey. Sadly, though, it seems the only preparation that goes into these diplomatic ventures, like the meeting scheduled to occur on Thursday between Secretary Gates and his Turkish counterparts, consists of an American diplomat standing in front of a mirror, practicing their best "Did I stutter?"