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TURNING FOGGY BOTTOM ORANGE

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The release of UN investigator David Mehlis’ report last week on the assassination last February of Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri has all the Middle East FSOs (foreign service officers) at the State Department in a tizzy.

The report, with irrefutable evidence, points an accusatory finger at the government of Syria. Finally, my two favorite words in the Dictionary of Geopolitics, the same words that give FSOs anxiety attacks and fainting spells, are being whispered in the halls of the seventh floor at Foggy Bottom – the words regime change.

You’ve got to get inside an FSOs brain (it’s not a pretty sight) to grasp how offensive these words are to them. They are “professionals,” you see, who look upon diplomats from other governments, no matter how repulsive a government may be, as colleagues in the same profession. Their business is negotiating with these governments, and they recoil from the suggestion that they cease negotiating and destabilize a regime instead – recoil with the same disgust as a Moslem given a ham sandwich for lunch.

As “professionals,” State Department diplomats advocate a rigid moral neutrality regarding the governments of the world. If a government is diplomatically recognized by the US, then ipso facto it is legitimate, morally and diplomatically. There is no difference for the FSOs between Australia, Brazil, or Italy, and Zimbabwe, Belarus, or Syria. The pinstripes may prattle banalities about democracy, but never will they utter the taboo-word illegitimate.

Further and worse, they – unelected bureaucrats – look upon their elected and appointed bosses as transitory amateurs. Presidents and Secretaries of State come and go, while they stay permanently as a professional elite. There is no democracy in the State Department.

This is why Condi Rice is doing her best to create a “democratic revolution” within the State Department – just as Porter Goss is trying to do at the CIA. They have teamed up to overcome the entrenched left-wing anti-democracy collusion between the Foggy Bottom and Langley bureaucracies. Syria, with the Mehlis report, is their golden opportunity to do so.

Finally. The Mehlis report was issued last Friday, October 21. The original version named Assef Shawkat as the organizer of Hariri’s killing. You learned that name two days after the assassination, instead of eight months. Hariri was hit on February 14. Two days later, in Can Porter Turn Syria Orange? published in To The Point on February 16, you read:

The hit was conducted by a Lebanese unit of Syria’s Shu’bat al-Mukhabarat al-‘Askariyya, Military Intelligence Service, on the orders of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat.

Condi now get to drag her FSOs kicking and screaming into advocating and working for – yes, they’ll be forced to say it – regime change in Syria.

For she, and the president, have realized that there can be no peace in Iraq without regime change in Syria. Fomenting a Ukraine-type democratic “orange” revolution is now on the front burner. But to do so, Condi will first have to turn Foggy Bottom orange. Just in time for Halloween.