|America'ssmiling face to the Muslim world?|
If the purpose of the junket is to "help people overseas understand our society"--and not to help Rauf raise the $100 million for his mosque--wouldn't it make sense to send someone representative of the vast majority of Americans who oppose the Ground Zero mosque? Perhaps the State Department could send someone--maybe Juan Williams or Rich Lowry or Abe Foxman or Bill McGurn or Neda Bolourchi or Sarah Palin or Rod Dreher or Christopher Caldwell or Bill Kristol--to explain to the people of the world that Americans aren't bigots but simply find it offensive and insensitive to build a mosque two blocks from the site of a horrific Islamist terrorist attack?
This is simply brain-dead.
The purpose of the trip is clearly to do the "soft power" work of making the United States seem, to Muslims abroad, like a nice place with nice people trying to make a nicer world. It only makes sense that the U.S. might send emissaries who can relate, culturally and linguistically, to the target audience -- it makes more sense, after all, than putting Karen Hughes in front of a crowd for the purpose of looking completely out of touch.
There's only on Muslim, Neda Boloruchi, on McCormack's list. Just about everybody else on the list tends to buy into the whole "clash of the civilizations" stuff that sees not radical fundamentalist jihadist Islam as the problem -- but Islam itself. Why in the hell would you send Bill Kristol to present America's smiling face to the Muslim world? I admire Rod Dreher in a lot of ways, but he's also the last person for the job.
My guess is that McCormack isn't serious. He can't possibly be. He's just engaged in some political point scoring, some "why don't they send a real American blah blah" stuff that goes down well with the sort of demagogery the Standard is indulging in these days, but which should never be mistaken for the thoughts of anybody who would ever have to be responsible for the fallout of their suggestions.