Monday, January 09, 2006
Caring Spy-Kids Key to Capturing Killers
On January 5th President Bush addressed over one hundred College and University Presidents attending a two-day State Department conference.
Demonstrating the usual keen grasp of his audience and their issues he unveiled to them a new proposal to expand the number of foreign languages being taught in public schools—which quite by chance had nothing to do with the conference’s agenda (a discussion of foreign student enrollment and visa issues).
Bush explained his new proposal in language appropriate to his distinguished yet baffled guests:
"In order to convince people we care about them, we've got to understand their culture and show them we care about their culture. You know, when somebody comes to me and speaks Texan, I know they appreciate the Texas culture. When somebody takes time to figure out how to speak Arabic, it means they're interested in somebody else's culture."
Now who would know more about caring for people and understanding other cultures than President Bush? Who the heck doesn’t appreciate Texas? And who the heck doesn’t want to speak Texan for gosh sake? And you just gotta admire anyone who can figure out how to speak Arabic—it involves a lot of phlegm, like French, and when you do figure it out it means you are interested in somebody else’s culture.
For instance, if you were interested in the culture of Texas, well figuring out Arabic would be a good start because Texan and Arabic culture is all about oil and whose God is the One True God (I’ll leave you intellectual types to figure that one out but be careful, it’s a trick question!).
So what’s the title of this multicultural "caring" language program? Why, the "National Security Language Initiative" of course!
F’rinstance let’s say you got a message about an attack being planned on the United States. Well if you cared about something like that, but it was in Arabic you’d want to know what that message meant, wouldn’t you? You‘d want to care about a culture that wanted to attack you because it hated your freedom. So you’d want to recruit (according to Bush); "intelligence officers who, when somebody says something in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu, know what they're talking about."
As opposed to the other type of intelligence officer intercepting Arabic, Farsi or Urdu communications that only speaks Texan—even though they might be doing a heck of a job.
So who will be heading the National Security Language Initiative? Perhaps someone from the State Department or the DHS?
The decision hasn’t been made yet but the big money is on Margaret Spellings who has been doing a heck of a job as Education Secretary—and why not?
Spellings herself said in an interview that efforts to teach such languages as Chinese and Arabic to children as young as five were brand new, adding "We don't know how to do it. This whole notion is in its infancy (sic). But our hope is this is a start, and we can build on it."
So today’s five-year olds will join the ranks of the CIA, the NSA, the DoD and the FBI by 2023; using their ‘caring interest’ in other peoples’ cultures to ensure our continued national security. And god knows we’ll need them, because the evildoers will be training their five year-olds too (oh yes… evildoers have kids too). But even before then we’ll have begun training three-year olds and who knows…maybe even stem cells might one day become intelligence analysts?
By proposing this initiative President Bush has once again shown himself to be a visionary, a man of ideas and a man of action. A man who rises above mundane realities, looks to the horizon and if he squints real hard sees endless, fuzzy possibilities.
Thank you, and May God Be-Less American!
(Thanks to Michael Janofsky NY Times Online, January 6th for the basis of this article).