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The Road Map and the Garden Path (A TothePoint™ Report)

Friday, 20 June 2003 12:00 AM

To be “led down the garden path” is to be lured by subterfuge into a garden of seduction. The metaphor is of modern origin, with the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) revealing its first use in the 1920s. It denotes being misled, deceived, conned, seduced, hoodwinked. This is why the so-called Road Map for Arab-Israeli Peace should be called the Garden Path instead.

George Bush has been led down the Garden Path by the State Department. The entire “Road Map” enterprise is an ego trip by Foggy Bottom bureaucrats in the obsessively pro-Arab Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (BNEA).

Led by Assistant Secretary William Burns, the BNEA guys feel they have been shown up and humiliated by Rumsfeld’s Pentagon. They look upon the military victory in Iraq as their diplomatic failure. They are determined to have the geopolitical spotlight taken off Rummy and shine instead on whom it rightfully belongs: them.

Further, the BNEA crowd sees to it that in every State Department conference, in every closed-door briefing, the same mantra is always endlessly repeated: “Solving the Arab-Israeli conflict is the most important foreign policy issue in the world.”

So Burns constructed a con job and gave it a catchy name, the “Road Map,” dangled the shiniest bauble of all in front of GW, the prospect of a Nobel Peace Prize for achieving “Peace in the Middle East,” and led him into a garden of mirrors and nonsense.

As with any good seduction, it was done in a series of steps. The first was Burns assuring GW that he only had to give rhetorical support for the Road Map as an easy payback to the Saudis for the use of the Sultan Airbase for the War in Iraq.

Second was Burns giving in to GW’s demand that Arafat be excluded from any negotiations, that the PA (Palestinian Authority) come up with another leader with whom GW was willing to talk.

Third was to whip up frenzied support and coverage for the Road Map in every liberal media outlet on the globe. Overnight, it seemed, an irresistible momentum appeared, driving GW to summit with “Arab leaders” – a gaggle of unelected despots – and then force an honorable man desperately fighting for his country’s very existence, Ariel Sharon, into negotiating that existence away with terrorists who deny it.

Now that the Road Map has been predictably shredded by Hamas and GW suitably infuriated at how he was conned, Elliot Abrams (Mideast Adviser on the National Security Council) can sit down with the president (a copy of

With any luck, Elliot will be able to get his boss back on track, back on task with:

That would be a road map worth following.

Let’s hope Elliot is persuasive enough to receive presidential authorization for Obstacle Removal on Arab Democracy Road – namely reassigning the entire BNEA staff, Burns on down, to the embassies of Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali. It’s time for GW to lead these guys down a garden path to diplomatic oblivion.

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To be "led down the garden path" is to be lured by subterfuge into a garden of seduction.The metaphor is of modern origin, with the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) revealing its first use in the 1920s. It denotes being misled, deceived, conned, seduced, hoodwinked.This is...
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2003-00-20
Friday, 20 June 2003 12:00 AM
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