Headlined yesterday as "U.S. Agrees to Meeting with Iran and Syria," the WP's PostGlobal story by David Ignatius reported "The Bush administration has agreed to sit around a negotiating table with official representatives of Iran and Syria next month -- as part of a planned regional conference in Baghdad to discuss ways to stabilize Iraq."
Could it be?
Will it actually come to pass that the Bush administration subscribes to Lyndon Johnson's hortatory philosophy -- one he occasionally even implemented -- of "Come, let us reason together"?
Will these boys of stay-the-course fixation actually lunge from military futility to diplomatic possibilities?
Will they actually forego pigheadedness and, albeit kicking and screaming, permit a reasonable journey into the light, after months of disdaining so many thoughtful observers?
No doubt you noticed a lot of "actually"s in there, which no doubt are the actual rub. For when it comes to the incorrigible Bushies, nothing sensible ever goes without a deliberate hitch and considerable strain. Governing is a difficult business, and they're determined to make it as difficult as possible.
Naturally, "the Baghdad meeting doesn't signal a direct U.S. diplomatic engagement with Iran and Syria," continued the PostGlobal report. First, regional ambassadors and those representing U.N. Security Council powers will chat; then, maybe, things will move to the foreign minister level.
That's an important caveat -- meaning the Bush administration could first charge its man in Iraq with mucking things up; then, if not mucked up enough, it could move on to allowing its proven secretary of state to muck things up like they've never been mucked before, and have a cigarette afterwards. After all, she's an experienced professional at this.
According to one of the above's many underlings, "Iran and Syria haven’t formally agreed to attend the meeting, but 'they haven’t said no,'" either.
Wouldn't it be juicy if, say, Iran agreed to negotiate, but only after the Bush administration stops testing its mighty arsenal of inveterate fatuousness?
But let us not start by demanding the moon. Let us remain wise, and, unlike the neocons, accept that which we cannot change.
Still, can it be that there's some crack in the Bushies' steely weltanschauung; that they are actually thinking the heretofore unthinkable?
The PostGlobal piece was written with insider sobriety, so by all appearances that would seem to be the case. But reason has nearly always slipped through the cracks of this administration, leaving one not unreasonably dubious about any actual cause for hope.
Besides, more in keeping with cautious sobriety, the piece also noted -- in an almost otherwise out-of-place footnote -- that "the bombs continue to explode in Baghdad."