Awarding Mediocrity

You know, that's too generous. How about awarding the clueless and just plain wrong?

BusinessWire:

The White House has announced that President George W. Bush will present the Hoover Institution with a National Humanities Medal at the official awards ceremony in the Oval Office ceremony tomorrow. [..]

Joining Hoover as winners of National Humanities Medals in 2006 are Fouad Ajami, Middle Eastern studies scholar, Washington, District of Columbia[..] Bernard Lewis, Middle Eastern studies scholar, Princeton, New Jersey

[..]The National Humanities Medal, first awarded in 1989 as the Charles Frankel Prize, honors individuals and organizations whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand America's access to important humanities resources.

There are others who received this award as well, but I wanted to focus on Lewis and Ajami. Not familiar with their names?

Bernard Lewis, by many accounts, is considered the foremost expert on the Middle East in the country. He is also an Armenian genocide denier, claimed that Europe would be taken over by Muslims, and best of all, announced that the world would end on August 22, 2006 by some nuclear attack by Iran. His work is largely responsible for the "they hate us for our freedoms " talking point.

Ajami is a Lebanese-born Islamic scholar who has said that the "intellectual output of Arabs for the past 800 years has been "dead stuff written in a dead language". He is also a very vocal supporter of Ahmad Chalabi and the Bush Administration's neo-con policies. It was he that said Iraqis would "erupt with joy" at being liberated that Cheney famously touted.

That's right. These "experts"--who have been disastrously wrong in all their predictions -- relied upon and quoted by the Bush Administration to further their agenda in Iraq, have been awarded a medal for "deepening the nation's understanding of humanities." I truly believe that getting a medal from this administration is akin to admitting that you are a failure.


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