And while we’re at it, no, we’re not making this up. This really is a real life example of your tax dollars at work:
The State Department wants to plunk down $400,000 in taxpayer money for a camel sculpture at the new U.S. Embassy being built in Islamabad, Pakistan, according to a report Monday.
“Camel Contemplating Needle,” created by American artist John Baldessari, depicts a 500-pound white camel made of fiberglass staring at the eye of an oversized needle, Buzzfeedfirst reported.
Officials explained the decision to purchase the sculpture in a four-page document justifying a “sole source” procurement.
“This artist’s product is uniquely qualified,” the document states. “Public art which will be presented in the new embassy should reflect the values of a predominantly Islamist country.”
Follow this link to see the Napa Valley version of “Camel Contemplating a Needle”.
Now, here’s where we can point out how incredibly stupid the people who work in the U.S. State Department can be. We were particularly curious as to what exactly a camel might symbolize in a predominantly Islamist country like Pakistan, so we did a quick Google search to find out.
It seems that just over a year ago, the Electoral Commission of Pakistan allotted a number of representative symbols to each of Pakistan’s political parties for the country’s general elections – kind of like how the Democratic Party in the U.S. is often represented by the symbol of a donkey and the Republican Party is represented by a symbol of an elephant.
It turns out that the symbol of a camel was assigned to Pakistan’s Balochistan National Party, which the country’s central government favors against separatist elements in the Balochistan province, who have fought to break away from the control of Pakistan’s central government.
By placing the $400,000 “inspirational” fiberglass statue of a camel on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, the U.S. State Department would effectively be perceived as endorsing the Pakistan central government-supported Balochistan National Party. Because what could possibly go wrong for U.S. interests in Pakistan if it thoughtlessly appears to have taken a side in a long-running political conflict that has frequently been characterized by volatility and violence?
We’re pretty sure that this isn’t the most stupid thing that the U.S. State Department has proposed doing with taxpayer dollars, but we’re pretty sure it ranks pretty high on the list, right after similar exercises of “smart power” and perhaps the all-time classic: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mislabeled “Reset” button, meant to symbolize a new, friendlier relationship with the expansionist nation, but which when correctly translated from Russian, really said “overcharged”.
Why yes, the American people most certainly were for that boondoggle....
We did say we weren’t making any of this stuff up, right?