The Corner

Bulk-Ordering While Rome Burns

The dwindling band of federal taxpayers will be heartened to discover that its hard-earned dollars are not merely being sluiced to green start-ups to build unwanted eco-cars in Finland or used to buy guns for Mexican drug cartels to kill large numbers of people. They’re also being deployed to stimulate the publishing industry by purchasing huge numbers of the president’s books at public expense to give away to all the new friends America has around the world. From the Washington Times:

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt, for instance, spent $28,636 in August 2009 for copies of Mr. Obama’s best-selling 1995 memoir. Six weeks earlier, the embassy had placed another order for the same book for more than $9,000, federal purchasing records show.

So the U.S. Embassy in Cairo spent $38,000 on Dreams From My Father?

The hardback edition retails for $25.95. For an order that size, let’s assume the State Department got a trade discount of 50 per cent, and each copy cost $12.98. Can it really be the case that the American ambassador knew 2,927 Egyptians panting for a freebie of the president’s book?

What proportion went to Mubarak cronies now reading it in jail? And how many went to Muslim Brotherhood aficionados who find it comes in handy to thwack Copts with?

Given that the Defense Department’s bulk purchase of the fraudulent Three Cups Of Tea doesn’t seem to be doing much for the Afghan campaign, maybe the Pentagon could buy $38,000 worth of Dreams From My Father and drop it on Mullah Omar.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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