India and Pakistan are at loggerheads, Afghanistan is a narco-state, and the Middle East is almost unspeakably troubled—so how did George W. Bush's diplomatic team see off their president? With yesterday's "Ceremony to Commemorate Foreign Policy Achievements," a State Department lovefest complete with billowing flags and commemorative plaques. As Dana Milbank of the Washington Post notes, the lack of actual achievements kept the ceremony short, but there was no shortage of adulation.
Condoleezza Rice presented Bush with a plaque, revealed with a flourish when a military aide pulled back a curtain. Not enough? The secretary of state then gave Bush another plaque—saying, "This one shows what you have done to expand the circle of human freedom in the world"—along with a "Certificate of Appreciation" for the first lady, and five flags "in nifty triangular boxes." Condi herself went home empty-handed, though not without this last bit of praise from her boss: "She's like my sister."