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Condoleezza Rice, The Confidante

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Reporter Glen Kessler of The Washington Post has a new book about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called The Confidante set for release this week. I haven't read this book, which might have some worthwhile reporting in it, so this isn't a book review. However, this preview is already enough to make me want to slap the author.

For one thing, there's this quote: "She was one of the weakest national security advisors in US history. Her inexperience and her mistakes in that job have shaped the world and colored the choices she must handle as secretary of state."

That's a subjective judgment, and he's got a whole book in which he might make some reasonable points for taking such a dim view. But on the face of it, that just sounds pretty ridiculous – as if Carter's Zbigniew Brzezinski or Clinton's Anthony Lake had a better handle on controlling the world. Sure couldn't tell it on the basis of results. Mr Brzezinski has a blurb endorsing the book, picking up particularly on the supposed "absence of any coherent foreign policy vision." Hey, Carter and Brzezinski had a coherent foreign policy vision – that resulted in the mullahs gaining power in Iran and all that has brought us.

But right here's the money quote that has me wanting to put a boot in Mr Kessler's ass: "The invasion of Iraq, the missed opportunity with Iran, the breach in relations with Europe, the Arab anger at a perceived bias against the Palestinians — all of these problems were the direct result of decisions she helped make in the White House."

That right there has so many levels of stupidity impacted together as to defy easy description. Now, I don't know just how much of which Bush administration decisions were her doing. Also, there's certainly plenty of legitimate room to argue about the woulda, coulda, shouldas of Bush foreign policy. But this quote from Kessler pretty much lays the blame for every problem in the frickin' world at Rice's feet.

Sean Penn in Team AmericaSee, Iraq was doing fine until Condi and W came along and screwed it up for no obvious reason. This puts Kessler on about the level of Sean Penn in Team America carrying on about the rivers of chocolate and gumdrop smiles. What we had been doing in Iraq and the Middle East just wasn't working, for US or the Iraqi people. We're in a messy and expensive intervention that has gotten mixed results after four years, but anything the Bush administration did or didn't do was going to be wrong.

Every phrase of that Kessler quote brims with foolishness. "Arab anger at a perceived bias against the Palestinians" is Condoleezza Rice's fault? How about that it's the fault of Palestinian's for being monstrous barbarians. The Bush administration hasn't made enough of an effort to take their side of things? But they mostly don't have a legitimate side to take. Is it Kessler's contention that if Condi coddled the Palestinians better, there'd be less killing?

By his lights, the Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon in 2006 somehow represents a foreign policy failure by Rice. Also, the lack of progress in the supposed Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" apparently counts as her failure. How figure that as the fault of any American? Hey, I'm no fan of Bill Clinton or Madeleine Albright, but Arab barbarity isn't their fault either.

Alec Baldwin in Team AmericaWhat "missed opportunity with Iran" might there have been? Other than destroying them militarily, what exactly is it that we could do to dissuade those evil bastards from their brutal rogue ways? Did Clinton or Bush the elder or even the great Ronald Reagan have them under control? I think not. Oh wait – I know what we need: more diplomacy and dialogue with the Iranian regime.

Now, it's perfectly reasonable to hold the Bush administration responsible for missteps in the conduct of the Iraq invasion – though that would be more on Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld or Decider in Chief Bush, rather than Ms Rice at State. If we'd done this and that differently, maybe we'd have gotten different and better results.

But it's nonsense to blame any American for the hatefulness and barbarity of thousand year old conflicts on the other side of the world.

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  • moonraven

    Sounds like the author of the book in question did his homework, whereas the “author” of this silly rant did not–only threw spaghetti propaganda at the wall and prayed that it would stick.

    It didn’t.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Al asks rhetorically (he thinks) whether attempting diplomacy with the Iranian regime will do any good.

    How does he know it won’t? Has the Bush administration even tried?

    At all?

    So until then –

  • Baronius

    Doctor, I think it’s Kessler’s obligation to demonstrate that diplomacy would have worked with Iran. I don’t know if he does that in his book, but that’d be a heck of a feat if he does. Anyway, Brzezinski is the last guy I’d listen to about Iran.

  • section9

    Al has it pretty much on the ball.

    Kessler basically regurgitates the usual Known Facts of the Democratic Party against Rice, especially concerning Iran, without acknowledging the theocratic, fascist nature of the Iranian regime and its eliminationist policies towards the Jews. Further, he assumes that there have been no negotiations with the Iranians. That is hogwash. Rice has been negotiating with them since 2006; their answer was to incite the Israel-Hezbollah War.

    Liberals like Kessler assume Rice is at fault because she does not advocate that America wear a hair shirt and a “Kick Me” sign. She’s a Republican. Democrats do that. You know; like Brezezinski and his crowd during the Hostage Crisis?

  • bliffle

    Regardless, and avoiding the stampede of straw horses, it appears that Rice has never done anything remarkable, AND she managed to overlook the famous August 2001 report that said OBL was determined to attack in the USA.

    Her lack of initiative confirmed the opinion I formed of her when she worked here in the Stanford area: she’s a facile speaker and knows how to get the job but doesn’t know how to do it.

    I would love for events to prove me wrong because her decisions are important to my survival and welfare, but alas, she just keeps on stumbling through her responsibilities.

    In the end she just appears to me to be another of the incompetent yes-people that GWB has elevated to an undeserved position.

  • moonraven

    Wrong, she HAS done something remarkable: When folks were drowning in New Orleans she was buying an entire new wardrobe of Ferragamo shoes at the flagship store in New York.

    If that behavior is not worth remarking on, I would really shiver to see WHAT behavior WAS.

  • moonraven

    Baronius: It is NO ONE’s resposibility to demonstrate that diplomacy WOULD work with Iran (where do you get the would HAVE, BTW–has Cheney dropped the bomb on Tehran without telling us?).

    The responsibility is to ENGAGE in diplomacy, not threats and gringo bravado–and that is incumbent on the US government–not on the author of a book that you didn’t read but are taking to task anyway.

    This place has become fucking Through the Looking Glass.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Yes Moonraven, Republicans are Evil Incarnate. But what exactly was the Secretary of State supposed to do about Katrina? Was she supposed to launch a diplomatic effort with the almighty to stop an act of God? Is it that we were all morally required to be in sackcloth and ashes during the storm, lest someone think that life goes on even during natural disasters?

  • moonraven

    The trip to the ferragamo store was an act which showed a complete lack of:

    1. common sense

    2. common decency

    and that she thumbed her Aunt Jemima nose at all the OTHER african-americans who were dying in New Orleans,

    and that she did it with YOUR tax dollars, since YOU pay her salary.

    A firing squad is too good for people like her.

  • moonraven

    BTW, there is only one political party in the US–the Repubocrats–or the Demopublicans. This is not a partisan issue, but one of appropriate behavior.

    The cynical bitch Rice could have phoned in her fucking shoe order, or handled it by email with the store. But NO, she had to trot her ass in there in full public view and spend federal tax dollars while no money was getting to the seat of the disaster.

    Maybe you are too good for a firing squad, too, if you defend her behavior.

  • Clavos

    “The cynical bitch Rice…”

    “…she thumbed her Aunt Jemima nose…”

    Misogyny AND racism in just ONE afternoon.

    Well done!

  • Clavos

    “The trip to the ferragamo store was an act which showed a complete lack of:

    1. common sense

    2. common decency

    and that she thumbed her Aunt Jemima nose at all the OTHER african-americans who were dying in New Orleans,

    and that she did it with YOUR tax dollars, since YOU pay her salary.

    A firing squad is too good for people like her.”

    What arrant nonsense.

  • Baronius

    Al (#8) – Yeah, the Bureau of Indian Affairs didn’t do anything to help out in New Orleans either. Or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. What’s that about? I even heard that the superintendent of schools for Columbia SC stayed home with the flu!

  • moonraven

    Not racist nor misogynist, swamp creature. Wrong, as usual.

    Want me to recommend an ESL program for you in South Florida?

    Rice has CHOSEN the role of Toady to a Halfwit–that IS the Aunt Jemima role–I am tempted to say, in spades….and has sold out African-AmericanĀ“–especially the ones who DID live in New Orleans.

    If Ferragamo made shoes from African-American skin that bitch would order every pair.

  • Baronius

    Moon, that last comment was swampcreaturist.

    (Why am I doing this?)

  • Clavos

    If calling you a bitch is misogynistic, calling her one is, too.

    You describe her as an Aunt Jemima only because she IS black. If she were another race, you’d use another term.

    Ergo, it’s racist.

    Fish in a barrel.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    MR’s racism and sexism is pretty well established at this point. Having her come right out and use blatant slurs like ‘aunt jemima’ is not a big surprise.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    “But what exactly was the Secretary of State supposed to do about Katrina?”

    Well, for one thing there were millions of $$$ of relief pledged and committed by foreign nations (Kuwait put in $50million), so while the rest of the admin stood aside and let NOLA die she could have done some could in vetting the pledges and assuring that the money was properly directed. Since the GWB domestic admin just stood on the sidelines and watched.

    They could have used the help, too, because NOLA is having trouble getting the money and getting it to the right people.

    Oh, but I forgot. This is the USA STATE department which is long committed to NEVER serving the interests of mere citizens but only the interests of US businesses. they don’t really like grubby ordinary people.

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Bliffle, domestic disaster relief just ain’t the job of the State Department. She’s got bigger fish to fry, like trying to get a handle on the Iranians, and maybe more international co-operation in Iraq and stuff like that.

    Whereas, in the childish fantasies of some leftist types, everybody in the frickin’ government should stop everything else going on in the nation to personally Do Something about whatever little crisis is on the top of their personal little consciousness this week.

    I suppose Condi could have gone to NOLA and rented out a little boat to go personally rescuing people, like Sean Penn.

  • bliffle

    “..domestic disaster relief just ain’t the job of the State Department.”

    Apparently, in this administration, it’s nobodies job.

    Why do they try so hard to GET the job and then not DO it?

  • section9

    “Baronius: It is NO ONE’s resposibility to demonstrate that diplomacy WOULD work with Iran (where do you get the would HAVE, BTW–has Cheney dropped the bomb on Tehran without telling us?).

    The responsibility is to ENGAGE in diplomacy, not threats and gringo bravado–and that is incumbent on the US government–not on the author of a book that you didn’t read but are taking to task anyway.”

    ———————

    This is a huge, hideous army of straw men. Rice has been engaging in direct diplomacy with the Iranians since 2006. Assertions otherwise are transparent lies.

    The Iranians value the atomic bomb more than they value relations with the United States. What part of this don’t you get?

    For liberals, it is always America’s fault when some overseas fascist commits an offense. In that respect, liberals haven’t changed since the cold war.

  • bliffle

    “For liberals, it is always America’s fault…”

    Adding your own strawman to the horde, section?

    Awww, here I thought you were taking a stand against such spurious reasoning.

  • moonraven

    I really want to see that bitch get out there and FRY THOSE BIGGER FISH you fools are slavering on about.

    I believe they are only CATFISH.

    And if that Aunt Jemima phony can make a decent bowl of collard greens and some grits on the side, I will take it all back.

    Meanwhile, I believe she has had some nice handbags made from the skin of the Katrina victims–almost a perfect match with the stiletto(e)s.

    Lots of guys on this site are clearly into being dominated.