Surrealpolitic for surreal times.: Recipe for Failure? Just add Rice!

10.05.2006

Recipe for Failure? Just add Rice!

Anyone can have a stretch of bad luck. Anyone can face terrible adversity that sets them back. Anyone can lose. More than once. I have sympathy for those people. People who keep getting out there and trying despite the odds and who get better at what they do until one day they're ready to face any challenge. And then there are those people who simply don't learn and whose mistakes, the same ones over and over, get innocent people killed. They don't resign, they don't apologize and, oddly, they don't even seem to care. I am, of course, speaking of Dr. Condeleeza Rice, the Administration's longest running failure.

Let us begin with the unpleasantness surrounding September 11th where she held the position of National Security Advisor. One of the many responsibilities of this position is to take all the collected data and prioritize them for the President. For instance, if the Chair of the Counter-Terrorism Security Group tells you in January that Al Qaeda "... is not some narrow, little terrorist issue ... Rather, several of our regional policies need to address centrally the ... challenge to the US..." make sure the President knows. Also, if in July of that same year the CIA Director briefs you on a looming terrorist attack from the same group, maybe you want to let someone know. Anyone. Tell a police officer if you're not sure. As the National Security Advisor you can probably get someone to listen. Instead, according Bob Woodward in his latest Washington tell all, State of Denial he claims that then CIA director, George Tenet, told Dr. Rice of such a plot and that he was "brushed off".

Let us also remember her pitiful appearance in front of the 9/11 Commission in which she continually informed the American public that there was "absolutely no way anyone could have known that such an attack was going to happen." So who told then Attorney General John Ashcroft almost a month before the attacks to stop using commercial flights? In July 2001, in response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term. "There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it. Are we to believe that Dr. Rice, as the National Security Advisor was out of the loop when it came to the hijacking threat? Hardly.

And then there was Iraq. For that, I will let Senator Robert Byrd (D - WV) do my talking. This is from Dr. Rice's confirmation hearings for her Secretary of State appointment. "Beginning in September 2002, Dr. Rice also took a position on the front lines of the administration's efforts to hype the danger of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the administration used to scare the American people into believing that there was an imminent threat from Iraq. On September 8, 2002, Dr. Rice conjured visions of American cities being consumed by mushroom clouds. On an appearance on CNN, she warned, 'The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he (meaning Saddam) can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.' That was Dr. Rice speaking. Dr. Rice also claimed that she had conclusive evidence about Iraq's alleged nuclear weapons program." Needless to say, there were no WMDs, no nuclear programs, no Al Qaeda connections. Just a lot of lies and failures in intelligence. More? Why yes, we do have more.

How about Hurrican Katrina? True, as Secretary of State, her primary responsibility is to represent our nation in foreign affairs, and we'll get to that later. However, when a natural disaster unprecedented in our nation's history threatens the entire Gulf of Mexico oil industry, the city that is the gateway to our largest internal water route and the half a million people who live there where do you think, as a member of the Cabinet, you should be? In Washington? Being kept up to date on the oil refineries? (Lest we forget, Dr. Rice was on the board of Chevron) Letting other nations know that the most powerful country is handling this disaster with the skill and adroitness that has given us our supreme position? No. She was taking a vacation in New York City where she purchased new shoes and took in a Broadway show. Spamalot, I believe. Those around her report that she enjoyed the performance. Over one thousand people died in that hurricane. Some of them drowned in their own homes. Others died because of infection, dehydration and starvation. I hear Dr. Rice is a big fan of shoe shopping.

And finally, after her appointment to Secretary of State, Dr. Rice handled the bungling of the Hezbollah/Isreal conflict which left Isreal weaker than it's ever been and Hezbollah scoring major points in Southern Lebanon. Do you know why Hezbollah is scoring points in Southern Lebanon? Because they are giving the war victims there money to rebuild their lives. (That money, by the way comes partially from you, my fellow Americans via Iran's oil revenues.) In just another failed Dr. Rice initiative, she waited to intervene in the conflict until she saw that Isreal wasn't doing as well as they should. By then, it was too late. After the conflict, Dr. Rice was brushed off (that's irony isn't it?) by every single Middle Eastern leader from Egypt to Syria to Saudi Arabia. Her blatant and insultingly obvious do-nothing policy during the conflict was so completely pro-Isreal that no Arab leader could dare be seen with her for fear of upsetting their constituents. It must be difficult to act as Secretary of State when no one returns your calls, but I suppose that's just par for the course when everything you've achieved has been an unmitigated failure.

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