Rice is the new Pasta
But is there a good side? David Corn writes that this provides an excellent chance for the Democrats to keep pestering the Bush 2.2 Administration:
Why didn’t the president and you bother to read the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq before he decided to go to war? Why weren’t there Cabinet-level meetings on what to do after the invasion about the obvious economic, political, legal, and security challenges that would be faced in Iraq? Why did Bush say there were “stockpiles” of biological weapons in Iraq even when the overstated intelligence did not report this? Why did he devote more time pre-9/11 to ballistic missile defense rather than to counterterrorism? Oh, the list could go on for days.
Update 18/11: This column by John Nichols* sums up why I dislike Condi quite nicely.
After Rice appeared in that city in September, the Seattle Times newspaper pointed out that, “Rice sounded at times like a candidate.” In a sense, she was. Prior to the election, Washington was abuzz with speculation about the all-but-certain departure of Secretary of State Colin Powell, the closest thing the administration had to an independent man of government — as opposed to the programmed politicos who peopled most major posts in the Bush White House. Rice, who began campaigning for the Secretary of State post before the 2000 election, did not want there to be any doubt on the part of Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney, the man who runs foreign policy for the administration, that she would be a more loyal and dramatically more politicized player than Powell.
Just as she politicized the national security adviser to an extent never before seen, she will politicize the State Department. Any pretense of independence or pragmatism will be discarded as quickly as was the tradition of keeping the national security adviser out of politics.
With Powell, its feeble defender, on the way out of the State Department, the last small voices of dissent within the foreign policy bureaucracy will begin to fall silent. If Rice is confirmed, as seems certain considering the partisan divide in the Senate, the Department of State where Thomas Jefferson, William Jennings Bryan and George Marshall once presided, will be little more than an arm of the White House political operation. And the Secretary of State, who has already proven herself to be more interested in campaigning than in defending the best interests of the nation or its security, will not be a diplomat. She will be a politician, nothing more and, certainly, nothing less.
One of my politics lecturers predicted Powell would go before the start of Iraq War II last year, either because he felt dirty being associated with Dubya or because he’d be chucked for having a brain capable of thinking on its own. Dr Rice shouldn’t have any of those problems, but it looks like the embedding of partisan interests in the Bush 2.2 Administration is just going to get worse. And this can’t possibly be a good thing.
Even if she is a politician (because, let’s face it, who isn’t these days?), the position of her politics is dangerous. If I’d blogged when Powell was appointed I would have said the same thing, but honestly, how can someone who was in charge of national security (you’d be kicking yourself if 9/11 happened on your watch, eh?) and so gung-ho about going to bloody war be a diplomat? I know I’m a bleeding heart liberal idealist who will just get crushed like a bug if I ever moved away from my laptop, but surely the whole point of diplomacy is to avoid war?
Why not just get rid of the Secretary of State job altogether? It’d be perfect economic rationalist policy. I understand Rice’s appointment is a logical conclusion after an ex-General, but this just solidifies the Administration’s obsession with political realism in foreign policy. National interest, alliances, military might, blah di blah di blah. Is it working, darlings? No, no it bloody well isn’t.
Dr Rice should remember what she used to teach at Stanford:
C students rush to war, while A students work diligently and patiently toward peaceful solutions to international problems. When the Iraqi crisis has ended, what grade will the current Administration have earned?
I’d give them an F.
*Ah, The Nation. I would be adrift in a sea of “Huh?” and “Umm” without you.