Monday, November 19, 2007

Here comes Condi...

Take heart, everybody! Junior Bush's Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, is setting out to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with her Ferragamo shoes and Gucci handbag. "I'll try it my way," she says. But, according to Newsweek, Condi doesn't like to talk about herself. "I'm not nearly that self-reflective," she says, demurely.

No, of course you're not, Condi. You're just an everyday hero, aren't you? But, what the heck? I'm sure you won't mind if the rest of us do a little talking.

Well, all, here's my own opinion: in an administration that is rife with liars and incompetents, Condi Rice stands out as perhaps the most singularly incompetent senior official throughout this nightmare. And when you consider that she's facing such contenders as Karen Hughes and Junior himself, that is quite an accomplishment.

Rice was a professor of Russian politics at Stanford University when she signed on as a foreign policy advisor for the Bush campaign in 2000. Her forte was allegedly Kremlin politics, which should have provided a hint as to the direction that the Bush gang was planning to take should they be able to seize power. After all, the Soviet Union was long dead, and a Kremlinologist would seem to be a relic. But an expert at promoting Cold War paranoia and misinformation? Well, that might be useful.

In the early months of the Bush administration, Condi, now with the shiny title of National Security Advisor, spent her time ignoring CIA security briefings about a pending terrorist attack on the United States, and whispering sweet nothings into Junior's ear.

Then came 9-11, which the administration must have viewed as a godsend. For years, prominent neo-conservatives had been advocating the invasion of Iraq and an aggressive foreign policy based on militarism. The problem was that they couldn't sell the public. After 9-11, a confused and frightened public was looking for leadership, and had yet to comprehend the ilk of the people that ran the executive branch of government. It was just a matter of putting the propaganda to work.

Condi, no doubt eager to be of service, jumped with both feet into the disinformation campaign.

In 2002, Vice-President Cheney asserted that the United States had "irrefutable evidence" of Iraq's (fictional) nuclear weapons program in the form of thousands of aluminum tubes they had intercepted on the way to Iraq. Condi backed him up on CNN on September 8, stating "[The tubes were] only really suited for nuclear weapons programs," and that "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Leaving aside the gratuitous fear-mongering, the statement about the aluminum tubes has since been proven a deliberate lie. According to the New York Times, from October 3, 2004:
But almost a year before, Ms. Rice's staff had been told that the government's foremost nuclear experts seriously doubted that the tubes were for nuclear weapons, according to four officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and two senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. The experts, at the Energy Department, believed the tubes were likely intended for small artillery rockets.
Condi was also involved in the "yellowcake uranium" lie all the way up to her pilate-toned hips. Recall that Junior, in his 2003 State of the Union speech, said "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Those infamous 16 words, remember? Condi is said to have been an advocate for including those words in the speech. The documents upon which the statement was based, were later revealed as blatant forgeries, which may explain why the administration refused to show them to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Later, on July 11 of the same year, Condi defended her decision to include the statement, saying, "Had I known that there was a forged document here, would I put this in the State of the Union? No." But Stephen Hadley, Rice's deputy revealed later that two CIA memos (one of which was sent to Condi herself) called the accuracy of the intelligence into doubt. (Condi doesn't remember reading it, according to the National Security Counsel's spokesman.)

There are many other lies that we could discuss (here's a good link), but why belabor the point?

Condi may not be a very good liar (after all, guys like Ari Fleischer don't come along every day), but she is willing to lie. Junior, never one to forget a favor (unless it is convenient to do so) has rewarded her with a seat in the Secretary of State's office. (I bet she has the furniture tastefully upholstered.)

In fact, Condi's willingness to say whatever they want her to say, to subjugate her own integrity and (one would hope) self-respect in order to advance, has even earned her a whisper or two as a possible GOP presidential candidate. "She's terrific," Laura Bush gushed.

As she leads our diplomatic corps toward ruin, let's hope that her incompetence will become so apparent that she'll have to return to Stanford, there to be sneered at by her compatriots.

Condi came at the recommendation of former Secretary of State (under Ronald Reagan) George Schultz and it seems that her two major qualifications were these:
  • She could be manipulated
  • She was a sycophant who could coddle a failed and inferior man into actually believing in himself
Well, using this criteria, of course, Condi has been an unqualified success.

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