Condi Steps In
WASHINGTON, D.C.The expected appointment of Condi Rice this afternoon as secretary of state signals the rise of another patsy to be window dressing for the president's foreign policy. That policy, as everyone by now knows, is mostly made by the neo-cons in the Pentagon, not in the State Department.
American foreign policy today has little to do with diplomacy, but rather is based on unilateral doctrine of telling the offending nation what we want it to do, and then if it balks, sending in gun boats to enforce our rule. It's succeeded in turning much of the world against America when we need all the support we can get. The dollar continues to lose value against the euro. Our trade deficit is higher than ever. Our debt is soaring. At a recent auction of treasury securities, foreigners who hold about half of the U.S. debt, refused to even bid on our bonds because they are so lousy.
Colin Powell, whom Rice replaces, wrecked his reputation by doing the bidding of the Bushies on the Iraq war. Powell was the flak trotted out to make the case for weapons of mass destruction, when it now appears everyone in the administration except the general knew there weren't any.
Rice means more of the same, only worse. Consider her by now infamous statements on 9-11, as collected on the Center for American Progress website:
"I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," said Rice on May 16, 2002.
However, on May 16, 2002, NBC News reported that on August 6, 2001, the president personally "received a one-and-a-half page briefing advising him that Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the U.S., and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane.
In May 2002, Rice held a press conference to defend Bush in light of new revelations that the president had been warned of an Al Qaeda threat since August 2001. According to The Washington Post, she "suggested that Bush had requested the briefing because of his keen concern about elevated terrorist threat levels that summer."
That was untrue. The Post reported that the CIA said the briefing "was not requested by President Bush." And 9-11 Commission member Richard Ben Veniste said that "the CIA informed the panel that the author of the briefing does not recall such a request from Bush and that the idea to compile the briefing came from within the CIA."
Rice said on March 22, 2004, that during the June and July of 2001, "threat spikes were so high . . . we were at battle stations."
But the day before, Newsweek reported that, "Meanwhile, the Bush Administration had decided to terminate a highly classified program to monitor Al Qaeda suspects in the United States." On March 22, The Washington Post wrote, "Documents indicate that before Sept. 11, Ashcroft did not give terrorism top billing in his strategic plans for the Justice Department, which includes the FBI. A draft of Ashcroft's 'Strategic Plan' from Aug. 9, 2001 does not put fighting terrorism as one of the department's seven goals, ranking it as a sub-goal beneath gun violence and drugs." By contrast, in April 2000, Ashcroft's predecessor, Janet Reno, called terrorism 'the most challenging threat in the criminal justice area.'
Research: Nicole Duarte
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.