Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another Side Of Condoleezza Rice

For a few brief moments on the Sunday night episode of 60 MINUTES, the public got to see another side of Condoleezza Rice. This was someone who loves Led Zeppelin and had very heartfelt sadness at the neighborhood racist bombing of a local church that took the lives of at least two little girls that young Condoleezza Rice grew up with. Young Rice played with one girl in kindergarten, and knew another girl very well. The racist bombing really had a huge impact on her.

It was indeed a very fine interview for Katie Couric, the only 60 MINUTES reporter who is less than the age of a Smithsonian Institute dinosaur. But as the interview turned to questions about Iraq, Rice once again turned to the familar role of "company man" in her typical questionable sincerity in defending the Bush White House.

I liked the heartfelt sincerity of the Condoleezza Rice who related the experiences of growing up in a racist South. It was deeply moving that two of her little friends were victims of racist terrorism. But when Rice turns back to the familar "company man" who was a former Chevron Oil Director, and the apologist for anything the Bush Administration does, not matter how hackneyed, misdirected, or even a complete failure, then she loses me completely.

If anything, Rice should learn from history that administrations are never well served by mere "yes men" unwilling to challenge absurd or even illegal notions. Kennedy surrounded himself with the same sort of "yes man " environment and the "Bay Of Pigs" fiasco and Vietnam resulted. Nixon surrounded himself with others who went along with the many crimes of Watergate. The groupthink that surrounded Reagan built up Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists with the illegal covert CIA war against the Soviets after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Many of the same Al Qaeda leaders we face in Iraq are veterans of the the illegal Reagan foreign policy that his cabinet refused not to prevent. And Reagan illegally used Agriculture Department CCC funds intended for food aid to a disaster striken nation to help Saddam Hussein build up his military during the Iran-Iraq War. This freed up billions for Saddam Hussein to buy arms from France and Brazil. In both cases, the Reagan Admiministration built up two "Frankenstein's Monsters" that turned on their creator thanks to the role of "yes men".

The current role of Condoleezza Rice is to play the role of a "yes man" in an administration that has created serious foreign policy problems for generations to come. Iran is now the Middle East "strongman", and will become far more dangerous once it acquires nuclear arms. North Korea knows full well that both Iraq and Afghanistan have bogged down the U.S. in currently unwinnable conflicts, and it only enboldens them. And Hugo Chavez, rather than bulding the fair and equitable socialist economy that he promised when first elected to office eight years, is now squandering his country's oil rich economy on Russian arms such as fighter jets and attemting to form world alliances with the worst regimes in the world.

Rice may feel that she is being intensely loyal to the interests of the Bush Administration. But what is politically good for this administration and the public good are not necessarily the same as history has well proven. In this regard, being a "yes man" is no better than a lemming who leads others to fall off the same cliff.


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