Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Thinking of Condi Rice's book makes me want to sing "Memories."  Ok, maybe it does not since I have long viewed her as the worst National Security Adviser in US history.  Not that hard since the post was really a post-World War II thing, but still not a good title to have.  Foreign Policy has a set of pics and quotes from her book, showing that, yes, Cheney and Rummy were hawks and obnoxious and the worst VP? and SecDef! we can think of.*
* I am not so sharp on US history to be sure that Cheney was the worst. But given how much power he had, he certain must be a contender.  Rummy, well, we've been through that before.
 Of course, in that group of ideological folks who found reality to be inconvenient but not a constraint on their policies, Rice comes off as relatively sane. I do find it amusing that she has interesting standards.  When discussing Qaddafi and his fixation toward her, Rice refers to a video he showed here as: "It was weird, but at least it wasn't raunchy," Rice wrote.

Back to her role as NSA.  Here is a blurb on one of the slides:
When it came to this notoriously warring couple, Rice had an insider's view. She believed that the distrust between Bush's first-term secretary of state and his secretary of defense made the bureaucracies beneath them almost incapable of making decisions. She also saw that they had very different styles and that Powell, with his more nuanced approach, often lost out with Bush often preferring Rumsfeld's more "black-and-white view of the world," in particular in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Well, where is Rice in this contest between Powell and Rumsfeld?  Seems from the book blurb that she felt that Powell might have the right side.  Why not, hmmm, take sides?  I have not read the book and probably will not do so soon unless I end up teaching an American foreign policy class, but this quote alone indicates that Rice saw herself as just a coordinator, rather than someone who might actually shape the choices the President faced.  Rice should have pushed back with the help of Powell on things that she felt were wrong.  Instead, she gets to watch and note that Rummy beat Powell.  You did a heck of a job, Ms. NSA.

How about this for ironies:
Rice saw [ then-Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of Iraq] as one of many less-than-ideal leaders for Iraq after the U.S. invasion, deeming this one more suited to be a professor than a political leader.
Project much, Condi?  I don't know how Rice was as a professor at Stanford or as a provost, but surely she was better suited to that than as National Security Adviser.
When Bush finally told Rice a few days before the 2006 midterm elections that he had decided to replace Rumsfeld with Bob Gates, she recalls, "I could barely contain my joy."
I felt the same way when the entire Bush team (except for Gates) was leaving the White House.  Rice, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld--what a freakin disaster.

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