What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

No Rice For Me

First up: I've been searching on and off all day why conservatives have made a fuss over Bill Clinton's library receiving money from "wealthy Arab" contributors. The best I can figure is that liberals are being hypocrites because...well, I don't know. I couldn't find any instances where prominent liberals complained or protested that George H.W. Bush had received contributions from the Saudis, among others, for his presidential library. I'll file this under "bullshit" and move on.

I've been meaning to write on the subject of Dr. Condolezza Rice becoming the United States Secretary of State. And frankly, I don't think she's the right person for the job. I base this on the idea that she is essentially joined at the hip to George W. Bush. She's too close to Bush. She's known him and his family for years. I liked that Colin Powell had opinions and didn't always just blindly push the American agenda abroad (with the exception of WMDs). Gen. Powell brought decades of experience to the position of Secretary of State. Dr. Rice may be a great choice as provost of Stanford, but I'm not sold on the idea that she's the best person to replace Colin Powell.

One of the problems I have with her is that she and other members of the Bush administration essentially ignored information passed along by the Clinton administration regarding terrorism. According to the 9-11 Commission's official report:

Within the first few days after Bush's inauguration, (Richard) Clarke approached Rice in an effort to get her-and the new President-to give terrorism very high priority and to act on the agenda that he had pushed during the last few months of the previous administration. After Rice requested that all senior staff identify desirable major policy reviews or initiatives, Clarke submitted an elaborate memorandum on January 25, 2001. He attached to it his 1998 Delenda Plan and the December 2000 strategy paper. "We urgently need . . . a Principals level review on the al Qida network," Clarke wrote.

The national security advisor did not respond directly to Clarke's memorandum. No Principals Committee meeting on al Qaeda was held until September 4, 2001 (although the Principals Committee met frequently on other subjects, such as the Middle East peace process, Russia, and the Persian Gulf ).

Rice later went on to say that it was a complete surprise to her that anyone would attempt to use aircraft to crash into buildings. "I don't think anybody could have predicted...that they would try to use an airplane as missile...had this president known of something more specific or known that a plane was going to be used as a missile, he would have acted on it."

Gee, Condi, maybe if you had listened to Richard Clarke right away, instead of waiting until Sept. 1, 2001, the administration would have had some inkling that terrorists had been planning for years to crash an airplane into a building or buildings.

I know Bush is big on awarding loyalty, but how about nominating someone with more experience into the important position of Secretary of State?


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