I need to vent. I'm tired of hearing about how Condi Rice is a "realist" in foreign policy, whose counsel to Bush (presumably like Colin Powell's) is akin to that of the advisers to Bush I, as opposed to the "hardliners" like Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfie, and of course, Cheney. Here is a typical such reference in an article which raises the long-lingering and unanswered question of "whatever happened to those five Iranian officials that the U.S. grabbed in Iraq five months ago?" (As to which question, I ask: Can you imagine the uproar in our country if Iran grabbed five U.S. officials in Iraq and held them incommunicado for months?)
Anyhoo--About this notion that Condi is the moderating voice in foreign policy, whispering common-sense solutions to Bush but being overridden by Cheney. What's the evidence of that, other than White House pundits' assertions? I mean, Condi was the first to use the "mushroom cloud" metaphor. (Bush's speech to that effect came days later.) She's in the forefront of the push to further sanction Iran; to condemn the results of the Palestinian election of Hamas representatives; to call Iraqi insurgents "terrorists" at every press conference. She, in her public utterances, appears to be as much a hardliner as the rest of Bush's advisers. At best, she's like Colin Powell, or, as lately revealed, George Tenet: A Bush enabler, unwilling to do other than nudge him and mumble him toward sanity, but at all events to stay onboard the ship.
And yet, Condi seems to get a free pass. Check out these figures from Rasmussen about her "favorability rating" (57%) as compared to the much lower ratings of others in Bush's cabal, except of course Colin Powell. Certainly those ratings can't be based on her performance as, initally, National Security Adviser (whom both Richard Clarke and Tenet assert was deaf to their alarms about imminent al Qaida attacks in the U.S.), and lately as Secretary of State. I mean--pardon me for asking--what exactly has Condi done to warrant "favorability"? The answer: Absolutely nothing.
Now, it seems, Condi is about to force a showdown with the Congress, in the person of Representative Henry Waxman, over her testimony about the insertion of the infamous "16 words" in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Waxman has subpoenaed her and she's apparently resisting and, just yesterday, has apparently refused to allow her staff to testify about the Niger-yellowcake assertion. Let's hope we learn from this confrontation where she stands: Is she a moderating voice in this administration, or is she, like Powell and Tenet, just window-dressing for the evil forces within it?