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Rice -`I’m Proud of the Iraq Invasion’

July 5, 2008

For most of his life since departing as the Secretary of Defense who oversaw the US war against Vietnam, Robert McNamarra has been haunted by his leading role in helping direct an effort which took 3 million Vietnamese and 56,000 American lives before it ended, ignominously for the United States. McNamarra could never shake the shadow of that war and the collective horror it produced. Had there been a kind of Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal to deal with Vietnam, (there were informal hearings in Stockholm) it is likely that McNamarra who later had something of a political epithany and turn to the left, would have suffered the fate of Goebbels and Rosenberg.

And the war in Vietnam continues in a way.There are still, some 33 years after the humiliating US exit from that country, signs of war everywhere, from the deformed babies born in regions heavily bombed with agent oranged and napalm to the high cancer rates, to the millions who never got over the psychological shock of having more explosive power dropped on the country than was dropped on Nazi Germany in World War II.

Now some of the leading architects of the US war in Iraq, both in the Clinton and Bush administrations find they too cannot so easily escape from their past. Although she has apologized for saying that the sanctions that killed up to a million Iraqis from 1991 through 2003 were `worth it’, Madelaine Albright’s reputation will forever be tarnished by such a cold remark (and the policies that went along with it). Hillary Clinton’s support for the war in Iraq despite her `if-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now’ self defense cost her the Democratic presidential nomination as much as any other factor. Colin Powell’s defense of the invasion of Iraq – his outright lies before the United Nations – destroyed his political aspirations for the presidency nurtured over a lifetime in less than half an hour.

In a similar spirit and probably with similar results, Condoleeza Rice tries to justify her record with the Bush Administration. Like Albright, Clinton, Powell and so many others, Rice is going about the business of accomplishing the impossiblie – brushing up her image, and this six months before retiring! She will undoubtedly try to cultivate the image of what she was not: a sobering and more rational element among otherwise more war-mongering neo-cons.

Indeed she has been one of the least effective secretaries of state in recent memory, an intregal part of the Bush team, who supported the president’s polices across the board and whose role in the Middle East was marred by a profound lack of understanding of the region. Although it remains to be seen, my sense is that history will be rather harsh on her and deserving ly so.

Colorado’s own – she grew up in Denver and went to DU – Condoleezza Rice said on Friday that she was “proud” of the US decision to invade Iraq. Defying both gravity and reality `Condy’ – as her former DU profs and friends still call her – said the Middle East had improved since President George W. Bush took office.

Perhaps she was confusing East Asia with the Middle East? With US directed wars going badly in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan slipping daily into chaos and ready to explode, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict going nowhere but downhill and the spectre of a US and/or Israeli attack on Iran looming over the region, such a level of self denial suggests delusional qualities.

One has wonder if as a student at D.U., she didn’t stumble upon some extraordinary weed – there are rumors, of course unsubstantiated, that such things exist at DU – which permanently filtered her intellectual growth just enough to make her attractive to the Bush White House.

Of course she’s an integral part of a team whose starting point for analyzing global realities has always put idelogy before reality as a matter of principle. Still it’s pathetic but not surprising to see a woman of such talents sink to such intellectual depths.

Her effort to suggest that the world is better off now than it was when George Bush first came to power eight years ago only adds to the delusional argument. Speaking of a world in which the United States has experienced one of the more dramatic declines in respect and power in modern history , she looks with difficulty for a silver lining she carts out North Korea and China as examples.

In an interview with Bloomberg television, Rice also cited progress in North Korea and China as evidence that the Bush administration, which has just seven months left in office, had made strides over the past eight years. But the reality is actually a little different. After labeling N. Korea as a part of the axis of evil – which means it was scheduled for `regime change’ – the Bush Administration was forced to eat crow onn its North Korea policy and negotiate.

As for China – its position visavis the United States has strengthened considerably. Bush Administration attempts to vilify and politically isolate China have failed to date.

But Rice’s remarks about the world being `a better place’ lose all sense of reality when addressing the results of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

“I am proud of the decision of this administration to overthrow Saddam Hussein. I am proud of the liberation of 20 million Iraqis,” Rice was quoted as saying yesterday in an interview taped earlier in the week to mark the July 4th holiday. In statememt that defies logic she argues:

“Iraq has been very tough. Tougher than any of us had dreamed We can never replace the people who have been lost. We can never do anything to soothe the pain of the family and friends that they have left behind, but we are seeing a change in Iraq for the better. ” Rice did admit that in the effort to `save’ Iraq that more than a million Iraqi have been killed but she neglected the 3-4 million made refugees either inside the country or in the neighboring states. since the US-led invasion of Iraq first took place.

The US occupation has also resulited in the the deaths of more than 4,000 US soldiers and a vastly larger number of wounded.

Rice, 53, ruled out any such political aspirations for herself, saying that she may write a book and return to work in education after Bush’s term expires in January 2009. I can only hope she is not considering returning to D.U. There are rumors that she might.

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