Even though Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been the target of more criticism than Rice and has recently been unceremoniously given the proverbial boot by the President at the behest of the incoming Democratic majority, it is actually Secretary Rice who in my opinion has been the worst member of the Bush Cabinet. To be sure, the worst single blunder, the Iraq war, is owned by Rumsfeld, but Condi Rice shows the remarkable ability to make terrible mistakes on multiple different issues month after month and year after year without a single major accomplishment to which to point and seemingly without negative consequences. In fact quite the opposite, the Bush Administration and Republican Party promoted her from National Security Advisor to Secretary of State and continuously do everything possible to protect her.
The three instances that best illustrate Rice's incompetence just happen to be, other than Iraq, the worst failures of American defense and diplomacy over the last six years. Most recently, we see in the North Korean testing of a Nuclear device, the total failure of American Diplomatic Policy with regards to the North Korean regime. Our policy, lead by Rice and the President, was to isolate the regime, refuse to talk with them directly and offer them nothing, the "stick without the carrot" policy as I like to call it. For over forty years since hostilities in the Korean conflict ended, nine different US Presidential administrations, five Republican and four Democratic, have prevented the North Koreans from becoming a fully nuclear state. The Bush administration and Secretary Rice managed to undo all of that in less than six years.
In July of this year, while the Israelis and Hezbollah headed toward and eventually engaged in a dangerous conflict, Secretary Rice allowed the situation to heat up to armed conflict and then allowed the conflict to continue for a week without making any real attempt to step in and force a diplomatic solution. This serious situation could have easily escalated to the point where Israel and Syria, two states armed to the teeth with Weapons of Mass Destruction (Israel with over 100 Nuclear weapons and Syria with a large Chemical weapons arsenal), could have gone to war against each other. As I wrote at the time, "...it is the height of geopolitical insanity to play games where states with large inventories of WMD could face off against each other. Any such situation demands the full attention and maximum efforts of the world's and the world's primary powers' diplomatic corps."
But it is with respect to the 9/11 attacks that Condi's worst episode of incompetence is seen. I wrote an article a few weeks ago, "Rice and Foley and the Republican Party in Power. Incompetence, Pedophilia, Hypocrisy and Hubris" http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_steven_l_061002_rice_and_foley_and_t.htm , which included a section that discussed Condi's role in the administration's failure to stop the 9/11 attacks. Then National Security Advisor with a primary role in the defense and security of the country, evidence has come out from various sources that Rice was unresponsive to a series of warnings about Al Qaeda and their methods. As I noted in the above linked article:
- First, the 9/11 commission investigated and verified that the Clinton transition team provided Rice and the Bush administration stern warnings about the threat from Al-Qaeda.
- Second, the 9/11 commission and the congressional inquiry also forced Condi to read from a memo sent to her on August 2001 [one month before the attacks] warning her about the threat that Al-Qaeda might use airplanes as weapons.
- Third, Bob Woodward uncovered evidence about, and former CIA Director George Tenet admitted to the meeting he and CIA counterterrorism chief J. Cofer Black had with Rice in July of 2001 where they tried to hammer home the threat from Al-Qaeda.
Three separate instances with paper trails that then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was warned about Al Qaeda and their methods that would soon be put to use in the 9/11 attacks. In the third instance above, Tenet and Black and their warnings were completely blown off by Rice. There are rumors to the effect that Rice found their insistent and repeated warnings annoying and that she at one point had the two escorted from her office.
Rice's pre-9/11 cavalier attitude toward Al-Qaeda coupled with the failure to prevent North Korea from becoming fully Nuclear and the "Stand on the sidelines and let it happen" approach to the Israeli-Lebanon/Hezbollah conflict I think make my case that Condi is the worst member of the Bush cabinet. Now with respect to her conspicuous absence of Oct 16-Nov 14, I think the GOP is attempting to preserve her viability as a potential Presidential Candidate for 2008. Despite protestations that she is not a candidate, I think the powers that be of the Republican Party are less than satisfied with the prospects of either of the two front runners, Rudy Giuliani or John McCain and see Rice as a preferred alternative. But she will not be a realistic alternative for long if the truth comes out regarding her many failures. Democrats should press for investigations and hearings into each of the three main issues I presented above. Now is no time for incompetent people in positions of power.