Sunday, September 2, 2007

Desperately Seeking a Legacy

As the end of the bush administration draws near, the players therein are beginning to look toward the beyond. Condoleeza Rice is one of them, and she is looking at a grim horizon.

Late last May, The Stanford Daily, the student newspaper of Stanford University, ran a feature that took up most of the front page, under the headline “Condi Eyes Return, but in What Role?”

Within hours, the letters to the editor were pouring in, and the response was overwhelmingly negative. Condoleezza Rice serves an administration that has trashed the basic values of academia: reason, science, expertise, and honesty. Stanford should not welcome her back,” wrote an emeritus professor of Mathematics in a letter published a few days later. The comments left on the papers website were scathing. One of the milder ones simply read “Please go away, Rice. We don’t want someone who is responsible for the slaughter of an entire nation teaching at our school.”

How thoroughly and completely the Rice brand has devalued. There was a time, not so very long ago, that there was serious talk of Ms. Rice being the first black and/or female president. Of course, that was before she swilled the dregs from the kool-aid pitcher and sold a war on lies. That was before her public persona becme inscribed as a shrieking fearmonger, before she told CNN – with a straight fact – “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

It was also before a huge banner of her visage, with blood dripping from her lips, was hung from a bridge in the middle of Beirut.

And it was before former colleague David Kay referred to her as “probably the worst national security adviser since the office was created.” in Bob Woodwards “State of Denial.”

The bloom is off the rose now, and some of us are looking around and saying “What took you people so long?” We knew she was an incompetent screw-up when she proved unable to mediate the internal struggles between Rumsfeld and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Now, with the end of the Bush administration in sight, Ms. Rice is stepping double-time, trying desperately to latch onto some sort of legacy that is not a humiliating embarrassment. To that end, she is cooperating with a veritable gaggle of authors who are looking to punch their own tickets have lined up to write books about the worst Secretary of State ever, snatching that dubious honor away from John Foster Dulles.

Rewriting her history will be an epic undertaking, what with the blood of a million Iraqis on her hands and all. She seems to have accepted that she can not shed that part of her legacy in the time remaining in office, no matter how desperately she might want to. Instead, she has turned her focus to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but has proven nearly as big a failure there as she has with Iraq. She engineered the political boycott of the militant Islamist group Hamas after they won parliamentary seats in that too-soon election she pushed for. This tactic blew up in a spectacular way, culminating with a civil war in Gaza that pushed Fatah to the West Bank, and left Gaza crippled and bleeding, cut off from the process.

The passage from the Times article that made me scream and throw the newspaper was this:

In fact, her friends say that she rarely questions whether she is right or wrong, instead choosing to believe in a particular truth with absolute certainty until she doesn’t believe it anymore, at which point she moves on. “Now you’ve got me trying to psycho-analyze myself,” she complained.

Oh, lovely. Just what we want in a diplomat, or an NSA for that fact – rigid, uncompromising “my way or the highway” ideology. That’s a sure-fire way to make friends and influence people…

The Reign of the Incompetents can not end soon enough, and Condi, good little lackey she is, is at least as incompetent as the Resident she serves.

No comments: