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Monday | July 28, 2003

Condi Rice: liar or incompetant?

By Steve Gilliard

Iraq Flap Shakes Rice's Image
Controversy Stirs Questions of Reports Unread, Statements Contradicted

By Dana Milbank and Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, July 27, 2003; Page A01

Just weeks ago, Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, made a trip to the Middle East that was widely seen as advancing the peace process. There was speculation that she would be a likely choice for secretary of state, and hopes among Republicans that she could become governor of California and even, someday, president.

But she has since become enmeshed in the controversy over the administration's use of intelligence about Iraq's weapons in the run-up to war. She has been made to appear out of the loop by colleagues' claims that she did not read or recall vital pieces of intelligence. And she has made statements about U.S. intelligence on Iraq that have been contradicted by facts that later emerged.

The remarks by Rice and her associates raise two uncomfortable possibilities for the national security adviser. Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies seeking to put caveats on claims about Iraq's nuclear weapons program, or she made public claims that she knew to be false.

This is what passes for a throwdown in the Beltway. The WaPo is asking if Condi is so bad at her job that she didn't read critical documents concerning national security and a potential war or is she lying to save her job.

You know, Condi Rice's performance as NSA has sucked badly. First, there was the 9/11 fiasco and Bush's craven avoidance of Washington for hours after the attack. Then you get a series of lies about the war in Iraq. So exactly why does she still have a job?

As the Boston Globe points out, Bush doesn't much seem to care about the truth or character. Just loyalty.

While resignations may yet come, all the major players in the drama have expressed strong loyalty to Bush, noted Stephen Hess, a scholar with the Brookings Institution. ''And it's pretty hard to lose much by being loyal to the boss.'' Meanwhile, the naysayers on Iraq are becoming an endangered species.

Lindsey, ....was eased out in a winter shake-up of Bush's economic team.

Zinni...... was not reappointed as Mideast envoy.

Shinseki..... retired in June.

Anyone who tells Bush anything which doesn't go with what he wants to hear, they are shoved aside.

The problem with this, of course, is that it gets people killed.

The WaPo, of course, is starting to ask about Rice's basic competence. Rice, who's genial all-American looks have always blunted questions about her true intellect and ability. More than her race or gender, her ability to sound thoughtful and intelligent has allowed her to get jobs she proved to be ineffective in, like her tenure at Stanford, where she was hated by the staff and faculty there.

In fact, Rice has been a loyal member of the Bush political family for nearly two decades. There has never been any evidence of true brilliance or intellectual curiousity. This is, after all, a woman who does not read for pleasure. She was an expert on the Soviet Union without ever living there. Her Russian language skills have served more as a high class parlor trick than an entree into Russian thinking. Her education is strictly second rate, the University of Denver and Notre Dame may be fine schools, but they were not regarded as cutting edge centers of education.

Rice looks great on TV, but she has never been accountable for anything ever done under her auspicies.

A rigid person who seems to have defined her job, not by her loyalty to the country, but her boss, may well be over her head. Either way, the WaPo is asking hard questions about a person who seems to either lie to the American people or is unable to do her job. Neither is a comforting feeling.

Posted July 28, 2003 01:00 AM


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