So, Condi Rice is "not the woman she once was," reports the Economist ("The Falling Star of Condoleeza Rice"). They concede, "Being a perfect protégée can get one a long way up the greasy pole. But it is not the best qualification for being a successful secretary of state".
She is now receiving flak from both sides of the fence over her performance. The International Herald Tribune reports Senators Carl Levin (D) and John McCain (R) demanded earlier this month that Rice explain the conditions the Iraqis must meet for continued U.S. involvement. After receiving Rice's explanation, they issued an irate response saying, "What Secretary Rice's letter makes abundantly clear is that the administration does not intend to attach meaningful consequences for the Iraqis continuing to fail to meet their commitments."
Rice never provided a challenge to the administration's will. She, like Colin Powell, is and was nothing more than an administration shill who enabled GWB to run America into an unwarranted war. Her personal fealty to the President and his policies preclude any actions that will actually benefit the interests of America.
With Rumsfeld gone, eyes are on Rice. "Before, nobody assigned her the kind of ownership or authorship over the administration's policy — she did get something of a pass," said Michael McFaul, a political science professor at Stanford who knows Rice.
Secretaries of State should not get "passes," like they are high school hall monitors. Presumably they are hired on the basis of credentials, which do not necessitate awarding of a pass.
Before a Senate panel on 1/11/07, Senator George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, told Rice, "You're going to have to do a much better job" explaining the rationale for the war, adding that the administration could no longer count on his support.
"The censure continued last week during three days of rare Senate testimony from a cadre of Rice's predecessors. While the former secretaries of state and national security advisers — Baker, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski — were diplomatic in their critiques of the administration's foreign policy, all left the impression that as America's top diplomat, Rice was not engaging in real diplomacy.
"That's what we hire a secretary of state for, not to sit there and proclaim categorical statements, but to engage in the process," said Brzezinski, who was national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter."
Albright suggested it might be good to "communicat(e) with countries with which one disagrees," and Scowcroft called the troop buildup a "tactic, not a strategy."
Kenneth Pollack, a research director at the Brookings Institution, said: "It is no longer the case that Rumsfeld is the administration bad guy. People will look much harder at Condi's role now, and Iraq is really going to rest on her shoulders."
The intelligence indicators were there, yet the National Security Counsel ignored these signals. Rice should bear a burden of culpability in this fiasco, as should GWB. Vacations in Crawford always seem to trump actual operational requirements, be they terrorism or natural disaster.