Saturday, December 13, 2008

Condi On The Record...

I have to admit that I had higher hopes of Condoleeza Rice. I was quite a fan before she became Secretary of State, but have been disappointed with her in recent years. Maybe it has been the entrenched bureaucracy she works with at State; maybe it has been the challenges we face; maybe I've been harder than I should have been on her. I don't know which, but until recently, I have considered her as only a small step better than Colin Powell (who has gone from bad to worse, IMO).

That said, I was pleasantly surprised at the cutting defense Rice offers here of the challenges the Bush administration were left with in comparison to the ones being left for the Obama administration. A few snippets....

"... [The Bush administration] inherited a terrorism problem that had been ignored for years and allowed to grow until it exploded on 9/11...."

"...What we inherited were the failed Camp David Accords, and as a result the Second Intifada." She recalls Palestinian bombings of clubs and pizza parlors, the shelling of the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity. "Yasser Arafat was in power, stealing people blind and working with terrorists. Ariel Sharon was elected not to bring peace, but to defeat the intifada...."

"...We inherited a Lebanon with Syrian forces there for 30 years. Now, Syrian forces are out. There is a democratic government in power -- yes, being challenged by Hezbollah -- but the prime minister has survived and they've elected a president. The Lebanese army is out in the country for the first time. And," she says, "they are friendly to the United States...."

And most importantly...

"...Then? Saddam Hussein dragged the region into a war and lost over a million lives. It dragged the U.S. into war. He murdered his own people, terrorized his neighbors and sought weapons of mass destruction. Today? You have a multiethnic, multiconfessional democracy that isn't threatening its neighbors." [my emphasis]

So, I take most of it back, Condi. We are far better off as you and your boss leave office than when you took it.

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