Thursday, April 17, 2014

Condoleezza Rice Is A 23-Year-Old White Male

Writing in Politico magazine (which I praised, apparently prematurely, yesterday), the National Review's Rich Lowry, perhaps still seeing starbursts, is exorcised because Condoleezza "Rice’s speaking gigs on college campuses and her ascension to the board of the Internet company Dropbox have sparked protests calling for her to be disinvited, cashiered and generally isolated and shamed."  Lowry argues that some students and faculty at the University of Minnesota, where she was invited to give a lecture, and at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she has been invited to give the commencement speech, have been mean to her.

You will remember "Condi," as the mainstream media has affectionately called her for years, as a supporter of the (nationally and internationally) illegal torture regimen carried out by the federal government during the GW Bush administration.   She also was a co-conspirator in ginning up support for the Iraq war, one of convenience conducted, as Rachel Maddow explained in March (partial video of program below), to provide access to Iraqi oil fields to national oil companies.

Thanks to author Ron Suskind, we know that at the first national security meeting held by Bush 43, Secretary of Treasury (not former NY Yankee outfielder) Paul O'Neill and Secretary of State Colin Powell were startled when the President asked Ms. Rice "Well, what do you think the big issue in the region is, Condi?", to which she responded "I think Iraq is the big issue, the destabilizing force and that's going to be our focus."

Soon thereafter, President Bush assigned Vice President Cheney to lead a secret task force, which met privately with energy industry lobbyists and executives of oil companies.   He ordered the National Security Council- headed by "Condi"- to coordinate national security and energy policy with Cheney's task group. Eventually, the task force began to divvy up oil fields among, as Suskind put it, "foreign suitors along with American suitors meaning major oil firms and oil contractors like Halliburton."  As Ronald(6) Wilson(6) Reagan(6) once said, "mistakes were made."  But Rice was not blissfully unaware.

Though her agency was intimately involved with establishment of the economic rationale for going to war against a sovereign nation, National Security Adviser Rice that summer would warn "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."   Four years later, Rice still was making things up, then claiming "There were ties going on between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime," though she later denied ever saying it.

The same foreign policy genius who now criticizes President Obama over Putin policy would at one time summarize her post-Iraq invasion advice as "Punish France, ignore Germany, forgive Russia.”  A good way to energize NATO.

Lowry complains because "The Minnesota professors say that it is 'in the spirit of free expression' that they ask for the reversal of Rice’s invitation. Because nothing says free expression like shutting down someone’s lecture."  To his enduring credit, Lowry has invented a constitutional guarantee: the right to give a speech at a public university.  Perhaps next spring, you too can invoke that right by demanding that your state's public university allow you to speak, for a fee.

Nearing the conclusion of his piece, Lowry contends

If the typical rules applied, the fierce opposition to Rice would be attributed to racism, sexism and any other handy -ism. The stunt by the University of Minnesota Students for a Democratic Society of referring her to the campus police as “dangerous” and including a physical description of her as a “59-year-old African American woman” would prompt a rant by TourĂ© on MSNBC about the dehumanization of a woman of color and a high-flying essay by Jamelle Bouie on The Daily Beast about the hidden racist tropes embedded in japery at the expense of former secretaries of state.

Oh, yes, because the physical description of an individual must exclude age, race, and gender. Perhaps Condi could have been described as a 23-year-old white male, notwithstanding reaction by conservatives who would ridicule liberals as loathe to admit the object of their criticism is young, female, or black. Some conservatives, who accuse liberals of throwing around the charge of "racism," are themselves fond of the tactic.  In the case of Rich Lowry, he has to find something.

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