Condi Rice Is Incompetent

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Memo To:
Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: But I would have voted for her

Bush at his press conference this morning promised that Condoleezza
Rice will be “a great Secretary of State.” From her earliest days
as Governor George W Bush’s foreign-policy advisor in 1999 as
he prepared to run for President I could see she was in over her
head, and in the last four years I did not see any improvement.
It had been obvious to me that the neo-cons had arranged through
former Secretary of State George Shultz to have her brought to
the White House from Stanford, where she had taught Russian history,
because she could be manipulated. Sure enough, as soon as Governor
Bush decided she was a sweetie pie with a high IQ, she brought
Paul Wolfowitz to Crawford to meet up with W, and within a week,
Wolfie brought Richard Perle to Crawford. Even then they were
planning the war with Iraq and to this day Condi does not know
how all that happened.

Still, I
would have voted to confirm her with all the reservations expressed
by Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and Rhode Island Republican Lincoln
Chafee. First, because the President could have picked someone
worse and probably would have. Second, because Dr. Rice chose
Bob Zoellick as her Deputy at State and Zoellick is a marvelous
diplomat who was U.S. Trade Representative over the last four
years and is a protg of former Treasury Secretary and Secretary
of State James Baker III – and Baker is very definitely not
a neo-con, and neither is Zoellick. Third, because Condi seems
to have been persuaded to let go of John Bolton, the maniacal
arms-control officer at State. Colin Powell may have had his heart
in the right place at State, but his deputy, Rich Armitage, was
just a rubber stamp, and Bolton had been placed at State by the
Perle Cabal to undermine Powell’s diplomatic initiatives. The
Cabal prefers war to diplomacy, which is what we should expect
from lifelong Cold Warriors.

So given
these personnel changes, I can at least hope that there will be
a steady change in direction at State and little-by-little the
USA can regain the confidence of the rest of the world, which
it now does not have.

If you would
like to see the record of my commentaries on Condi over the last
four years you can do a site search at by typing
in “Condoleezza” and you will find 57 pieces that are either devoted
exclusively to her performance or reference her. I can’t recall
any positives in the skein. Here is one of my favorites, from
10, 2003.

There are
Flaws in Your Soup, Dr. Rice

Memo: To:
Condoleezza Rice
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: A Few Flies in your Speech

On Wednesday
afternoon I happened to catch your speech to the Chicago Council
on Foreign Relations, which had been advertised as one of the
efforts by the Bush administration to drum up support for the
war in Iraq. I know you are a very busy lady, having to keep President
Bush on top of the world's various political crises, but you continue
to get the impression that you yourself are misinformed about
these crises. The only explanation I can think of is that your
advisors are either misinformed, or they have conspired to keep
you in the dark, so that you will be able to keep the President
in the dark. He makes many of the same errors of fact that you
made in your Chicago address. I'll go over what I mean, with my
comments following those of yours that I found flawed:

Dr. Rice:
For twelve years, Saddam Hussein sat in the heart of the world’s
most volatile region, defying more than a dozen UN Security Council
resolutions, terrorizing his people, threatening his neighbors,
and the world.

Saddam has not once threatened his neighbors or the world in any
way since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, a dozen years ago.
He has not defied any UNSC resolutions, complying with each one
in turn as the UNSC tightened the terms established in 1991 for
the destruction of any weapons of mass destruction in his possession.
Since November 1991, Iraq has insisted it had destroyed all WMD,
an assertion that now appears to have been true all along. The
last of these UN resolutions was #1441, which Iraq was in total
compliance with at the time the President chose war. His advisors
insisted they knew he was hiding WMD that the UN inspectors did
not know about. Remember, Dr. Rice? Not only did Baghdad invite
the USA to send CIA teams to Iraq to find WMD the inspectors were
not seeing; the UN itself had concluded diplomacy was working
and Iraq was accepting every request made of it by the UN inspectors.
Every request!!

Dr. Rice:
Saddam Hussein twice launched unprovoked invasions of his neighbors.
After losing a war of aggression that he began, Saddam’s threatening
posture toward other Gulf nations – and his continued oppression
of his people – required the United States and the United
Kingdom to maintain a massive military presence in the Gulf, and
patrol two vast no-fly zones for a dozen years. Saddam is the
only tyrant of our time not only to possess weapons of mass destruction
… but also to use them in acts of mass murder. And he maintained
ties to terror, harboring known terrorists within his borders,
and subsidizing Palestinian suicide bombers.

In 1980, Iraq and Iran were already in a state of war, provoked
by the Iranian religious fundamentalists who sought the overthrow
of the secular government in Baghdad. There was no Iraqi invasion,
and in fact the US supported Iraq in that eight-year war, preferring
Saddam to the Ayatollah Khomeini. In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait
after accusing the emir of Kuwait of conducting economic warfare
against Iraq, a position Saddam clearly explained to the American
Ambassador at the time — who told him she hoped the dispute could
be worked out diplomatically. If you check the details, Dr. Rice,
you will find many of Kuwait's Arab neighbors at the time did
believe Iraq was being provoked by Kuwait.

When the
Gulf War ended, Dr. Rice, there was no u201Cthreatening posture toward
other Gulf nationsu201D that had been reported, unless you mean Iraq's
continued possession of conventional weapons and their movements
from one part of Iraq to another from time to time. Can you cite
one serious u201Cthreatu201D? You also say Saddam is the only u201Ctyrantu201D
of our time to possess WMD. You know of course that he only possessed
mustard gas and a few other nerve agents that he used in the war
in Iraq, against the Ayatollah's tyrannical regime, which possessed
other chemical agents that it used against the Iraqis.

You say
Saddam committed u201Cmass murder,u201D which implies acts of genocide.
I'm sorry to inform you, Dr. Rice, that US intelligence services
agree there was no such genocide. The CIA's report of last September,
which I understand you were too busy to read, confirmed earlier
findings of the Army War College that no such genocide occurred.
If you like, I'll send you a synopsis of the report, which you
can read if you have the time.

Next you
said Saddam u201Cmaintained ties to terror.u201D I have no idea what this
means, Dr. Rice, unless you mean that Iraq has supported the Palestinians,
not the Israelis. This is the inference I take when you note that
Saddam had u201Csubsidized Palestinian suicide bombers.u201D Don't you
know he sent funds to the families of suicide bombers, not the
bombers? The Saudi government sent a hundred times more money
to the Palestinians that went to families who had lost members
to Israeli attacks.

Dr. Rice:
We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September
11th attacks. Yet the possibility remained that he might use his
weapons of mass destruction or that terrorists might acquire such
weapons from his regime, to mount a future attack far beyond the
scale of 9/11. This terrible prospect could not be ignored or
wished away.

This was the reason for UNSCR #1441, which Iraq was following
to the letter to persuade us beyond a shadow of a doubt that he
had no WMD that he could use or that u201Cterrorists might acquireu201D
from his regime. Do you see what I mean?

Dr. Rice:
President Bush put it this way: “Some have said we must not act
until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants
announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before
they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly
emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come
too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein
is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”

As the President's National Security Advisor, you might have pointed
out to the President that the other members of the UN Security
Council were not asking him to trust in the sanity and restraint
of Saddam, which is why UN weapons inspectors were all over Iraq,
even looking under Saddam's bed. They not only were not going
to leave in force until they were completely satisfied, but made
it clear that inspections would continue to monitor Iraq to make
sure there was no it could reconstitute WMD.

Dr Rice:
When the President went to the United Nations in September, 2002,
there was little controversy about the nature of the threat posed
by Saddam Hussein. The intelligence agencies of most governments
agreed on Saddam’s capabilities and appetites. The United Nations
and other international organizations had – again and again
– documented Saddam’s aggressions against his neighbors,
tortures of the Iraqi people, and violations of international

This is the first I have heard that u201Cthe intelligence agencies
of most governments agreed on Saddam's capabilities and appetites.u201D
Do you have a list of these agencies and what they agreed upon?
Just what were his u201Ccapabilities,u201D and his u201Cappetitesu201D? Also,
could you share with us the documentation of the u201Ctortures of
the Iraqi peopleu201D? I'm not saying I do not believe Saddam countenanced
torture. I think he probably did, just as every other regime in
the region has countenanced torture (including Israel, which also
countenances assassination). I just don't remember official documentation
of the u201Ctortures of the Iraqi people.u201D

Dr. Rice:
Remember the clear logic of Resolution 1441 – which passed
unanimously. 1441 posed a test – a final test – of Saddam
Hussein’s willingness to disarm and comply with his obligations.
Saddam Hussein refused to meet that test. 1441 mandated serious
consequences if Iraq refused to comply. A coalition of nations
ensured that these would not be empty words.

I beg your pardon, Dr. Rice. The reason the US did not get the
support of the United Nations for its pre-emptive war was that
it believed Saddam Hussein was passing the test. UNMOVIC's director,
Hans Blix, said there were only minor discrepancies in the paperwork
that needed to be cleaned up on chemical and biological weapons.
IAEA's director, Mohammed Baradei, said beyond a shadow of a doubt
Iraq had no nukes, and could not be able to develop them given
the monitoring program that would remain in place.

Dr. Rice:
Increasingly, the killing fields are yielding up their dead. The
mass graves are being discovered.

Can you be more specific, Dr. Rice? I know there have been pictures
of graves being unearthed in one place or another in Iraq, but
so far there has been no official finding that the bodies represent
people killed outside of war. The mass graves we have all been
waiting for are those of the 100,000 or 200,000 Iraqi Kurds who
were supposed to have been rounded up by the Iraqi army in 1988,
trucked someplace south of Kurdistan, and machine-gunned to death
before being dumped into mass graves. The CIA still dismisses
this charge, largely promoted by Human Rights Watch. Are there
other mass graves you have in mind?

Dr. Rice:
The Iraq Survey Group is finding – and recording – proof
that Iraq never disarmed, and never complied with UN inspectors.

Pleeezzze, Condoleezza Rice. I'm beginning to think you are dyslectic.
The Iraq Survey Group said exactly the opposite in its report
last week. The opposite. Its 1400 inspectors, led by longtime
CIA operative David Kay, have roamed the country for months looking
for stuff the UN inspectors missed, and they found NOTHING that
could be considered anything close to a weapon of mass destruction.
President Bush has made a big deal out of one vial of botulinum
found in the fridge of an Iraqi scientist. Dr. Kay — who is not
a scientist, if you did not know, but has a PhD in political science
– represented this vial as a clue to the Saddam's potential
to reconstitute biological weapons that could kill people by the

Did you
check this out before telling the President he could go ahead
and pump up this vial to a doomsday weapon? Maureen Dowd of the
New York Times did go to the trouble of checking out botulinum
and found there are several types. One of which, she wrote in
here column — BOTOX – is used in the cosmetic industry to
take the wrinkles out of your face. A second type u201CBu201D will make
your food go bad. This is the type found in the Iraqi's fridge.
The killer stuff, type u201CAu201D has never been found in Iraq, not even
a u201Creference strain.u201D Call Maureen over at the Times and she will
straighten you out.

Dr. Rice:
Let me read you a passage from the progress report that David
Kay – head of the Iraq Survey Group – submitted to Congress
last week:

have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant
amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations
during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery
of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through
the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information
they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment
and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared
to the UN.”
The ISG has
confirmed many activities that we already knew about, including
Iraq’s massive deception campaign to conceal its weapons programs,
and its maintenance of prohibited delivery systems. The ISG has
also uncovered some information that appears to corroborate reports
that Iraq tested chemical and biological substances on human beings.

And the
ISG continues to find evidence of activities that the United States
did not know about before the war. For example, the ISG has so
far found – and I quote:

research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic

attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea
technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles.”

on a possible VX stabilizer, research and development for chemical
weapons capable munitions, and procurement, concealment of dual
use materials and equipment.”

These are only
the highlights of a statement that runs more than six thousand words.
Iraq was required to declare all of these activities to the UN –
but instead deliberately concealed them and deceived the inspectors.
Had any one of these examples been discovered last winter, the Security
Council would have had no choice but to take exactly the same course
that President Bush followed: to declare Saddam Hussein in defiance
of Resolution 1441, and enforce its serious consequences.

This is pathetic stuff, Dr. Rice. Pathetic. Research on a possible
VX stabilizer? Concealment of dual use material? Research on Congo
fever? A third-hand report that Saddam once dreamed about sneaking
North Korean ballistic missiles into Iraq? Dr. Rice, I can see
why you had President Bush focus on botulinum, as that is the
best Kay's team has been able to come up with, even though Kay
does not know the difference between Type A and a wrinkle cream.
Now Kay wants another $600 million to go back and look for more
stuff. He seems to be indicating that he will not know for sure
that there are no WMD in Iraq until the week after the November
elections next year. By the way, who do you work for, Mr. Bush
or Mr. Rove?

28, 2005

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