Rice's Rage

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Poor Condi.

She’s in a tizzy because members of her entourage were “manhandled” by Sudanese “security forces” while she chatted up the country’s chief thug. "It makes me very angry to be sitting there with their president and have this happen," Condi huffed. "They have no right to push and shove."

Such righteous anger! Such concern for her aides and reporters!

Wonder what Condi would say were she to witness Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners manhandling her daughter. Every day, while the Secretary of State luxuriates in reverential courtesy aboard her private jet, the Americans who pay for it watch TSA goons push wands between their wives’ legs and shove their parents into positions conducive to a thorough pat-down.

Condi wasn’t the only one who objected to treatment usually reserved for us hoi polloi. Her senior advisor, Jim Wilkinson, did what he does best, apparently, and advised, "Diplomacy 101 says you don’t rough your guests up." Psst, Jim: go tell that to the airlines and the TSA, because Diplomacy 101 sounds a lot like Marketing 101. When folks buy an airline ticket with some of the pitifully few dollars left them after taxes, they ought to be thanked and welcomed, not roughed up.

Condi’s pip-squeaks were also infuriated when Sudanese guards “elbowed” them and tried to wrestle a tape away from a reporter. The guards even prevented them from entering a gate.

Well, duh, guys, crawl out from under your rock into the brave new world. Fly commercially a few times, and you’ll learn to deal with challenges like this. What passenger hasn’t been elbowed by a TSA creep intent on peering down blouses and britches? Who hasn’t had tickets, ID, computers, jewelry and other valuables yanked away at the checkpoints? How many hours have we wasted docilely waiting at a gate until Our Masters grant permission for us to pass through it?

At least Condi has recourse. She complains to the press, which scrambles sycophantically to report her pique. The Sudanese ambassador then issues an apology.

Violated passengers can complain, too. If they do so at the checkpoint, to the pervert feeling them up, they are rewarded with a more comprehensive groping. They may even be denied boarding or deliberately delayed so that they miss their flights. Better to remain silent no matter how egregious the insult. Besides, passengers can always file a complaint later, with TSA headquarters. But they should weigh the consequences first: such impertinence could land them on the “No-Fly List.” And their protests avail them nothing because the TSA is not in the habit of apologizing.

There are, of course, larger questions surrounding Ms. Rice’s confab with Sudan’s barbaric regime. Where does the Constitution authorize the Feds to meddle in foreign affairs? Why are American diplomats lending these savages respectability by meeting with them? Or does it work the other way around, given the torture the American government now practices? Why should we taxpayers foot the bill for a bunch of bored bureaucrats to gallivant? Am I paranoid, or does Condi’s confrontation with the Sudanese security forces seem a bit staged? Could it be a pretext for opening yet another front in the War on Terror? Or is there a more modest aim, such as transforming a silly butt-inski desperately seeking gravitas into an equally silly defender of American “honor”? And isn’t it time to lose one of the “z’s” in “Condoleezza”?

We’ll leave such ruminations for another day. At the moment, I’m content to enjoy the spluttering and the arrogant outrage that ever attend Our Masters when what they routinely do unto others is done unto them.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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