Condoleezza Rice avows; President is above law

Condi Rice Pulls a Nixon: If the President Orders Torture, It Must be Legal

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

Students at Stanford stood still as they listened to former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice speak.  As the scholars pondered the words of the prominent woman who presented her case for waterboarding, many mused; “Is it Richard Nixon, or Condoleezza Rice?  Which person thinks a President is above the law?” One might wonder.  Those who viewed a video taped classroom conversation with Secretary Rice, today express astonishment as well.  In her defense for actions she took to advocate for this extreme interrogation techniques Condoleezza Rice both blamed her former boss, George W. Bush and justified his decision.

“The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

Pupils in the room with the Bush Executive Branch envoy and the broader cyberspace community  ponder this interpretation of law and recollect.  More than three decades ago, past President, Nixon said, “When the President does it, that means it is not illegal,” Americans rejected the notion   The United States Constitution was often cited.  Yet, today, Miss Rice remembers the reference differently.  Just as Richard M. Nixon was, once physically removed from the White House, citizen Rice has become the source of infinite fascination.

The erudite educator, former Secretary Rice may recall her history; nonetheless, her recollection is not as the recently released, exhaustive, Senate Intelligence Committee reports reveal.  As National Security Adviser to former President George W. Bush, in July 2002, Condoleezza Rice verbally approved a request from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to waterboard the alleged al-Qaida terrorist, Abu Zubaydah.

Philip Zelikow, the policy representative to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the National Securities Council (NSC) Deputies Committee, remembers as the Senate narrative study states.  Indeed, he expressed his concern for his role in intense “interrogation plans”  only days before the Secretary offered her perspective at Stanford.  In his tome, Mister Zelikow asserted the Administration, inclusive of Miss Rice, was well aware of the questionable legal parameters. The Bush Cabinet understood, how lives and limbs could be crushed.  His knowledge of the macabre methods haunted Mister Zelikow for all these many years.

Today, the former National Securities Council policy commissioner feels he has stayed silent for too long.  Now that light has begun to shine on the Bush Administration’s seek-to-destroy-detainees-will strategy the former dissenter from within the Bush White House believes he must speak of what he classifies as torture.  He states, as is substantiated in the infamous “memos.”

(T)he program developed “interrogation plans” to disorient, abuse, dehumanize, and torment individuals over time.

The plan employed the combined, cumulative use of many techniques of medically-monitored physical coercion. Before getting to water-boarding, the captive had already been stripped naked, shackled to ceiling chains keeping him standing so he cannot fall asleep for extended periods, hosed periodically with cold water, slapped around, jammed into boxes, etc. etc. Sleep deprivation is most important.

Mister Zelikow retraces as Miss Rice does not.  In 2006, the United States Human Rights First organization revealed, since August 2002 almost 100 Iraq and Afghanistan detainees died, while in the custody of Americans. Accounts affirm, at least 34 of the these fatalities were suspected or confirmed homicides.  Most attest, blood was spilled at the hands of the Bush Administration.  How quickly those who approved such torturous measures forget the methods or the madness that allowed for murder.

As an expert in International Affairs; however, the Professor is likely extremely familiar with history further removed from her own personal reality.  Condoleezza Rice could possibly recite the facts as they relate to the ratification of resolution 39/46 of 10, which was adopted and opened for signature on December 1984.  On June 26, 1987, the General Assembly  put into force what the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment advised.

The approved Articles clearly outline the definition of torture, regardless of country or who might reign.  A casual reader need only peruse the first writ to understand what constitutes extreme persecution or a serious crime against humanity.

Article 1

1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

The second statement explicates without exception who might have the power to ignore the initial premise.  In short, legally, the sanctioned rule, which the United States signed onto, states no man, women, child, Head of State, President, Premier, Prime Minister, or even autocrat can authorize the intentional infliction of agony.  Nor can a National Security Adviser advocate for what is essentially illegal and inhumane.

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Yet, Secretary Rice avowed; her conveyance of a communiqué did not amount to a command for consent.  She, personally condoned nothing.  Condoleezza Rice, in her statement to Stanford students declared, “I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency, that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department’s clearance. That’s what I did.”

With International Law in mind, and her own desire not to be implicated in a high crime or misdemeanor, the once top Diplomat, now Political Science Professor and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute proclaims.

“The United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.” (emphasis added)

Perhaps, Condoleezza Rice feels a bit uncertain.  She might think there is need to justify her actions.  As the American people speak of a possible special prosecutor, Professor Rice may fear what the Obama Administration might do.  The current President has yet to issue a pardon to Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, former Commander-In-Chief Bush or any of their cohorts.   Miss Rice may hope her words will elicit the forgiveness Richard Milhous Nixon received from his successor, Gerald Ford.  

Likely, the former Secretary of State now wonders whether her word may be a greater source of “fascination” to someone such as Sir David Frost.  She has no desire to confronted or to accidentally confess to an anchor.  Contrite is not Condie’s style.  For now, she, as other American’s can only reflect on a transcript and wonder, “Is it Condoleezza Rice or Richard Nixon who better channels a uncertain confidence?

Please ponder the program that, were it not for the officially certified clemency, might have done another Administration in.

Frost: The wave of dissent, occasionally violent, which followed in the wake of the Cambodian incursion, prompted President Nixon to demand better intelligence about the people who were opposing him. To this end, the Deputy White House Counsel, Tom Huston, arranged a series of meetings with representatives of the CIA, the FBI, and other police and intelligence agencies.

These meetings produced a plan, the Huston Plan, which advocated the systematic use of wiretappings, burglaries, or so-called black bag jobs, mail openings and infiltration against antiwar groups and others. Some of these activities, as Huston emphasized to Nixon, were clearly illegal. Nevertheless, the president approved the plan. Five days later, after opposition from J. Edgar Hoover, the plan was withdrawn, but the president’s approval was later to be listed in the Articles of Impeachment as an alleged abuse of presidential power.

Frost: So what in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

Frost: By definition.

Nixon: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

Frost: So, that in other words, really you were saying in that answer, really, between the burglary and murder, again, there’s no subtle way to say that there was murder of a dissenter in this country because I don’t know any evidence to that effect at all. But, the point is: just the dividing line, is that in fact, the dividing line is the president’s judgment?

Nixon: Yes, and the dividing line and, just so that one does not get the impression, that a president can run amok in this country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as the CIA’s covert operations are concerned, as far as the FBI’s covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress. I don’t know whether it can be done today or not.

Frost: Pulling some of our discussions together, as it were; speaking of the Presidency and in an interrogatory filed with the Church Committee, you stated, quote, “It’s quite obvious that there are certain inherently government activities, which, if undertaken by the sovereign in protection of the interests of the nation’s security are lawful, but which if undertaken by private persons, are not.” What, at root, did you have in mind there?

Nixon: Well, what I, at root I had in mind I think was perhaps much better stated by Lincoln during the War between the States. Lincoln said, and I think I can remember the quote almost exactly, he said, “Actions which otherwise would be unconstitutional, could become lawful if undertaken for the purpose of preserving the Constitution and the Nation.”

Now that’s the kind of action I’m referring to. Of course in Lincoln’s case it was the survival of the Union in wartime, it’s the defense of the nation and, who knows, perhaps the survival of the nation.

References for a “reasonable” Nixon/Rice reality . . .

Counter Terrorism in the White House

Rachel Maddow – former Rice confidant Philip Zelikow on the torture memos, part 1

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

In his attempt to counter a perceived threat to America, Philip Zelikow, the policy representative to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the National Securities Council (NSC) Deputies Committee, unexpectedly became the threat from within the White House.  

The Bush Administration believed the best way to deal with suspected terrorists was to inflict extreme physical and psychological pressure on these perilous persons.  Mister Zelikow offered his dissent.  In a written and verbally stated opinion, Philip Zelikow contradicted what the occupants of the Oval Office accepted as necessary.  “Individuals suspected of terrorism, can be legally tortured.”  

A short time after the Office of Legal Council (OLC) issued the now infamous judgments which allowed for officially sanctioned torment, Mister Zelikow, his superior, who was then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and her Legal Adviser, John Bellinger, gained access to the torture memos.  After a review, Philip Zelikow stated his concern.  He sensed others within the Administration might share his angst.  However, no one, inclusive of Mister Zelikow,  publicly voiced an apprehension, that is, not until this past week.

Today, Mister Zelikow writes of his silence, and the counter position he took on torture for terrorists.  In an article, the former White House insider explains why did not speak out earlier.  “In compliance with the security agreements I have signed, I have never discussed or disclosed any substantive details about the program until the classified information has been released.”

Now that the memos are in the hands of the people, the man who served as the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, feels a need to address what for too long was avoided.  In his missive The OLC “torture memos”: thoughts from a dissenter the counter force to corruption within the Bush White House speaks out.  He writes . . .

1.  The focus on water-boarding misses the main point of the program.

Which is that it was a program.  Unlike the image of using intense physical coercion as a quick, desperate expedient, the program developed “interrogation plans” to disorient, abuse, dehumanize, and torment individuals over time.

The plan employed the combined, cumulative use of many techniques of medically-monitored physical coercion.  Before getting to water-boarding, the captive had already been stripped naked, shackled to ceiling chains keeping him standing so he cannot fall asleep for extended periods, hosed periodically with cold water, slapped around, jammed into boxes, etc. etc.  Sleep deprivation is most important.

2.  Measuring the value of such methods should be done professionally and morally before turning to lawyers.

A professional analysis would not simply ask: Did they tell us important information?  Congress is apparently now preparing to parse the various claims on this score — and that would be quite valuable.

But the argument that they gave us vital information, which readers can see deployed in the memos just as they were deployed to reassure an uneasy president, is based on a fallacy.  The real question is: What is the unique value of these methods?. . .

3.  The legal opinions have grave weaknesses.

Weakest of all is the May 30 opinion, just because it had to get over the lowest standard — “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” in Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture.  That standard was also being codified in the bill Senator John McCain was fighting to pass.  It is also found in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, a standard that the Supreme Court ruled in 2006 does apply to these prisoners.  Violation of Common Article 3 is a war crime under federal law (18 U.S.C. section 2441), a felony punishable by up to life imprisonment.  (The OLC opinions do not discuss this law because in 2005 the administration also denied the applicability of Common Article 3.)

However, regardless of historic realities, long-held interpretations of international and national law,  and the writ within the insulated world of the Oval Office, those who would like to think the President is above the law, justify inhumane practices.   The so called “Right” rule, that individuals subjected to torture were not touched in ways that would cause them harm.  Conservatives clamor   . . .

The emotional debate surrounding the use of torture has been reignited by last week’s disclosure of Bush-era memos outlining the harsh interrogation practices utilized against high-profile terror detainees, and the legal opinions used to justify them. Such approved techniques involved slapping, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, cramped confinement, “walling” (in which detainees were slammed into a flexible wall), forced nudity, and placing a suspect in a small box with insects. President Obama believes that the tactics reflect America’s loss of its “moral bearings,” which is why he discontinued their use and released the memos. But a cadre of political commentators and former Bush administration officials refute that claim, insisting that the techniques should be permissible either because they don’t actually constitute torture, or because they elicit valuable information – or both. We went through the commentary of the past few days to see who falls into this camp.

“One of the things that I find a little bit disturbing about this recent disclosure is they put out the legal memos, the memos that the CIA got from the Office of Legal Counsel, but they didn’t put out the memos that showed the success of the effort …. I know specifically of reports that I read, that I saw, that lay out what we learned through the interrogation process and what the consequences were for the country.” –Dick Cheney, speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

“The techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA …. As already disclosed by Director Hayden, as late as 2006, even with the growing success of other intelligence tools, fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from those interrogations.” –Former attorney general Michael Mukasey and former CIA director Michael Hayden, in The Wall Street Journal

“It is, yes, good that the U.S.A. is not doing this anymore, but let’s not get too sanctimonious about how awful it was that we indulged in these techniques after watching nearly 3,000 innocent Americans endure god-awful deaths at the hands of religious fanatics who would happily have detonated a nuclear bomb if they had gotten their mitts on one. And let us move on. There is pressing business. (Are you listening, ACLU? Hel-lo?)” –Chris Buckley, on the Daily Beast

“If somebody can go through water-boarding for 183 times, 6 times a day …. it means you’re not afraid of it, it means it’s not torture. If you’ve found a way to withstand it, it can’t possibly be torture.” –Rush Limbaugh

“I don’t see it as a dark chapter in our history at all. You look at some of these techniques – holding the head, a face slap, or deprivation of sleep. If that is torture, the word has no meaning.” –Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume

“I think it’s really pathetic for an American president to do that, and to disavow, in effect, the good faith efforts of a previous administration to protect us in ways that I think were entirely appropriate.” –Bill Kristol, on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume

“I’ve been in hotels with more bugs than these guys faced, and they’re tortured?” –Mike Huckabee, on Fox & Friends

“Ultimately though, apparently, according to the evidence, this stuff worked. And some of these guys spilled some beans that saved some lives. Next time we’re in the same predicament, what’s going to happen?” –Steve Doocy, host of Fox & Friends

“Khalid Sheik Mohammed, I understand, was waterboarded 183 times. Did anyone care about that? Does anyone in America walk around going, ‘I’m really upset that the mastermind of 9/11 was waterboarded 183 times.’ That makes me feel better.” -Brian Kilmeade, host of Fox & Friends

“The idea that torture doesn’t work – that’s been put out from John McCain on down – You know, for the longest time McCain said torture doesn’t work then he admitted in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last summer that he was broken by North Vietnamese. So what are we to think here?” –Rush Limbaugh

“If you go beyond posing questions in an even voice, you’re torturing, according to the Times …. Most Americans understand, when life and death is there, you’ve got to do something more than the Army Field Manual.” –Bill O’Reilley

“By reading this people will be reassured and they’ll see the lunacy of the people on the left who say it’s torture. You know, you can only the use the back of your hand you have t splay your fingers when you slap them in the gut. On the face, you have to sue your fingers splayed, and you have to do it between here and here, and close to here.” –Karl Rove, on The O’Reilly Factor

“Far from ‘green lighting’ torture – or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees – the memos detail the actual techniques used and the many measures taken to ensure that interrogations did not cause severe pain or degradation.” –David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, Justice Department officials under George H.W. Bush, in The Wall Street Journal

American opinions remain split, just as they had been in May 2005, when Philip Zelikow first offered his counter to torture.  Today, if anything is to be done to correct what was authorized for criminal behavior, the people must act.  Citizens have already seen what occurs when the public is apathetic, and awards a Commander-In-Chief absolute power.

References for a tortuous reality . . .

America in Iraq; Bull in China Shop


“Bull in China Shop” Art By Vic Roschkov [Canadian Editorial Cartoonist]

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Americans are five years into a battle gone awry.  Citizens of the United States cry out, “too much blood has been spilled, too many lives and limbs were lost,” we the people want to, “Bring the troops home.”  Hence, Congress holds hearings.  The inquiry is intended to help define the future.  For many it is time to exit Iraq and end a futile war.  The people have questions; when and how will we complete a failed mission.  On April 8, 2008, the Senior Commander of multinational forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, American envoy to Baghdad, spoke to United states Senators and attempted to address the public’s concerns.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker described an Iraq torn and in turmoil.  Each official spoke of the significant, although still-tenuous political progress.  The civil servants assured the United States Senators, Iraq is more stable and secure than it was a mere seven months earlier.  However, they state improvement is “uneven.”  

Senators, who supposedly speak on behalf of the people, proposed there must be a plan.  Several said America needs to make a correction.  A few pronounced the course must be stayed.  All agreed; Americans must have a strategy if Iraq is to ever be a successful, sovereign nation.  These thoughts have been expressed for years, and little truly changes.  A near million [or more] innocent Iraqis have lost their lives and many millions more have no home.  For refugees and residents, employment is but a vision from eras long passed.  Electricity and essentials are not part of daily life.  Nonetheless, reports are progress has been made.

The rhetoric rises high up into the halls of the Capitol.  As the world listens, people cannot help but be reminded of a bull in a china shoppe.

In a boutique, filled with fragile leaded crystal, porcelain wares of superior quality, sumptuous silver, fine figurines, and cherished collectibles, a beast, unfamiliar with the etiquette or elegance in this setting, enters and effectively destroys what once was beautiful.  

Initially, the bovine is attracted to the glimmers of light.  Refracted beams glow as the bull observes the glorious finery.  The shiny surfaces are hypnotic for the animal.  In a stupor, the bull moves towards what attracts him.

The bovine is as Americans.  Citizens of this country are drawn to the radiance of black gold.  Those who depend on petroleum products are mesmerized when they think of a place where the supply seems as endless as their demand.  People who  profit from the sale of fuel are also charmed.  Indeed, those who have the means are more enamored.  The oil-rich know that they can profit from the sale of the substance.  Two of these tycoons work in the White house.

George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are the biggest bulls man has seen for some time.  These leaders of the herd were spellbound as they gazed upon fields of oil.  Moneyed moguls who work within the Executive Branch of government led the herd into a crystal palace, or a nation State known as Iraq.  

The two oilmen elected to office, bullies that they are, had smiled at the mere mention of Texas Tea in the fields of Iraq long before they ever claimed to have reason to invade the symbolic china shoppe.  The aggressive cattle, also known as the Bush Administration, may have appeared clumsy in their calculations.  However, these cows planned their entrance into the specialty store.  The tycoons expected to shock the shopkeepers, and awe their fellow Americans.  The bulls thought they would quickly clean up the mess they made.  Then, they would exit triumphantly with treasures in hand.  The bovine projected that they would accomplish their mission just as suddenly as they crossed the threshold.

However, the livestock did not understand; boutique proprietors and patrons might not welcome the destruction of valuable property.  

Raging bulls rarely contemplate how a perilous circumstance would effect any sane storeowner, shopper, or sovereign nation.  A charging bovine does not comprehend why the clientele within the walls of the shop, or civilians within the confines of a country’s borders does not greet the charging creature with rose petals and open arms.  

Again, we are reminded of an American Administration and the prospects the leaders of the herd envisioned as they proposed the United States and its allies attack Iraq.  

The bulls, President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard B. Cheney, former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and then Secretary of State Colin Powell, and National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice did not consider the culture, the civilization, or the fact that every being has the right to choose independence or his or her leaders.  Nor did the creatures who replaced a few of those in the corral.  Future leaders of the herd were as blinded by the light of power as the previous beefy bulls were.

The cattle now labeled the Cabinet, are no more conscious of what occurs when you purposely break the treasures of others than the earlier group of mammals was.

Hence, the axiom framed by the former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, cattle extraordinaire continues to guide Americans, “If you broke it, you must fix it.”

Indeed, the awkward, unaware animals busted the bone china, crushed the crystal, smashed the silverware, and flattened the figurines, and they continue to do so.  

Fortunately, these bulls have money; although admittedly they beg, borrow, steal, or print the dollars and cents used to fund a futile attempt to fix the country they fractured.  Regrettably, the beasts of burden do not realize they cannot repair what has never made sense to them.  The bulls cannot restore health to a shop that was not fashioned in a style they are familiar with.  Few of these creatures reflect on the wisdom of a physicist, the genius of a man who studied the scientific principles of matter, energy, force, and motion.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

~ Albert Einstein

What the bulls believe is best is send in the young.  Calves trained to act as the bigger beasts did and do, now crash into china shop doors and obliterate the fragile finery that is, or once was life in Iraq.  Generals and Ambassador, similar to the elders in a herd, gather the broken glass.  They collect the cattle in one locale or another.  The emissaries, just as the leaders in a pack, attempt to repair relations with proprietors and the public.  

However, these persons also approach those in the Persian Gulf as the Commander-In-Chief did and does.  To the people in Iraq a bull is a bull is a bull.

None of the livestock fully understand as long as they occupy the shop, more treasures  will be trampled.  The merchant wants no missionaries, or mammals to demolish what for him was his own.  Nor does the retailer appreciate a brutal beast in his shop or State.  The Iraqi citizens, just as customers in the shattered shoppe do not crave advise from cruel cattle.  “Correct” information from a bull who demolishes all creature comforts, seems contrary to those who have been terrorized by out of control cows for too long.

Information is not knowledge.

~ Albert Einstein

Money will not mend what was shattered and what will be razed as long as the bulls reside in country.  Yet, the bulls bellow that they cannot continue to finance the destruction they have done and do.  Cattle exclaim too much cash has gone to cracked crystal.  Senator Clinton, who aspires to be the Lead of the American beasts explains, “We simply cannot give the Iraqi government an endless blank check.  The question might be asked, why not.  

The cattle found the dollars to destroy as they desired.  Why might the Lead bulls and those who wish to have the title of Cattle Commander-In-Chief believe they have the resources to remain in the shoppe, with the promise to be less visible and destructive; yet, the bovine does not have greenbacks available for repair or recompense.

Might the bovines consider as long as Americans stay in the boutique and break the bone china, we owe the proprietor reparations.  We bulls cannot ever fully compensate for what we caused.  The only way we, “the American people,” can clean up the mess we allowed our herd to make is to leave now, with sincere sorrow, and issue a blank check as a meager attempt to pay for the horrors we have wrought.

We cannot turn back the clock; nor are we able to replace the antique vases, or extraordinary entities once titled Mom, Dad, son, daughter, friend, or family.  Bovine blunders and bungles will not provide property owners and patrons to live their lives free of fear and further folly.  Perchance the adage bulls might adopt is, “If you break it; you pay for it and then, please, immediately leave the premises.”

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

~ Albert Einstein

Sources and the Reality of Americans in Iraq; Bull in China Shop . . .

Video: Wexler Confronts Condi on Iraq War Lies; Calls for Contempt Vote

By Wexler For Congress Campaign.  Contact the Congressman at

Cross posted with Permission from Congressman Wexler.

Originally posted on Wednesday February 13, 2008 at 05:11:16 PM EST

Wexler Confronts Condi on Iraq War Lies

Today, in hearings on Capitol Hill, I confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her role in the lies, exaggerations, and misdirection that led us into the Iraq war.

During my questioning, Secretary Rice falsely stated that she never saw intelligence casting doubt on the Bush Administration claims that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.  This unbelievable statement is flatly contradicted by numerous government reports and CIA testimonials.

Sources such as the 2006 Senate Intelligence Report, a January 2004 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report as well as former CIA agents (including Tyler Drumheller) have disclosed that there was contrary intelligence to the information provided to the Bush Administration in the lead up to the Iraq war.

Please view the video above.

Secretary Rice’s responses demonstrate once and for all that we need aggressive oversight over this out of control Administration.  Unfortunately, the Bush Administration has ignored the constitutional right of Congress to provide such oversight.

It is time Congress took aggressive action to assert our rights on behalf of the American people.

The House of Representatives must immediately hold former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten in contempt of Congress for their failure to respond to congressional subpoenas.  

I have been aggressively lobbying Members of Congress to support a vote on contempt, and I am thrilled to report that Speaker Pelosi told me directly that she agrees it is well past time to vote on contempt.  I am anticipating that the House will shortly vote on resolutions of both civil and criminal contempt for both Miers and Bolten.

No one should be immune from accountability and the rule of law.

Not Harriet Miers or Josh Bolten.

And especially not Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.

It is time to defend the Constitution and our rights as a co-equal branch of government.  

I will continue to take on the Bush Administration for their outrageous abuses just as I confronted Condoleezza Rice today and Attorney General Mukasey last week.  (Click here to see my questioning of Mukasey.)

With your help, we will hold these top Bush officials in contempt and continue our efforts to hold impeachment hearings for Vice President Dick Cheney.

Thank you, as always, for your great support.

Yours truly,

Congressman Robert Wexler

Condoleezza Rice Sees Renewed Spirit. Surge! ©

Tonight, Condoleezza Rice clarified the terms, trials, and tribulations.  Secretary Rice spoke of a transformative energy.  She discussed the questionable “Civil War” in Iraq.  The Secretary of State noted the President’s continued “conviction” and “commitment.”  Miss Rice was a featured speaker on the News Hour.  Margaret Warner interviewed the honorable Secretary, Condoleezza Rice.  This esteemed Cabinet member, known for being “closer to the President” than the rest of his staff declared

There is no doubt that the president went into this phase with the same conviction and the same commitment that he’s held throughout this war.

And that is that the decision to go into Iraq was because it was in the interest and the security interests of the United States to do so, and that failure in Iraq would have grave circumstances, grave consequences for American interests, for the interests of our friends and allies in the region, and, indeed, for global security.

Pray tell Miss Rice how secure are we as the violence escalates in Iraq and travels beyond Middle Eastern borders.  Since the invasion of this Persian Gulf nation, terrorism has been on the rise.  Occupying  the country furthered the strife.  Currently, throughout the world anti-American sentiments, thrive.

Globally, the United States is considered the enemy.  Those in many countries, including our own, do not think we are truly working towards world peace.  I ask, is this embattled endeavor in our best interest or in the best interest of our allies?  I feel safe in saying, evidence shows we are not acting in the interest of Iraqis.  Thousands of innocents are have lost their lives, limbs, and sight.  More are maimed daily.

Miss Rice, you and your compassionate leader, our Commander-In-Chief say that we are moving “forward,” the strategy has changed; we will not stay the course.  Yet, you profess

So that’s not going to change; that conviction, that commitment is not going to change.

The president has been very open to all kinds of suggestions as to how to meet the commitment to help an Iraqi government be able to sustain itself and defend itself and govern.

Open and closed to submissions that conflict with his steadfast dictums.  According to an article in the Washington Post, the President “expressed little enthusiasm for the central ideas of a bipartisan commission.”  Mr. Bush let it be known he has no desire to reduce military forces in Iraq; nor does he intend to introduce new avenues for a diplomatic approach in this region.  He remains steadfast.  Mr. Bush will not speak to those that do not do as he deems correct.

Secretary Rice, you state

And I would just note: It’s very interesting, when the Baker-Hamilton commission came out, that was the same conviction that that very illustrious group of Americans held, that we can’t afford to have a failure in Iraq.

Oh, Miss Rice I interpret the words of the Baker and Hamilton differently.  Again, referring to a report published on December 7, 2006, in the Washington Post, I discern words of warning.  Apparently, each of the co-chairs of the Iraq Study Group declared “success in Iraq would not be guaranteed even if all their 79 recommendations were adopted by Congress and the administration.” The Baker-Hamilton Commission actually wrote in the final submission

The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.  Violence is increasing in scope and lethality.  Attacks on U.S. forces and U.S. casualties continue at an alarming rate.  The Iraqi people are suffering great hardship. 

The democratically-elected government that replaced Saddam Hussein is not adequately advancing the key issues of national reconciliation, providing basic security, or delivering essential services.  Economic development is hampered.  The current approach is not working.  And the ability of the United States to influence events is diminishing.

The United States has committed staggering resources.  Our country has lost almost 2,900 Americans; 21,000 more have been wounded.  The United States has spent an estimated $400 billion in Iraq, and costs could rise well over $1 trillion.  Many Americans are, understandably, dissatisfied. 

Our ship of state has hit rough waters.  It must now chart a new way forward.  No course of action in Iraq is guaranteed to stop a slide toward chaos.

It seems to me the Commission concludes that, thus far we have failed.  Our actions have created a chaos that is unsurpassed and unimaginable.  I agree; the Baker Hamilton report suggests there are other options that we may need to consider.  However, it seems clear, Mr. Bush is not truly considering these; nor are you Secretary Rice,

The White House was yesterday considering an even deeper military commitment in Iraq, with a short-term deployment of 20,000 extra forces to Baghdad, a day after the US army chiefs warned that the force could break under the strain of the war.

Meanwhile, the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, ruled out a diplomatic overture to Syria and Iran to enlist their support in stemming the chaos in Iraq.

The two developments reinforce reports that the White House is leaning towards a broad rejection of the recommendations from the Iraq Study Group for a withdrawal of US combat forces by early 2008, and for the opening of talks with Tehran and Damascus.

Surge is on the horizon.

Miss Rice, as you sat calmly addressing the nation or at least the Nightly News Hour audience the new Secretary of Defense was laying out the strategy, presenting an image of moving forward.  Since the Joint Chiefs of Staff and many high-ranking military officials oppose the Bush strategy of “surge,’ justification needed to be found elsewhere.  Support was sought and realized among the lowly service men and women.  The Whitehouse turned to the humble, the hurt, those in need and asked, ‘would you welcome some help?’ .Solidiers tell Gates they want more troops. 

Perhaps, misery loves company.  There is lots of agony amongst our service persons.

I’ve noticed, Margaret [Warner of the News Hour] that, really, the Baker-Hamilton commission, but also since the elections, a renewed spirit by Americans, whatever their views of the decision to go to war, a renewed spirit in the Congress, among outside experts that the real issue is: How do we succeed under the circumstances?

Miss Rice the spirit is not “renewed” in defense of the war; people here want US [the United Sates] out of Iraq.  The citizens of Iraq wanted us to leave “their” country long ago. 

The recent midterm elections gave us, and them a sense of hope!  Our countrymen imagined that our message would be heard.  We, worldwide, those outside of the White House, want no war!  If there was a spirit to be renewed it was in the direction of peace, not war.  Citizens of Iraq and America want no surge!

Secretary Rice, you mention “commitment” and “conviction” in relationship to Iraq.  I see that you and the President have a particular dedication to mass murder and mayhem.  People around the globe, including many among the military brass, have another agenda.  If there is a “win” to be had, and most of us believe  this war is a lost cause.  We hope the solution will  be focused on achieving a peaceful, diplomatic, and deliberate  end to this tragic situation.  We want no more protracted and poorly planned missions.

Sources for a renewed spirit or surge!

  • Secretary of State Rice Places Conditions on Iran, Syria for Talks. News Hour. Public Broadcasting Service.
  • Iraq Study Group. United States Institute of Peace.
  • Iraq Study Group Fact Sheet. United States Institute of Peace.
  • Iraq Study Group Press Conference Transcript. United States Institute of Peace. Wednesday, December 6, 2006
  • pdf Bush Appears Cool to Key Points Of Report on Iraq, President Talks of Forming ‘New Strategy.’  By Peter Baker and Robin Wright.  Washington Post. Friday, December 8, 2006; A01
  • Bush Appears Cool to Key Points Of Report on Iraq, President Talks of Forming ‘New Strategy.’  By Peter Baker and Robin Wright.  Washington Post. Friday, December 8, 2006; A01
  • pdf Iraq Panel Proposes Major Strategy Shift; Study Group Calls for New Diplomacy, Greater Advisory Role for U.S. Military, By Michael Abramowitz and Robin Wright.  Washington Post. Thursday, December 7, 2006; Page A01
  • Iraq Panel Proposes Major Strategy Shift; Study Group Calls for New Diplomacy, Greater Advisory Role for U.S. Military, By Michael Abramowitz and Robin Wright.  Washington Post. Thursday, December 7, 2006; Page A01
  • Bush likely to reject study group call for withdrawal from Iraq, By Suzanne Goldenberg. The Guardian. Saturday December 16, 2006
  • Not What the American or Iraqi People Want, By William M. Arkin. Washington Post.
  • New Survey: Iraqis Want a Speedy U.S. Exit — and Back Attacks on Our Forces. Editors and Publishers. November 21, 2006
  • Soldiers tell Gates more troops needed in Iraq. Cable News Network. December 21, 2006
  • War in the Wind, Blast Buries New York City Building ©

    9/11 Photograph, By Ted S. Warren, Associated Press.
    WABC News. Photograph July 10, 2006.

    A building in New York City is buried.  Fires are blazing.  It is highly possible people were killed or injured.  The public speculates.  Could it be a bomb blast, an act of terrorism, homegrown or international?  Might the cause be a gas leak or an electrical explosion?  Perhaps, it is a crime of vengeance.  Early on, suicide was not considered.  For me, while the cause is important, it pales in comparison to the fact.

    War is in the air; it blows with the wind.  Acts of violence travel.  They cannot be isolated or contained to lands far from our shores.  If we accept war anywhere, we consent to it here.  Warfare is not a concept; it is concrete.  Combat comes easily to the minds of men or women in conflict.  Witness today, yesterday, and everyday.  We as a nation are at war.  While the struggle is far from our shores, it looms large in our collective psyche.

    Our leaders reassure us, and on the surface, Americans accept the façade they present.  [Some] Americans love when Bush bellows and Cheney chants, “We will confront them overseas so we do not have to confront them here at home.”  Americans applaud this non-sequitur logic.  They surmise war can be isolated and they are insulated.  In 2004, that was the battle cry.  There were no terrorist attacks on American shores since September 11, 2001.  Therefore, the theory was proposed, President Bush and his hawkish policies protected us.  Many accepted this as true.

    They then cast their ballots for this magnificent man.  They gave the Bush, Cheney team their mandate, or so that is how the Administration framed it.  Again, and again the Emperor exclaimed he had capital to spend and he spent it.  Thus, we have the cost of war.

    Causalities abound; the numbers are climbing.  Iraqi civilians are raped, maimed, murdered; yet, they do not count.  They are merely collateral damage.  Citizens of the United States remain safe, sane, or so it appears.  Thus, we support our President and allow him to continue in office.

    However, in our heart-of-hearts, we know; America is not out of harm’s way.  We recognize war is in the wind.  When a building explodes or implodes in New York City, we all panic with reason.  Citizens understand what they never wish to express.  As long as we accept war is an option, we are admitting that it can and will touch us, just as it affects our “enemies.”  No one is sheltered from the scars combat causes.

    King George II cannot protect and defend America from farther feuds; nor can Cheney or Rumsfeld.  These lovelies created what comes closer.  With thanks to our beloved President and his Cabinet, the possibility of war within the United States is real.

    For now, the prospect settles only in the recesses of our minds, and on drawing boards elsewhere.  Still, we all know the threat is valid.  Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice can rant and rage about States rights; yet, she too has no power to guard against the aggression she helped to promote.

    Once the notion is placed on the table, the tremors will be felt throughout the globe.  No man is an island; nor can any of us ever be insulated or isolated.

    After receiving many replies to this treatise, I realized that what might be so obvious to me, the writer, is not apparent, to many a dear reader.  Perchance I was not clear in my communication.

    Possibly some are so offended by this Administration and the ample accusations; terrorists are everywhere, they missed my message.  Those persons, and admittedly, typically I am among these, distrust Bush and the Bunch so much, that they see any talk of terrorism as a means for distracting Americans from the real issues.

    There are those that awoke hours after the initial blasts.  They already read and heard the theories.  These individuals knew the explosion was likely a suicide attempt.  Therefore, these bookworms thought I was telling tales.  I was stirring the National Security soup of the day.  For these persons, I was making an issue of what was nothing more than a “normal” event in the course of any day.

    Numerous persons are concerned even consumed with an exit strategy.  They want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  An event in a single day is not their focus.  These individuals might not question the entrance into war per se.  They struggle with the constant loss this conflict brings.  They may think stuff happens; hostilities occur, related to Iraq or not.

    I am repeatedly reminded, that as a whole, most people think war is an option, the one of last resort; however, the alternative is often considered acceptable.

    Conceivably, that may be the challenge.  When I wrote this treatise, I was speaking of my truth.  For me, “War is not an option, not now or ever!”  I do not think terrorism is a reason for combat.  I believe slavery, genocide, homicide, rape, and racism were not the causes of wars in the past.  Economic power and the desire for supremacy are, in my mind, the rationale behind battles and bickering.

    For me, the blast was a reminder of where we have been.  It is where we still are.  On this planet, war is in the wind!  It has been for centuries.

    For those that rose hours after investigations began, they could again sink into the comfort of complacency.  For the many that bash-Bush, more power to you.  I was not denying the validity of your beliefs.  I share these.  My only question was and is, why is war an option, ever?  I believe that if it is in the wind in the East, it will be in the air traveling westward.

    We can sit in the comfort of our cushy chairs.  We can profess how terrible the terrorist are or how awful the insurgent Bush is.  However, as long as we, Americans, allow for and accept war as an option, on our shores or on those aboard, then we can never know with certainty where the next strike will hit.  I think this is why those on the streets at the time of the blast were shaken.

    When I penned this missive, I was speaking to the stress exhibited by those there, near the building in New York City.  I was also addressing my own eternal anxiety.  Why is violent behavior ever an option?  Even now, believing the cause of the blast was an attempted suicide does not ease my mind.  Why do we aggressively strike out and hurt others or ourselves?

    I hope this communiqué helps to clarify my intent.  Perhaps, those that felt confused will re-visit the message.

    Please Peruse the Possibilities When War is in the Wind.

    Four-Story Building Collapses on East Side of Manhattan, New York Times. The Associated Press. July 10, 2006
    New York building collapses, burns, CNN News. July 10, 2006
    At least 11 injured in Manhattan building collapse, By Wil Cruz, Lauren Johnston and Chick Benett. July 10, 2006
    UPDATE 2-Building collapses in New York City, Reuters. July 10, 2006. 9:59am ET
    President Bush Discusses Progress in the War on Terror July 12, 2004
    Policies in Focus. National Security Strategy, The White House.
    Cost of War.
    Iraq Body Count.
    Bush has a big agenda for 2005, By David Gregory, Chief White House correspondent. NBC News. December 30, 2004
    President Holds Press Conference. “I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.” November 4, 2004
    Iraq insurgency in ‘last throes,’ Cheney says, CNN News. Monday, June 20, 2005
    Iraq: Collateral damage, By Ashok Mitra. India Limited. March 25, 2003
    Bush Began to Plan War Three Months After 9/11. Book Says President Called Secrecy Vital. By William Hamilton. Washington Post. Saturday, April 17, 2004
    How Many Dead Iraqis? Guessing about collateral damage. By Fred Kaplan. Slate.Tuesday, February 25, 2003
    Strictly Confidential. Likely Humanitarian Scenarios. United Nations Document.  December 10, 2002
    Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha?, By Tim McGirk, Baghdad. Time Magazine. March 19, 2006, PDF version
    The Promise of Democratic Peace, Why Promoting Freedom Is the Only Realistic Path to Security. By Condoleezza Rice. The Washington Post. Sunday, December 11, 2005
    Remarks at the American University in Cairo, By Secretary Condoleezza. Rice Cairo, Egypt. June 20, 2005
    “America will not impose our style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, to attain their own freedom, and to make their own way.”
    The Iran Plans,
    Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb? By Seymour M. Hersh. The New Yorker. April 17, 2006
    North Korea missles rattle European markets, El Financiero en línea. July 5, 2006

    Forbes: The World’s Most Powerful Women, Condoleezza Rice ©

      Forbes declares Condoleezza Rice is the “Worlds Most Powerful Woman.”  Many regard Secretary of State Rice as “number one.”  Miss Rice stands at the side of the man that some say, is the “most powerful man in the world,” President George W. Bush.  She is the strength that King George II relies on.  It is said, during her first four years in the Bush Junior Whitehouse Miss Rice was both a protégé and mentor to President of the United States. There are those that believe this relationship continues.

    George W. and Condie chat easily; they seem to agree on everything. Publicly they have no differences.  Some say “sports” is there only bone of contention; at times she may support one team and he another.  Politically, it seems Miss Rice and the President share views, implicitly.

    During the President’s first term, Condoleezza Rice served as National Security Advisor.  In this position, Condie guided King George II.  She assisted him, helping him to understand foreign policy and security issues.  Miss Rice is decisive, an authority, and she delegates well. Then, Security Advisor Rice offered her views; she shared her expertise, and assisted a novice leader.

    As a friend and fellow, Condoleezza Rice is invaluable.  The lovely and loyal advisor helped Baby Bush respond to the September 11, 2001, attacks.  Declaring war on terrorism was was thought to be her dictum.  Miss Rice played a powerful role in drafting many Presidential plots.  The war on Iraq was, in large part, influenced by her wisdom.

    Faulty intelligence passed from Condie to George. Papers suggesting Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” and that these were hidden throughout Iraq were delivered to Miss Rice before the President ever saw them.  Then, National Security Advisor Rice authenticated the information.  She presented “the facts” to the President as truth.  GW trusted her counsel, as he always had.  Mr. Bush had no reason to doubt the intellect that he long relied on.

    King George II understood that the senior King, Daddy George, had faith in the savoir-faire of the elegant Miss Rice.  Papa Bush first took note of the scholar when she served as provost at Stanford University.  President George Herbert Walker Bush asked Condie to serve as Director of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council.  Ultimately, he promoted her to Senior Director.  She served the President well. Bush senior acknowledged this; the then President asked Condie to serve as his Special Assistant.  She advised George Herbert on National Security Affairs.  In 1986, Miss Rice was again asked to represent the United States; she became Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The woman is quite impressive!  Her record is remarkable!  This author writes this last sentence with a smile, ahem.

    Some say, it was Daddy that encouraged the relationship between Baby Bush and the stately Miss Rice.  Others believe that King George II and Condie merely gravitated to each other.  They need each other; a student needs a teacher and an educator needs her/his pupil.  At times it is difficult to discern the roles.  They may be interchangeable.  The most powerful man and the most powerful woman are, often, indistinguishable.

    However, we can be certain they support each other whole-heartedly.  When President Bush appointed Miss Rice to the position of Secretary of State he spoke of this saying, “During the last four years I’ve relied on her counsel, benefited from her great experience and appreciated her sound and steady judgment. And now I’m honored that she’s agreed to serve in my Cabinet.”

    Power serves the powerful, and now we see it on the pages of Forbes.  Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice serves the most powerful man in the world and she is declared the “most powerful woman in the world.”  I am reminded, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts, absolutely!”

    Please read a Frontline exposé, Paths to Power.  This document offers an interesting discussion. “The first Bush administration foreshadows many aspects of the Bush administration 12 years later.”  Condie is among the featured players.

    Condoleezza Rice Says, “Stop Making Excuses For Terrorists” ©

    This is a day of daft.  Earlier, I received and posted an electronic mail, that for me was an enigma.  I wondered; would I want to publish this passionate plea, one filled with party line propaganda.  I struggled with the idea.  This epistle stressed a thought that I disdain.  “I do not care” disturbs me.  Finally, I resigned myself.  I decided it is important to share what is truth for many Americans.  I surmise if we do not recognize what is within the minds of others, we know little.  Therefore, I offered a glimpse into the mind of a “Compassionate Conservative.”  You may wish to read, Scary Song of Compassion? From Conservative Pamela Foster ©

    Then I turned on the television.  I was looking forward to my daily dose of News Hour viewing.  Journalist Jim Lehrer was interviewing Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.  I listened intently, always wishing to understand the views of this administration, and then it happened.  The Whitehouse, through Miss Rice, is promoting a stance similar to the scary one of Pamela Foster.  The email that I read earlier is now, virtually, United States policy.

    The words of Secretary of State Rice will, henceforth, be pushed on the people, “When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists?  No one is making them do it [engage in violent behaviors]. They’re doing it because they want to create chaos and to undermine our way to life.”

    My thought is this; I recognize the administration rejects science.  Scientists were not included in the energy commission panel.  They do not advise on issues relating to the environment.  Nonetheless, I request that physicists be placed in the State Department.  America might benefit from the wisdom of cause and effect. Remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “For every action, there is an equal and opposing reaction.”

    Perhaps you prefer the principles of String Theory, “There is no such thing as a pure vacuum in space.  Depending upon which interrelated properties of the basic fabric that one attempts to define, the distinctions are only arbitrary and illusionary.”

    I offered a portion of the interview for your reading.  You may read the rest at Newsmaker: Condoleezza Rice, July 28, 2005

    JIM LEHRER: What about the additional element here that, increasingly, terrorism experts and Muslim experts are saying that the combination of Iraq and other foreign policy decisions by the United States are actually creating more terrorists every day than they are eliminating them.

    CONDOLEEZZA RICE: When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists? The terrorists on Sept. 11 attacked the United States. We weren’t in Iraq. We weren’t even in Afghanistan on Sept. 11.

    They have attacked in places that had no forces in either place. They’ve attacked all over the world. They’ve attacked in Morocco and in Bali and in Egypt and in London and in Madrid.

    When are we going to stop making excuses for the terrorists and saying that somebody is making them do it? No, these are simply evil people who want to kill. And they want to kill in the name of a perverted ideology that really is not Islam, but they somehow want to claim that mantle to say that this is about some kind of grievance. This isn’t about some kind of grievance. This is an effort to destroy, rather than to build.

    And until everybody in the world calls it by name — the evil that it is — stops making excuses for them, then I think we’re going to have a problem. And I hope that after the bombings of innocent people in London, innocent people at Sharm el-Sheikh, innocent children in Iraq, that people will call this by name and stop making excuses for these people.

    No one is making them do it. They’re doing it because they want to create chaos and to undermine our way to life.

    Dear Reader . . . I shared my thoughts.  Please feel free to offer yours.  I invite you to stimulate discussion, advance understanding, to rant, rage, or agree with the esteemed Miss Rice.  I look forward to your contribution.

    Publicly Rice Supports Bolton. Yet, Privately? ©

    President Bush nominated John R. Bolton for the office of United Nations Ambassador.  There is much public support for Mr.  Bolton; however, there are those on both sides of the aisle that do not believe that he would serve this nation well.  Privately, there are questions and concerns.  However, the President stands strong; he wants the former Under Secretary of State to represent our country.  The President is very vocal in his support of Bolton.  He is certain that he made the “right” choice and “Right” it is.  Though many express qualms; the president continues to persevere.

    There are those that speak softly of their reservations; among them is Republican, Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio.  After hearing testimony from people that voluntarily came forward to testify against this nominee, twenty of them staunch republicans, Voinovich publicly voiced his concerns.  The hearings were postponed; the vote to approve was delayed.  Karl Rove, the “architect” and the president’s most powerful political adviser stepped in; he called Mr. Voinovich to stress the need for unity.  Chief of Staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., chimed in as well.  Each reminded the Senator that publicly support must appear solid.

    Condoleezza Rice sings the party line; she also supports the appointment of this nominee with resolve.  She has reason.

    The reason, she does not want Mr. Bolton to serve as deputy Secretary of State!  Miss Rice acknowledges that John would prefer a position in the State Department; however, she is certain that she does not want to work with Mr. Bolton directly.  She knows that Bolton helped the President to get into office in 2000 and that the Administration feels a need to return the favor.  Condie understands the Administration’s belief; John “deserves something.”  Nonetheless, she cannot bring herself to work closely with this man.  Therefore, she offers her outspoken support to the nominee.

    When the President first nominated Bolton to serve as United Nations Ambassador, Republicans and Democrats alike wondered whether Rice influenced the choice.  It is well known that that Rice wanted Bolton in a position where his contribution to policy would be limited.  She felt certain that Bolton needed to be controlled; he needed to be given instructions and be forced to follow these.  She also believed that Bolton was a loose cannon.  Is it possible that Secretary of State Rice persuaded the President to appoint John R. Bolton to the United Nations to avoid having him in the State Department?

    It is; after all, she could easily make the case.  “Bolton’s critical stance toward the United Nations dovetailed perfectly with the administration’s own thinking.”  If she pressed her points well, she would be free; Condie would not be burdened with a closer confluence.  Hence, Miss Rice publicly announced her support for the appointment.  She made calls to members of congress, Democrats and Republicans.  She asked them to endorse the nominee.  She requested confirmation and reassured them.  She emphasized that Bolton would be “strictly scripted by Washington.”

    Three Senators confirm that Miss Rice spoke with them, stating, “We think that we can control him.  If he strays from the reservation, he’s out.”  Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island) said Rice “was clear that he was going to work for her.”  The Los Angeles Times reports that a senior State Department official said that he could not comment on Rice’s private conversations, however, he did offer this: “The secretary has made clear she proposed John and she wanted John for the job.”  Of course she did, she did not and does not want an intimate working relationship with a man such as Mr. Bolton.

    Therefore, Secretary Rice pushes the appointment.  The man that calls her “part of the family,” does as well.  Miss Rice and Mr. Bush are working on this mission together.  They each are adamant; they state John Bolton is a team player.  Is he?  Let us look at the record, his history of plays and ploys.

    Within the Bush camp and from the first there was a known riff between the neo-conservatives such as Vice President Dick Cheney and the more moderate republicans such as Secretary of State Colin Powell.  It has long been believed that Powell was given his Cabinet position because he had the support of the “people;” however, he was never a party favorite.  He was not among the religious or reactionary “rights.”  Therefore, he was considered a problem before he began his service.

    It is said that hawkish Vice President Dick Cheney saw the predicament and took action; he sent John R. Bolton onto the scene.  Those in the State Department believe that Bolton was placed as an adversary, his assignment: obstruct the efforts of the more restrained Secretary of State Colin Powell.  Bolton did!  Bolton was being a team player; the question is which team was he on.  Was he working for team USA, or for team Neo-Con?  Was he working for either team, neither team, or was he merely teaming his interests with individuals whose beliefs parallel his own?

    Possibly the Bolton biography will provide a greater perspective.  Bolton, a lifelong conservative, was a student organizer for the father of true neo-conservatives, Barry Goldwater.  He worked diligently on the Goldwater presidential campaign.  Mr. Bolton was the protégé of extreme conservative, former Senator Jesse Helms [Republican- North Carolina].  He served under both Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  Bolton, like G.W. and his Dad, is a graduate of Yale University.  Mr. Bolton studied law and it was in this capacity that John R. Bolton endeared himself to Bush 43.  As a well-trained attorney and as a self-proclaimed life-long combatant, he was able to fight for the President in the 2000 Florida election recount.  Bolton helped the president to win his first national victory.

    Though Bolton has allied himself with Neo-conservatives, those that know him said that he is actually an advocate of “America” first.  He believes the interests of the United States are foremost.  Bolton has no desire to protect, preserve, or prolong international relations.  The “United Nations,” for Mr. Bolton is an oxymoron; his only allegiance is to his country, his beliefs, and his preferred policies, accurately assessed or not.

    According to MSNBC and Newsweek, as an envoy Mr. Bolton is “alleged to have misused or hyped flawed intelligence against Syria, China, and Iran.”  He has hidden expert information and threatened subordinates.  He has belittled intelligent agents for not doing as he deems is best.  He has attempted to fire experts when they have been unwilling to supply [the false] data that would benefit his cause.  His cause, America above all others; other countries be damned.

    In July 2003, while in Seoul Korea, just before engaging in crucial six-nation talks, Undersecretary of State Bolton gave a speech.  In this talk, Bolton denounced North Korea calling it a “hellish nightmare.”  In referring to its leader, Kim Jong-il, he pronounced him a “tyrannical dictator.”  This action was considered characteristically “undiplomatic;” the timing unbelievable.  Superiors at the State Department felt forced to have Bolton return home.  Asking him to negotiate with those that he demeaned, debased, and degraded would not be wise or politically correct.

    Months later, in November 2003, Bolton was responsible for the stalled agreements with Iran.  Our ally, Britain was working with us in an attempt to end nuclear proliferation in the country.  Talks were not going well.  British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, noted that Bolton “was making it impossible to reach allied agreement on Iran’s nuclear program” Straw, complained to then Secretary of State Colin Powell.  He stated that Bolton was a hindrance and not a help, his language was harsh, his stance inflexible.  Colin Powell realized that negotiations were at a standstill. Powell searched for answers.  He asked a state department aide to speak to experts from Bolton’s own Nonproliferation group.  He hoped to determine the truer estimations for what was and what could be.

    The aide discovered that Bolton had been withholding information and was choosing to use language that distorted the nonproliferation experts’ own conclusions.  The aide passed this information on to then Secretary of State Powell and finally, with accurate facts in hand, the Secretary was able to resolve the nonproliferation issue.  The talks succeeded; however, with no thanks to Bolton.

    More recently, it was discovered that these experts told the aide that they feared retaliation from Bolton.  These State Department officials said that they were frightened of the man; his erratic behavior was stifling.  The aide, when interviewed revealed that that the experts were “adamant that we not let Bolton know we had talked to them.”

    In December 2003, the United States and Britain were working together; they were attempting to achieve a nonproliferation agreement with Libya.  They tried to force Libya to surrender its nuclear program.  However, Bolton undermined the process here as well.  In fact, Newsweek reported that the negotiations “succeeded only after British officials “at the highest level” persuaded the White House to keep Bolton off the negotiating team.”

    There is so much more that gives Miss Rice pause.  Bolton’s interactions with associates is noteworthy; and not for the good.  Yet, there is the party position.  This was well stated by Republican Senator Norm Coleman while speaking on Public Broadcasting’s, Nightly News-hour.  Senator Coleman stated, “This is about the president’s choice of a person  . . . the president has said that we need to reform the U.N. He’s chosen someone who is blunt, who is tough; that’s needed in these times.”  Admittedly, Coleman acknowledges, “there is some division, but I do believe the president will be able to pick the person he believes is most suited to the difficult task of U.N. reform.”  Bolton was chosen to do as he does best, bully.

    It might be said that in the past Bolton did as he was hired to do; he obstructed and intimidated.  It might also be mused that if one does as he is hired to do, then he is, in fact, a “team player.”  We might also consider that Bolton did not work in collaboration with Britain, with Powell, or with his own “team” of experts, and that the word “team” is loosely defined for a man such as Bolton.  What is well defined and without doubt, Condoleezza Rice, though publicly supportive of Mr. Bolton, does not wish to be on the same team, or at least not in the same dugout with this man, John R. Bolton, and so the beat goes on!

    For other thoughts on Bolton, please visit  . . .
    LeftCoaster, “Win Some, Lose Some”
    Daily Kos, “Last Gasp for Moderate Republicans?” by Hunter.
    Update; a recent report from The American Prospect, “The President’s Man” by By Terence Samuel

    Condoleezza Rice Closes Door on Terrorism ©

    No this title does not tell the tale that you might suppose; we have not closed the door on international terrorism, only the reporting of it.  We have not conquered the problem; we have only restricted information concerning it.

    The State Department, under the auspices of Condoleezza Rice has abruptly decided not to release its annual report on international terrorist incidents.  In the past twenty years, two volumes were routinely published.  One was for public review, and another for classified personnel only.  Now, there will only be one report available and it will not be widely released.

    Why might this be?  Some State Department officials say that the job is no longer theirs.  The National Counter-Terrorism Center, an organization created by Congress, on the recommendation of the independent 9/11 Commission, now calculates these numbers. Therefore, the State Department argues that the job is no longer theirs and they need not be involved.

    However, according to several Intelligence community sources, this is not the true reason or rationale for the decision.  They say that this move is political.  The Secretary and her Department do not wish to be embarrassed by their own statistics.  They do not have a palatable way to explain recent reports.  In 2004, there were 625 attacks; while in 2003, there were only 175.  How would the Secretary defend this?  After all, the President claims that we are making progress in our War-on-Terrorism.

    How would she justify this twenty-year high!  What would Miss Rice say when asked why this number does not include insurgent attacks in Iraq?  It may be argued that the methodology differs from year to year; however, it has not changed in the past two decades.  Suggestions for change were proposed, but not adopted.  In each year, the same sound techniques were used.

    It seems, just as access to all information from this Whitehouse does.  The doors are closed, reports are sealed, secrecy is the mantra, and the message is missing.

    It is official, Knight-Ridder Newspapers quotes from this post,GOODBYE PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM? (updated 4/16) by Larry C. Johnson

    The story, On the Media, Sunday April 24, 2005, See No Terror, Hear No Terror

    More on the story, Condi kills 19-year annual U.S. terrorism report by by SusanHu, DailyKos
    The story behind the story, General Accounting Office statistic on Terrorism.

    The story resulting from the story, The Mercury News, Representative Waxman demands probe of State Department terrorism reports, by Barry Schweid

    As days go by, the story evolves.
    MaxSpeaks, You Listen! takes us to The Independent Institute
    “Evidence that the U.S. May Be Losing the Global War on Terror” By Ivan Eland