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Volume 70, Issue 79, Thursday, January 27, 2005

Opinion

No confidence in new top diplomat

David Salinas
Opinion Columnist

On Wednesday, the "successful" war in Iraq reached another milestone when a transport helicopter crashed, killing 31 soldiers, and six others were killed in separate incidents. The 37 dead was the largest number killed in a single day in Iraq. The death toll for American soldiers in Iraq has reached 1,418. 

The milestone came on the same day Condoleezza Rice was confirmed as Secretary of State, after being probably the worst national security adviser since the position was created. It's ironic but fitting, I suppose.

Along with the U.S. president and vice president, it was Rice who led the disinformation campaign for war against Iraq. As national security adviser, she warned us of the danger of a "mushroom cloud" which would be the effect of a nuclear bomb delivered by Saddam. In reality, a place in which Rice refuses to reside, American weapons inspectors left Iraq empty-handed, and on Jan. 12, the White House admitted that there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found. Weren't those 1,418 soldiers sent there for that very reason? But when talking about the threat, much like a lame Las Vegas lounge singer, Press Secretary Scott McClellan went back to singing an old tune that got the president re-elected, "in a post-Sept. 11 world, it was a threat you could not ignore." Ah yes, 9/11. How did Condoleezza handle herself during that tragedy?

During a press conference in May of 2002, Rice made the following statement, ""I don't think anybody could have predicted that they would try to use an airplane as a missile." Let's ignore the fact that we now have a secretary of state that didn't study World War II, in which Japanese attacked us, kamikaze style, using their planes as missiles. Maybe she couldn't see how there could be a correlation, right? She didn't know they might use a plane. Where would they get one, right? Rice wasn't so ignorant. In that infamous report titled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" received in August 2001, Rice received word that, "Osama bin Laden was capable of a major strike against the U.S., and that the plot could include the hijacking of an American airplane."

So Condoleezza Rice gave faulty information that sent more than 1,400 brave American soldiers to their deaths and ignored real information that could have prevented the murder of more than 3,000 American civilians on the horrific day of Sept. 11, 2001. So if my math is correct, Rice is partly responsible for the deaths of over 4,400 Americans, and counting. During a Senate confirmation hearing, in response to a tough question from California Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rice replied, "I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity." Ms. Rice, you have no integrity to impugn. 

It's been said that Rice, the first black female to be secretary of state, is "embodying the dream of Martin Luther King." I believe the whole point of King's dream was to not judge someone by their skin color, but their actions. By the actions Rice has taken to get to this position, I doubt King would be pleased. But I won't speak for him, I let his own words do that:

"It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine."

Salinas, an opinion columnist for The Daily Cougar, 
can be reached via dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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