Monday, March 31, 2014

War, War, War and Condi Rice

In Against All Enemies, Richard Clarke said aptly that Bush aggressing against Iraq would have been like FDR, after Pearl Harbor, deciding to attack Mexico. Condi Rice, my former student, now oil woman and major figure at Rand, advised Bush in this process. She would be much better off taking some time out to look at herself in the mirror and apologizing for what she has done.


Instead, she has doubled down. Having poisoned the Middle East and American soldiers with yet more depleted uranium, having led torture of prisoners, she thinks the US should not be "war weary." But as the upsurge against Obama's attempt to shoot missiles into Syria revealed, the American people are, fortunately, sick of war. Perhaps Condi was shielded from the great hostility to the elite before the Iraq war. But she might get the idea that her crowd of neo-cons, McCains and other barbaric fantasists are increasingly on the outs with most people (opinion in Congressional districts ran 9 to 1 against firing missiles at Syria as Tom Cole discovered in Oklahoma and Elijah Cummings in Maryland).


The following letters were sent to me by Coleen Rowley about Condi's upcoming visit to University of Minnesota on April 17. See here and here. They are personal because Condi is out of touch with the reality that people get killed, become maimed or sick, or are tortured or become torturers from these imperial enterprises.

In her stereotypical view,, "When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum." No, when America aggresses (and today fires off drones into countries killing civilians where the US has not even declared war), it produces more and more enemies with a just cause. Its long wars of occupation are counterproductive and harm many people, abroad and here...


So people look for a personal explanation for her being so out of touch. In some way, it is just that power has gone to her head, made her endorse things that no reasonable person should, and that she, like many others in the elite, then doubles down, foolishly, on viciousness. A sad case...


Colleen writes:

"U of M Professor Bill Messing sent me this Washington Post blog. If you were bummed out by the comments to the StarTribune article about Condoleezza Rice, maybe the comments here will raise your spirits.


"Condoleezza Rice: U.S. can’t afford to be war-weary

By Aaron Blake

March 27 at 11:09 pm

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice says that American leaders need to resist the temptation to become weary of war, according to a report of her remarks at a fundraiser.

'I fully understand the sense of weariness,' she told a GOP fundraiser Wednesday, according to reports. 'I fully understand that we must think: ‘Us, again?’ I know that we’ve been through two wars. I know that we’ve been vigilant against terrorism [If the Iraq and Afghanistan aggressions are "vigilant," what would be sleepwalking?]. I know that it’s hard. But leaders can’t afford to get tired. Leaders can’t afford to be weary [this is the opposite of leadership; Condi is the un-Martin Luther King...].”

President Obama has made clear in recent weeks that the Russian incursion into Ukraine's Crimean peninsula doesn't yet call for military intervention, and unlike the conflict in Syria, Obama hasn't broached the concept of using force in Ukraine.

As with the conflict in Syria, polls show the American people are highly resistant to military action in Ukraine -- especially after lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rice said the United States has taken a step back in conflicts including Syria, Ukraine and others.

'When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum,' Rice said."


Coleen comments:

"Obviously she can't get enough of war! She's not weary of it because she doesn't have to live under drones and/or worry about some special covert teams busting down her door in the middle of the night. Her only role in war is to put on Gucci shoes and expensive designer suits and give speeches about mushroom clouds. And she's probably made some money off of war.

Just as she used her time at the podium to shill for war on Iran at Beth-El Synagogue in 2009, it won't be surprising if she fits more shilling for war on Ukraine, Syria or Iran into her speech how she struggled to bring civil rights to Iraq and the Mid-east just as blacks struggled for rights in the U.S. when she was growing up. In the American Faust: from Condi to Neo-Condi film, her professor recalls that Condi became most interested in Stalin's Machiavellian tactics [though a psychopath, Stalin was cleverer than Condi, and did lead a war of self-defense against the Nazis]. This 2008 book review also mentions Rice's connection to the warmongering neocons and it's a good summary overall: (it is, however, weak on Leo Strauss who was, oddly, a Jewish Nazi, a point that he hid in plain sight, about his early career - see here, here and here).

Coleen R."


Patty Guerrero added:

"She doesn’t also have to worry ab. any child of hers being tortured or going off to wars—"


The dissociation in the American elite about war is remarkable. Alone in Congress, former Senator Jim Webb had a son who served in Iraq (so did the writer/officer Andrew Bacevich whose fierce conservative writings on military decadence have received some elite attention; his son was killed there). Condi has no children and the others could not be bothered to serve themselves (Colin Powell excepted) and do not have children who serve.


I discovered at Liaoning University last summer that the Chinese one child policy means that children are comparatively well-nurtured, and that there is some reluctance, in a Confucian, family oriented culture, to go to war. The Chinese are very patriotic, but most of the tension is in the area that surrounds China (think of a "China" which was stirring trouble in Staten Island or Mexico or Quebec and you will see more clearly what aggressor "abhors a vacuum"...).


That this elite makes war frivolously as Kant once put it of kings, that it is careless of the lives of others and disengaged from the reality of war is illustrated, paradigmatically, by Condi Rice...

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