Saturday, January 22, 2005


Why is it okay to call someone a liar and wrongheaded, but not okay to say she's a puppet?

Colbert King seems to have fallen for Condoleezza Rice. Either that or he's gone stark blooming bonkers.

In a column in the Washington Post entitled "Why the Crass Remarks about Rice?", King says that Rice:

"one of the principal architects of the administration's Iraq policy, was clearly vulnerable to charges of helping produce a misguided, if not misleading, rationale for the Iraqi invasion, as well as poor postwar planning". But Senator Barbara Boxer " rather than sticking to Rice's performance as national security adviser and her qualifications to direct U.S. foreign policy, [Boxer] chose instead to gratuitously characterize [Rice] as a Bush loyalist who was blindly parroting pro-Iraqi war lines without regard for whether they were true".

Then King attempts to come to the Secretary-Designate's rescue:

Boxer said to Rice: "I personally believe -- this is my personal view -- that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth." Loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell the war. Ponder the weight of that statement. It comes close, at least in spirit, to the picture of Rice sketched by political cartoonist Pat Oliphant a few weeks ago. In case you missed it, Oliphant drew a big-lipped, bucktooth Rice perched like a parrot on President Bush's arm. Bush was speaking to Rice in baby talk, with Rice replying: "Awwrk!! OK Chief. Anything you say, Chief. You Bet, Chief. You're my HERO, Chief.

The key is the magic words "It comes close at least in spirit..."
In other words, King has a little beef with Boxer but he's really pissed at Oliphant and also some talk-show knucklehead in Wisconsin named "Sly":

"But slurring her as a hollow-headed marionette controlled by Bush? What's that all about? It calls to mind John Sylvester, a white radio talk show host in Madison, Wis., who recently went Boxer and Oliphant one better -- or worse. "Sly," as he calls himself, went on the air and caricatured Rice as a servile black, laboring slavishly for the Bush White House. He called her, of all things, an "Aunt Jemima."
The Boxer-Oliphant-Sylvester take on Condoleezza Rice stands in sharp contrast to the assessment offered by Dorothy Height, chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, who wrote in a letter to The Post this week: "Despite the challenges she will face, Ms. Rice's appointment is a time for women of color to smile."
Of course, Height's grouping didn't include folks such as the senator, the cartoonist and "Sly."

"It comes close at least in spirit..." and "It calls to mind..." WTF? Somehow Boxer's questioning the Secretary of State Designate on her unbounded loyalty to the President links Boxer with a cartoon portraying Ms. Rice as "big lipped & bucktoothed" and some radio nut calling her an "Aunt Jemima". Only in Colbert King's mind...

Somehow King has divined that Rice is no puppet--she's been running the show!

" As I was leaving a Post dining room after participating in my first off-the-record session with Rice and other Post editors and reporters a couple of years ago, it struck me that Rice could be where Bush gets it from. Subsequent meetings only have reinforced that supposition. Rice's notions of preemption, unilateralism and America's responsibilities as the dominant power in the world are not hand-me-downs from Bush. They strike me as very much her own."

See, Boxer, Oliphant, and "Sly" (whoever the hell, he is) have got it all wrong. Rice isn't a "Aunt Jemima" parroting what her master, the President, wants her to say--she's a Machiavellian, lying bitch from hell who has twisted the moronic President around her little finger. And what's King's evidence for this (other than his"supposition")? Rice is "a former Stanford University provost who managed a $1.5 billion budget, 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students".

Wow! She's no puppet--she's an academic bureaucrat! No wonder she can influence a stupid Texan to follow "her" foreign policy--she's a veteran of the trenches of Academe.

To cut out the malarkey (No, I wasn't going to say "to call a spade..."), Colbert King seems to see some kind of racism in Boxer's criticism of Ms. Rice. He doesn't use the word, but his point in using images like "big-lipped" and "bucktoothed" in describing the Oliphant cartoon and dredging up "Sly's" characterization of Rice as an "Aunt Jemima" from the lost air waves of Wisconsin make it clear where he's coming from.

But isn't the Machiavellian Black woman subtlely influencing the White boss, just as racist an image? You don't have to be a racist to question Ms. Rice qualifications as Secretary of State. You just have had to have read the 9/11 Report and watched her lying testimony in support of her President and his/her policies.

In watching Bush's inaugural speech and subsequent White House spin, one thing seemed transparently clear to me. The thing that's new about this grandiose "Bush Doctrine" is not it exaltation of international freedom and democracy, but its assumption that the existence of despotic regimes around the globe is a primary and direct cause of terrorism. As if winning the War on Terror is a simple matter of effecting sufficient "regime changes".

To me, this recasting of the terrorism problem seemed to have as much to do with retroactive justification for the Iraq war than it did with U.S. foreign policy going forward. The White House seems to be realizing that Saddam's reign of terror, heinous as it was, just wasn't sufficient reason to invade. They needed some rhetoric to somehow reconnect this pricy adventure to 9-11 and the national interest.

The reality, as we know, is that the U.S. direct supports autocratic and oppressive foreign governments pretty much whenever it suits our short-term policy goals. The hypocrisy of Bush's high-minded blather is galling in the extreme.

In a sense, Bush's address came close to stating an important truth. Tyranny abroad does, in fact, play a part in breeding terrorist (or more precisely anti-American) sentiment, but not in and of itself. It is the additional ingredient of real or perceived U.S. complicity in the repression that keeps the jihadist recruits lining up.

In the aftermath of the tsunami disaster, Sean Hannity seized upon a news photo from Aceh province, which happened to show a survivor wearing a teeshirt with a picture of Osama bin Ladin on the front. Sean was like, "look at the nerve of these people who still hate freedom, even as we generous Americans are riding to the rescue".

The Acehnese actually have their reasons for hating us:

If Dubya is so interested in advancing freedom, he would do well to start with our own client states like Indonesia, and our own companies like Exxon Mobil who crawl in bed with brutal oppressors.
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It seems to me that Abu Musab Zarqawi and his ilk could benefit from some good public relations advice. Zarqawi, echoing some vintage pronouncements by bin Ladin, comes right out and states that the principle being attacked in Iraq is democracy itself: decry elections, and fundamental, western-style political and religious freedoms in general, as apostasy from Islam.

I think they would have done much better to keep the rhetorical focus on the Great Satan. As it is, they've played right into Dubya's hand. They're showing themselves to be right-wing, fascist religious nuts. Clearly, they favor a repressive, Taliban-style Islamic state. Fox News was just reporting that Zarqawi's major support comes in from Baathists in Syria. Asmuch as it pains me to say it, it starts to look like Bush really has these guys pegged.

You have to hand it to the Iraqis. However things eventually play out, the people showed a lot of courage getting out there and voting. It's easy to forget that theirs is a generally civilized, well-educated populace. It's good to see what appears to be a strong modern, progressive sentiment at work, a broadly-held desire to move their nation into the 21st century.

It saddened me, however, to watch video of these lively, attractive young women working at one Mosul polling place. They were totally wrapped up in the black Muslim outfits, whatever they call those. You have to figure that many women are dressed that way out of fear: defying the insurgency while wearing western garb would surely be asking for it from Zarqawi's guys.
Sandwiched in the midst of this current sickening orgy of self-congratulation over the election (who told the Iraqis they could dance, fer crying out loud?), Paula Zahn & Co. was just now delving into the potential plight of Iraqi Christians.

It starts to look as if our enormous military intervention during this weekend's polling primarily benefitted the Shia, poised, as that sect now is, to dominate the new constitutional assembly. Suddenly the media seems uneasy that, even now, the Holy Shiites may be dusting off their copies of the Iranian religio-political blueprint. D'oh!

Seriously, CNN and Fox are expressing all kinds of concerns about the results of the election (which may not be known for a week, or more). For Christ's sake (praise the lord, amen), doesn't America need to maintain some neutrality here? If we start taking sides in the religious wars... it'll end up being our fascists versus their fascists.
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