A simmering Rice lashes back

So you’re an ex White House Press Secretary and you want to make an extra buck. And to make that extra buck you decide to publish a memoir which among other things levels stinging criticism at the Prez for his Iraq war strategy. And for extra measure you decide to include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in your scathing appraisal of the war.

What you had better anticipate if you do this, Mr Scott McClellan, is that Condi will respond. And when she does, once again people will be reminded — whether they want to admit it to themselves or not — of just what an intelligent and eloquent woman she is. And you DO know, Mr McClellan, that when Condi defends herself with that intelligence and eloquence, YOU will end up looking like a bitter schoolboy who has just had his SpongeBob doll taken away. I’m sure you factored that in, right?

Rice set the record straight today:

“It was not the United States of America alone that believed that he [Saddam] had weapons of mass destruction that he was hiding,” Rice said, dismissing suggestions that the administration knew the intelligence was incorrect.

“The story is there for everyone to see, you can’t now transplant yourself into the present and say we should have known what we in fact did not know in 2001 and 2002,” she said. “The record on weapons of mass destruction was one that appeared to be very clear.”

Those who were skeptical should have spoken up at the time and argued against U.N. sanctions such as the oil-for-food program, she said.

“The threat from Saddam Hussein was well understood,” Rice said. “You can agree or disagree about the decision to liberate Iraq in 2003, but I would really ask that if you … believe he was not a threat to the international community, then why in the world were you allowing the Iraqi people to suffer under the terms of oil-for-food.”

What Condi is doing here is brilliant. Her point is threefold: first that we invaded Iraq based upon intelligence that was gathered years before Bush took office. Second, that the U.N. leveled sanctions in the 1990’s that were based on this same data. Third, that if anyone was guilty of exploiting the situation in Iraq, it was the U.N. with it’s horribly corrupt Oil For Food debacle.

Now, for the facts: after watching for years while the U.N. played footsy with Saddam Hussein, the U.S. under George W. Bush finally decided to actually do something about him. Not content with just dropping bombs from afar the way Bill Clinton had done earlier during “Monica’s War” (which, by the way, Billy-boy justified by citing the SAME WMD data), President Bush took the fight to the ground… and in the process pulled a murderous tyrant OUT of the ground and brought him to swift justice. As for WMD’s — I suspect most of them took a trip on the Baghdad Express to sunny Syria during the nine months we wasted dicking around with the U.N. before finally taking matters into our own hands.

Enjoy your 15 minutes, Mr. McClellan. The press will exploit you for a few weeks the same way you are exploiting the honored position you once enjoyed. And when they are finished, you and your book will find yourselves in the bargain bin of history, buried somewhere between John Kerry’s A Call to Service and Squiggles the Magic Glow Worm.

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