Missing the Mark

Let me state for the record: Condoleeza Rice is a woman devoid of ethics, who couldn’t tell the truth to save her life, and who will have absolutely zero credibility as Secretary of State.

That said, I’m going to take issue (at least to a degree) with Barbara Boxer’s recent attack on her credibility.

Oh, I’m all in favor of the attack — I have no sympathy for Rice, and the spirit of Boxer’s accusation was certainly apt. Rice fully deserves to have her character savaged mercilessly. And at first, I was all cheers on seeing the footage.

But then I read Colbert I. King’s column on Saturday, and I got to thinking. You know, he’s got a real point (though I think his criticism is less with Boxer’s comments and more with a recent editorial cartoon — one that’s got the wingnuts in a hypocritical uproar).

It is wrong (as in “incorrect,” not as in any way “morally deficient”) to characterize Rice as Bush’s “parrot.” Now, Boxer didn’t say that she was, but the implication was certainly there: She was obeying her master’s assignment to “sell” the war at the expense of anything remotely approaching the truth.

The error? That Bush is leading anything on this. Duh-bya is a far cry from a puppetmaster — he’s the puppet. If anything, Rice is one of those leading little George around on a short leash.

She lied incessantly during the buildup to the war, and should rightly be pilloried for it. But she’s lying for her own motives — she wanted the war, along with the rest of the neoimperialist crew. Nobody had to order her to lie; she was all too happy to.

Rice isn’t a pawn in this battle — she’s the queen. It wouldn’t hurt for Boxer to clarify that.

(Of course, King gets much utterly wrong as well. At the end of his column, he quotes a recent letter to the editor in which Rice’s nomination is hailed as an opportunity for women of color to be proud. Hell, no, any more than Alberto Gonzales’s is a reason for hispanics to celebrate. Both are calls for all Americans of conscience to cry out in shamed outrage, regardless of color or sex. Racism is that which hails or degrades someone on the basis of factors beyond their control, rather than their actions. In a society wishing to move beyond such hateful judgments, we must regard both of these people as the villains they are.)


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