Condoleezza Rice fails to resolve Palestinian-Israel conflict within a single 24 hour period. I guess it’s time to return to six more years of giving up. Alternatively, read Daniel Levy from late last week.
Over the weekend, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addressed military personnel stationed in Baghdad. She told the troops that everyone — including critics of the administration’s Iraq policy — believes that “the sacrifice and the labor of our men and women here has been honorable.” She called the debate over escalation a sign of a “great democracy.” An excerpt from her speech:
And the final thing I want to say is I know that a lot’s going on in Washington and that you’re hearing it. A lot’s going on because we are a great democracy. And people have their views and they’re going to express them. And some do not think that this was the right war to fight, and others think that we in the Administration haven’t fought this war quite right. By the way, all of them know that the sacrifice and the labor of our men and women here has been honorable.
And so when you hear the criticism of the war or the criticism of the President or of me or of anybody else, I do want you to know that to a person at home, your honor and your sacrifice and your labor is appreciated. People know what you’re doing and it’s appreciated across the board. I don’t care what people think of the policies; it’s appreciated across the board.
Rice’s comments contradict earlier claims from the administration that a debate on Iraq policy would be “detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.” Her words echoed those of Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace, who said the troops understand the “debate’s being carried on by patriotic people who care about them and who care about their mission.”
I’ve been beating this drum for a long time, but let me recommend Jonathan Chait’s column on Rudy Giuliani’s alleged national security expertise, which apparently consists of his ability to act like a tough guy:
f having a macho swagger and talking tough about bad guys were enough to make a good commander in chief, we wouldn’t have the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history on our hands right now in Iraq. And, need I remind anybody, one of the reasons Giuliani hasn’t been able to fulfill his Bin Laden execution fantasy is that Bush allowed the Al Qaeda leader to escape at Tora Bora by using Afghan proxies instead of U.S. ground troops.
As I noted in this space last week, conservative foreign policy consists increasingly of abstract notions divorced from reality. In preparing for last week’s House debate over the Iraq troop surge, the Republican leadership instructed its members in a memo: “The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.”
Right. Republican national security policy looks great, except when they need to discuss their actual policies, the results of such policies, the likely consequences of continuing the policies, etc. Giuliani fits perfectly into the mold.
t is hard to explain to a younger generation that such delightful countries as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Poland and Czechoslovakia (to name only a few) were run in those days by fascist generals, avowed racists or one-party totalitarian regimes. I am ancient enough to remember the long list of countries I would not visit for summer holidays; old enough to recall how creepy it was to enter Walter Ulbricht’s East German prison house of a state via Checkpoint Charlie in the late 1960s. Ugh.
This matters, because I think people sometimes underestimate exactly how horrible it would be in humanitarian terms to return to Cold War-style conditions of global competition between the United States and some other power (presumably China ). People often — and correctly — see that the UN Security Council process is often going to be an impediment to certain kinds of humanitarian military ventures and want to just let it all drop. And it’s true that this sort of thing can be frustrating. Ultimately, however, a world where the major powers have cordial, mostly cooperative relations with one another is a much, much better world to live in.