Senate Republicans led by John McCain, (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte, (R-NH), and Lindsey Graham, (R-SC) continue to lead the attacks against the nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice even though the Obama administration has yet to nominate her. They believe that she intentionally lied to the American people in her description of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic posts in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Her motive, according to the Republicans, was to protect President Obama during the presidential campaign. According to Graham, “I think her story on 16th of September was a political story designed to help the president three weeks before the election, and she should be held accountable for that…” He went on to say that Rice’s comments were a “…treasure trove of misleading statements that have the effect of helping the president.”
The problems with their assertions are that to date they have not offered one piece of evidence to support their claims, only speculation. Senator Graham continues to say, “But I do not believe the video is the cause … I don’t believe it was ever the reason for this.” Basing an argument on “I do not believe” is the same a saying “In my opinion…” Their positions should not be based upon what they believe; they should be based upon what they know and can present as evidence to the American people. As a former prosecutor, Senator Ayotte should know the value of evidence and how important it is when making a case.
Graham and others are being very disingenuous and intellectually dishonest as they continue to say that Rice was wrong because there was other information available at the time to contradict her Sunday morning “talking points”. First, there’s a big difference between “information” and “intelligence.” Second, there’s a difference between what Rice was “cleared” to say and what was still considered “secret” at the time she made her talk show rounds.
Graham and McCain are also incredibly hypocritical in attacking Ambassador Rice. Her misstatements about the Benghazi attacks pale in comparison to President Bush’s National Security Adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice telling CNN, “We know that he has the infrastructure, nuclear scientists to make a nuclear weapon,” she told me. “And we know that when the inspectors assessed this after the Gulf War, he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought — maybe six months from a crude nuclear device.” Or her infamous, “But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Quote. Graham and McCain were and have always been conspicuously silent on Condi’s “misstatements”.
Graham and McCain did not say one word when President George W. Bush said on May 29, 2003, that weapons of mass destruction had been found. “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories…For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.” Well President Bush, where are they? Also, lest we forget VP Cheney and the yellow cake uranium lie (just to name a few). UN Ambassador Rice misspoke about the deaths of 4 Americans; the lies of the Bush administration caused the death of more than 4400 American soldiers and countless Iraqi’s.
If Republicans are going to attack Ambassador Rice, attack her on substantive policy issues not contrived personal affronts such as McCain saying she’s not “very bright.” Attack her on supporting the assassination of Gaddafi. Attack her on her unyielding support of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and the oppression of the Palestinian people. Attack her on her baseless support for the sanctions on Zimbabwe and her abetting genocide in Congo. Oh, they can’t challenge her on those issues since they supported them as well.
To those who will try to defend Rice by saying, “she is merely doing her job as UN Ambassador. Articulating the policy of the Obama administration is what she’s supposed to do,” read her writings before she joined the administration.
Many believe that the Republican attacks on Ambassador Rice are racially motivated. They are. It’s not that she’s an African American; McCain, Graham, et al would have attacked Secretary of State Clinton if she had made the assertions Rice made (why was Rice running point on this and not Clinton?). It’s that their boss is an African American that fuels their ire and distain.
If you are going to criticize UN Ambassador Rice, there’s plenty of policy; no need to get personal.
Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon,” and a Teaching Associate in the Department of Political Science at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.twitter.com/drwleon