The Washington Post Opinion page, in its latest attempt to rehabilitate and give ink to the Bush 43 presidency, gave empty space to Condoleezza Rice to opine on Egypt. Rice goes so far as to suggest that in 2005, she presaged democratic rule in Egypt in a Cairo speech.
She writes: “Following in the vein of President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address, I said that the United States would stand with people who seek freedom. This was an admission that the United States had, in the Middle East more than any other region, sought stability at the expense of democracy, and had achieved neither. It was an affirmation of our belief that the desire for liberty is universal – not Western, but human – and that only fulfillment of that desire leads to true stability.”
She is wrong, of course, about the United States–it sought neither stability nor democracy in Iraq, rather a chimeric vision of imposed American order, and failed.
Rice’s opinion piece comes several weeks after a similar foray by Elliott Abrams, a former Middle East point man at the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. These are part of an effort to recast the Bush administration and its disastrous Middle East policy as a prescient system that only now is bearing fruit.
In fact, Rice and Abrams and their team perverted U.S. values in the Middle East when they invaded Iraq– creating the concept of and precedent for preemptive war–war that can be waged whenever the United States so pleases. My colleague Knut Royce and I wrote a book, The Italian Letter, which debunks a central claim of the former members of the Bush administration on the U.S. invasion of Iraq — that they were acting “on the best intelligence available at the time.” The book shows that statement to be a lie, even though a majority of Americans probably think the statement is right. Propaganda, in the hands of skilled apparatchiks, such as Karl Rove and Michael Gerson — the latter another denizen of the Wash Post opinion pages — is hard to beat back.
Empty words are empty however they are coated; Rice’s article is a poorly threaded garment draped over the truth.
Rice, under orders from the White House PR squad in 2002 that created the image of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, warned the world with tremulous voice that we should fear mushroom clouds on the horizon. So doing, along with Colin Powell, Dick Cheney and the rest, she helped wreck the image of the United States in the world. Not to mention the war itself, which cost countless lives and billions upon billions of dollars.
At least, in the present Washington Post article, Rice comes close to reality in one disjointed phrasing–“The fall of communism unleashed patriots who had long regarded the United States as a “beacon of freedom.” Our history with the peoples of the Middle East is very different.”
Other than that, Rice’s splattering of words on the page adds up to a tone-deaf rendering of Chopsticks, a two-fingered song on the piano, little better than empty space and silence.