Remarks on Susan Rice

7 Jun
We learned on Wednesday that Obama has found a suitable promotion for Susan Rice that won’t require Senate approval. She’s slated to replace Tom Donilon as APNSA early next month. Samantha Power, a former journalist currently serving as NSC Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs (whatever that is, right?), will take over for Rice as UN ambassador.

Democrats are savoring the slight to the GOP, who built Rice’s mistaken–and debatably (but probably not) fraudulent–remarks on the 2012 Benghazi embassy assault into a major national scandal at a time when she was heir apparent to Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be vacated seat at the head of the State Department.

For a seeming eternity, the Benghazi debacle dominated what embarrassingly passes for mainstream political discourse in the US. This tedium raged on even after Rice asked to be dropped from consideration for the job, preemptively aborting what was sure to be a grueling confirmation process.  Republicans claimed victory.

Now this latest appointment for Rice is supposed to be Obama’s revenge. While the title doesn’t have the same name recognition among us plebes, the National Security Advisor is arguably more powerful than the Secretary of State. The much-pelted mouthpiece of the so-called Benghazi cover-up is getting the job and there’s not a damned thing the Republicans can do about it.

I’ve found it pretty hard to care about Rice’s alleged lies and her subsequent persecution by the Right. And unlike American liberals, I see nothing to celebrate in this latest reshuffling of the White House staff.

It’s sort of a given that anyone in a position to be considered for this gig has already accumulated a long record of vile words and deeds in support of US militarism. In Rice’s case, a fiery moralism attends the ugly imperial rhetoric through and through. And this makes it exceptionally gross.

Rice’s comments on last November’s conflagration in Gaza are a good example of what makes her so repellant.

The upsurge of violence was initiated by the assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jabari. This was ostensibly ironic since al-Jabari had a reputation for being Israel’s enforcer in the Gaza Strip. He was the main figure responsible for the rigid enforcement of ceasefire arrangements (fitnas) between Hamas and Israel, leading efforts to crack down on rogue militant groups that refused to stop launching rockets. Moreover, he had received a draft proposal for a permanent truce agreement with Israel mere hours before an IDF rocket blew him to pieces.

(There are some plausible theories out there as to why Israel would choose this guy for a “targeted killing,” but let’s set this question aside for now).

We’d seen this movie before. Hamas retaliated with crude, unguided rockets, and Israel used this as a pretext to cry foul and launch a massive assault on the defenseless people of Gaza.

“Yeah, yeah,” you might be saying, “the US leadership is beholden to a powerful domestic Israel lobby, so inevitably whoever speaks for us will take Israel’s side.”  Granted.  But just for fun, check out what Rice had to say to the UN Security Council:

The Government of Israel has noted that, since the beginning of 2012, more than 768 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza, and over 12,000 in the past 12 years. Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself against such vicious attacks.

There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We call on those responsible to stop these cowardly acts immediately.

Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that does nothing but set back the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza nor to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination and independence.

There’s just oh-so-much that’s wrong with this.

As usual, only Israel’s right to self-defense is acknowledged.  The Palestinians living under crushing military occupation, economic sanctions, and high tech surveillance are apparently not permitted to use violence.  Only the most heavily militarized society on Earth has a legitimate claim to force.

By any politically recognizable standard there was plenty of justification for the violence Hamas et al. were employing against Israel.

For one thing, their territory has been subject to years of a brutal blockade designed to put the people of Gaza “on a diet”. That’s collective punishment. The standard line is to say it’s totally illegal, but more importantly, it’s totally intolerable.

For another, Israel had just murdered one of Hamas’s highest ranking leaders. I suppose if Mexico had launched a rocket at Hillary Clinton’s house, painting the neighbor’s fence with her viscera, the US leadership would have failed to find a justification for responding with force. Or maybe they would have flattened Mexico City and then salted the fucking earth.

I could go on. It’s a galling and absurd statement.

Rice went on to stonewall a Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s disproportionate use of violence and demanding immediate deescalation–just one notable instance of her longstanding devotion to the Negroponte Doctrine.

So what? Yes, we hear this kind of thing all the time from US leaders. There’s a full blown chorus of it whenever Israel announces a major military operation. But while Israel-Palestine is an issue subject to nearly ubiquitous phony moralism from the American establishment, Rice drones on in these sanctimonious tones all the time on nearly everything.

When Russia and China did to Morocco’s 2012 UN resolution on Syria what the US via Rice did to the UNSC’s Gaza resolution, our new APNSA was livid. Decrying their conduct as “disgusting,” Rice declared that the rejectionists had the blood of all further Syrian casualties on their hands. (No doubt, the blood of the 167 Palestinians killed during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, well over half of whom were civilians, stains Susan Rice’s hands to this day).

Rice, like her replacement Samantha Power, was a leading advocate for the US-backed NATO intervention in Libya. And she pushed for hardcore economic sanctions against Sudan, demanding Khartoum be put on the rack for what was going on in Dharfur. She’s a hardcore interventionist and moral fraud.

People who seem to know what they’re talking about claim she’s been “reticent” on intervention in Syria. This is a good career move, since it’s pretty clear Obama wants to get involved in that mess like he wants a root canal with a rusty drill. Last year she opposed supplying arms to rebel forces, a stance which put her at odds with Secretary Clinton.

Incidentally, being at odds with Hillary Clinton is something her replacement at the UN knows well–Samantha Power was forced to resign from Obama’s 2008 campaign team after a Scottish reporter published off-the-record remarks from Power calling Hillary “a monster” (not a bad assessment, really).

More on Power after tonight’s party at Verso HQ.


2 Responses to “Remarks on Susan Rice”

  1. filipegracio June 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    I have an intense dislike for Rice since 2011. Ten days after an Iranian airplane crashed, she went on national TV and (among other things) defend the sanctions against Iran saying: “the sanctions are biting […] they are affecting Iran’s access to the international banking system, access to replacement parts for their air fleet […]” . 77 innocent passengers died.
    In some ways it’s more cruel than madeleine albright’s “the price was worth it”.. because she was actually raising these points as positive effects.

  2. nomadsun June 8, 2013 at 11:33 pm #

    Incidentally, Rice was Albright’s protégé in Clinton’s NSC. It would appear the student has surpassed the teacher.

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