Obama, please do not nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State. It has nothing to do with her being a woman, or a sort-of African-American, or even the Benghazi mess (though that’s a symptom of the broader problem). It has nothing to do with John Kerry’s Senate seat. Susan Rice is all appetite, all in for only herself and the Department of State, and America, needs a leader in the job, not another person primping her resume for what comes next.
A Biography Fit for a Queen
Look at Rice’s biography: She was raised in a well-to-do Washington DC neighborhood by elite parents. Emmett Rice, was an economist who in 1979 became the second African American appointed to the Federal Reserve Board. Her mother, Lois Dickson Rice, was a corporate executive and a longtime member of the College Board. Rice attended fancy schools — Beauvoir and the National Cathedral School. Her parents’ friends were people such as Madeleine Albright, the future secretary of state, who served on school boards with Rice’s mother, and whose former husband played tennis with Rice’s father. Albright became a mentor, helping to elevate Rice to assistant secretary of state for African Affairs when Rice was 32. They have been so close that people assumed Rice was her godchild, Albright said in an interview. Peggy Cooper Cafritz, a wealthy D.C. art patron, was a kind of surrogate godmother. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton took Rice to lunch when she was deciding whether to attend law school. Inheritances from husband Cameron’s and Rice’s families are largely responsible for her $20 million-plus net worth.
Rice finished her schooling in 1990, and started work as an international management consultant at McKinsey & Company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Rice took a job with the National Security Council in Washington, D.C., under Clinton in 1993. She became special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs in 1995. Only two years later, in 1997, Madeleine Albright made Rice assistant secretary of state for African Affairs when Rice was 32. It was unclear if Rice had ever been to Africa absent a short trip or two or done anything significant related to Africa outside of academia, or what the hell she knew about Africa at age 32 only seven years in the job market. Rice moved into a think tank during the Bush years and then the Obama campaign in 2008+. She has never worked outside of Washington since a brief job stint right out of school.
The Buck Stops Elsewhere
She was one of the youngest assistant secretaries of state ever. Among her accomplishments in the position was to be the top diplomat for African issues during the 1998 terrorist embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.
In a 2002 op-ed piece in the Washington Post, former Ambassador to Sudan Timothy M. Carney and news contributor Mansoor Ijaz implicated Rice in missing an opportunity to neutralize Osama bin Laden while he was still in Sudan in 1996. They wrote that Sudan and Secretary of State Albright were ready to cooperate on intelligence potentially leading to Bin Laden, but that Rice persuaded National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to overrule Albright. Similar allegations were made by Vanity Fair contributing editor David Rose and Richard Miniter, author of Losing Bin Laden, in a November 2003 interview with World.
Rice, as assistant secretary for African Affairs, also contributed to the bloodshed on the Continent, saying at one point “Museveni [of Uganda] and Kagame agree that the basic problem in the Great Lakes is the danger of a resurgence of genocide and they know how to deal with that. The only thing we [i.e., the United States] have to do is look the other way.”
Rice also famously said about the horrific genocide then unfolding in Rwanda “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional midterm] election?”
Oh, and yes, Rice’s misstatements about Benghazi, when she claimed that the attack was based on that silly anti-Islam film no one knew about until she honked about it on the Sunday teevee talk shows. According to Obama:
If Senators McCain and Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me… but for them to go after the U.N. ambassador? Who had nothing to do with Benghazi? And was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received? To besmirch her reputation is outrageous.
Not Rice’s Fault
But none of that was her fault and she had nothing to do with any of that in any way whatsoever. The buck always stopped somewhere else for Susan Rice.
“She always reminds me of someone who’s had every drop of Kool-Aid, always espousing 1,000 percent of whatever point of view the administration is putting forward,” said Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
So here’s the money shot: Susan Rice is not qualified to be Secretary of State. Susan Rice would have (Spoiler Alert) told six year olds on the Sunday talk shows that Santa Claus isn’t real if Obama asked her to say that. Susan Rice for all her life has been about promoting Susan Rice, about hitching herself to a powerful person (Albright, Clinton, Obama) and then doing exactly what she was told to do in return for favorable promotions and bureaucratic protection. Susan Rice is always the handmaiden of failure without ever being tainted by accepting responsibility. Susan Rice is 100 percent a product of the slimy sad way Washington works nowadays, people who ignore the “service” portion of “public service” simply for self-advancement. Susan Rice cares not a jot for the Department of State as as organization, and little for the United States as a concept. Both exist only to serve the needs of Susan Rice. Her self-serving nature has left enough collateral damage blood on her hands for two lifetimes.
There are some seven billion people on earth, and almost any one of them would be a better choice for Secretary of State than Susan Rice. We need better. Please?
Bonus: Additional blah blah blah on Rice from the New York Times and a significant contribution to hagiography by the Washington Post, polishing Hillary’s reputation.
Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Department of State, the Department of Defense or any other entity of the US Government. The Department of State does not approve, endorse or authorize this blog or book. Follow us on Twitter!