Condi Rice is no Martin Luther King; and conquered Iraq is no civil rights struggle -- but that's all Ms. Rice knows, after all she took the job at the NSC with everyone knowing she new little about the Middle East. Indeed, the idea that Condi Rice is preaching what should be the future of the region is rather ludicrous. But with so many patsy "leaders" in the region so limited and inarticulate on their own, as well as co-opted and controlled by the mighty empire, ludicrous things are happening on many fronts these days:
Rice Likens Iraq to Civil Rights Fight
Thu Aug 7, 4:43 PM ET
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By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer
DALLAS - National security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) likened Iraq (news - web sites)'s halting steps toward self-government to black Americans' struggle for civil rights, imploring black journalists Thursday to reject arguments that some people are incapable of democracy.
"We've heard that argument before, and we, more than any, as a people, should be ready to reject it," Rice, who is black, told about 1,200 people at the National Association of Black Journalists convention.
"The view was wrong in 1963 in Birmingham, and it is wrong in 2003 in Baghdad and in the rest of the Middle East," she said.
"We should not let our voice waver in speaking out on the side of people who are seeking freedom," Rice said. "And we must never, ever indulge in the condescending voices who allege that some people in Africa or in the Middle East are just not interested in freedom, they're culturally just not ready for freedom or they just aren't ready for freedom's responsibilities."
Rice said White House officials often turn to her on issues of race, and she infused her discussion of Iraq with references to slavery and America's civil rights battles of the 1960s.
"Our own history should remind us that the union of democratic principle and practice is always a work in progress," Rice said in reference to Iraq.
"When the founding fathers said, 'We, the people,' they did not mean the people in this room," Rice said, her overwhelmingly black audience silent. "Our ancestors were three-fifths of a man."
Friday will mark 100 days since President Bush (news - web sites) declared major combat over in Iraq, and Rice offered a favorable picture of rebuilding there. She cited as a centerpiece the establishment of an Iraqi governing council.
The council puts Iraq on the road toward democracy, she said. Baghdad "can become a linchpin of a very different Middle East in which ideologies of hatred will not flourish," she said.
Rice, who traveled to Dallas from Bush's ranch near Crawford, also asked for patience from the American public as the United States oversees reconstruction of Iraq. Rebuilding Germany and the rest of Europe after World War II had many setbacks over several years, she said. Former SS officers in Germany known as "werewolves" persisted in attacking allied military convoys after the war ended, just as guerrillas are attacking American soldiers in Iraq, she said.
"We must have patience and perseverance to see it through," Rice said.
Rice has faced sharp criticism for allowing Bush to assert in his January State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Africa, and the journalists in Dallas questioned her actions Thursday.
Rice and other aides have defended themselves in part by pointing to the fact that doubts about the intelligence appeared in a footnote, written by the State Department, deep in a top-secret National Intelligence Estimate. That footnote was thus not read by Bush, Rice or other top aides, said a senior White House official last month.
But Rice said Thursday she had read the report "cover to cover, a couple of times."
She reiterated her remorse for the episode, saying that "whenever something like this happens to the president, I feel responsible because I am his national security adviser."
Yet she also repeated her contention that that element of the speech was not critical to Bush's case for war.
"The most appalling thing about this whole incident was that it for a two-week period had us discussing whether Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) tried to get yellowcake in Africa, when of course the president of the United States did not go to war over whether Saddam Hussein tried to get yellowcake from Africa," she said.
Rice said she is working on changes to "make certain we don't have to depend on people's memories from one speech to another." She never considered resigning, and never talked to Bush about quitting over the incident, she said.
On another subject, Rice declined to say whether an international court should drop an indictment against Liberian President Charles Taylor, as Taylor has demanded, as a condition of his ceding power.
"How he's treated in terms of the indictment, I think he's going to have to deal with that once he leaves the country, but he needs to leave the country," she said.