Tag Archives: Condi Rice

Liberals should heed advice from one of their own


Nicholas Kristof makes no apologies for being a liberal thinker.

Nor should he. The New York Times columnist, though, offers a serious word of caution to his fellow liberals and progressives: If you mean what you say about demanding diversity in all aspects of contemporary life, then do not shut out those ideas with which you disagree.

Kristof’s essay in the Sunday New York Times echoes a recurring theme on which he has written before.

He chides universities and colleges for becoming echo chambers, for demonstrating unwillingness to hear thoughts expressed by those on the right, even the far right.

He says this about his fellow liberals: “We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.”

Ouch, man!

He’s correct. We see this played out on occasion when universities invite noted conservatives to speak on their campuses. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been victimized by outrage expressed by liberal faculty members and student body officers; so has Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration.

Even here in the Texas Panhandle, when one-time Bush presidential strategist Karl Rove was invited a few years ago to deliver a speech at a West Texas A&M University graduation event, you’d have thought WT had invited the spawn of Satan himself, based on some of the reaction.

Kristof has delivered a sound message for all his fellow liberals to heed. If you truly want diversity of thought and opinion, then open your own eyes, ears … and minds.

As Kristof writes: “It’s ineffably sad that today ‘that’s academic’ often means ‘that’s irrelevant.’ One step to correcting that is for us liberals to embrace the diversity we supposedly champion.”

Amen, brother.

Condi Rice’s role on 9/11: How did she escape blame?


Americans commemorated recently the 15th year since the 9/11 attacks.

It was a life-changer for many of us. It certainly changed the way we view our place in the world, and whether we are as “safe” as we thought we were.

There’s been plenty of blame tossed around in the decade-and-a-half since that terrible day.

Lots of reputations have been soiled and sullied.

Secretary of State Colin Powell, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, CIA director George Tenet all have taken their share of hits over what happened.

One person, though, skated through it. And for the life of me, I am baffled over how this happened.

We had a national security adviser on duty. Condoleezza Rice was that person. Rice’s task, as her job title declares, was to protect our nation. It was her duty to ensure that we remained alert and vigilant against any threat.

On Sept. 11, 2001, barely nine months into the Bush administration’s first term, it all fell apart.

Why didn’t Condi Rice take the hit? How did she escape the blame that was leveled at so many of her colleagues?

As near as I can discern, her national reputation remains largely intact.

The Afghan War that developed shortly after the attack is still under way. We’ve gotten out of Iraq, ending a war that President Bush started based on false information about Iraq’s non-existent role in the 9/11 attack.

Still, of all the finger-pointing — at Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Powell, Tenet and the rest — no one has laid a hand on the individual, Condi Rice, whose primary responsibility was to ensure that this kind of attack doesn’t occur.

She failed.

How is that she’s never been held accountable for that failure?

‘Damn e-mails’ return to center stage


Back in the old days, when Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton actually were treating each other nicely, Sanders offered this often-quoted quip: “I am tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.”

I’ve got bad news for you, Sen. Sanders. We’re going to hear about those “damn e-mails” for a while longer.

The State Department’s inspector general has issued a report that says then-Secretary of State Clinton flouted department policy in her use of a personal e-mail server when communicating about State Department issues.

Does this doom Clinton’s assured nomination as the next Democratic Party presidential nominee? No. It’s going to damage her. Why? Republicans will make sure of it.


I am not giving this report the short shrift. I get the concern about policy violations. What’s unclear to me, though, is whether any of the information Clinton passed on her personal server ever was captured by our nation’s enemies? Did any of them ever use that information to harm our national security?

What’s more, as Clinton has said in pushing back, other secretaries of state have used personal e-mail accounts. Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright? They did, too.

Did they ever compromise national security? I haven’t heard evidence of it regarding those officials, either.


I was troubled when word came out about the use of personal e-mail servers to convey public information. My major concern then was whether information actually compromised our national security. All the congressional inquiries and probes haven’t yet made that determination.

However, that won’t stop the chatter and the intense criticism. It goes with the political territory.

Bernie Sanders’ wish won’t come true any time soon.


E-mail controversy isn't yet a 'scandal'

Hillary Clinton’s e-mail dustup just won’t go away.

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., had sent the former secretary of state a letter asking about her use of a personal e-mail account. Clinton didn’t respond.

Fox News Channel’s “crawl” across the TV screen, quite naturally, referred to it as a “scandal.”

Hold on. We’re not there. We may never get there.


This is what happens, though, when a candidate declares his or her intention to run for high office. In this case, it’s the highest office in the most powerful country on Earth.

Thus, the e-mail matter is going to keep boiling and roiling.

Is it a “scandal,” which the right-wing mainstream media want to describe it? No. It’s a controversy that needs some more fleshing out.

Clinton admits to using a personal e-mail account to do public business while running the State Department. That was a dumb call. She should have used the government account, which was hers to use. But she wasn’t the first high-ranking Cabinet official to rely on personal e-mail accounts.

Has anyone thought to subpoena former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condi Rice? Oh, I forgot. They aren’t running for president … nor are they Democrats.

Let’s cool our jets here. Controversy? Yes. Scandal? Not even close.


Michelle's just the latest to flout Saudi tradition

Laura Bush did it. So did Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Same with Angela Merkel.

What did a former U.S. first lady, two former secretaries of state and the chancellor of Germany do? They appeared in public in Saudi Arabia — without covering their hair, as prescribed by Muslim tradition in the Sunni nation.


The current first lady, Michelle Obama, thus is the just the latest woman to flout the custom demanded of Saudi women.

It’s interesting at a couple of levels that the media would make any kind of mention of Mrs. Obama’s decision to go scarf-less in public.

No. 1, she is hardly the first foreign dignitary to be photographed doing this.

No. 2, and perhaps more importantly, is that she was virtually ignored while she stood in a greeting line alongside her husband — Barack H. Obama, president of the United States of America.

The dignitaries walked along the greeting line, shook hands with Mr. Obama but didn’t shake Mrs. Obama’s hand. What’s up with that?

Actually, I know. Saudis disrespect women whenever and wherever possible. That, too, is part of their custom. Women aren’t able to drive motor vehicles legally, for example. It should come as no surprise, then, that the potentates or whoever those gentlemen were greeting the president would ignore his wife.

To whatever extent she intended, Michelle Obama did a nice job of standing tall and proud for women in the country that played host to her briefly — and, in fact, for oppressed women all around the world. So did those who preceded her.

Well done, ladies.


Where have you gone, diversity?

The first three sentences of an editorial in today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal set the table for an interesting discussion about the state of intellectual diversity.

The paper opined: “Colleges and universities like to promote themselves as open-minded bastions of diversity. They strive to fill their campuses with people of different races and backgrounds.

“Encouraging diversity of thought is another matter entirely.”


The paper examined a recent controversy at Rutgers University, which had invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak at its commencement, only to have her withdraw after students and faculty protested her scheduled appearance.

Students staged protests and carried signs, one of which accused Rice of being a “war criminal.”

I’ve written already on the Rice controversy at Rutgers. No need to revisit that issue.

What’s troubling though, and I say this as someone who is of the liberal persuasion, is that liberals are giving their political philosophy a bad name when they protest in such a manner.

By definition, the term “liberal” is meant in the political context to foster inclusiveness; it is intended to bolster the notion that those who lean liberal are open to others’ ideas, that they’ll hear them, consider them and take them under studied advisement.

Someone tell me if I’m wrong on that one.

However, when liberals rise up and protest the appearance of conservative thinkers and policymakers, they turn the very definition of liberalism into a myth.

What’s worse is that these protests occur — of all places — on college and university campuses.

As the Review-Journal editorial notes (see attached link), these institutions promote themselves as “bastions of diversity.” Students enroll there ostensibly seeking to broaden their horizons. Conservative students get exposed to liberal thought; the reverse is true for students with liberal leanings who are exposed to conservative thought.

The Condi Rice episode ought to become — to borrow a term — a “teachable moment” for university faculty and students all across this great land.

Condi Rice is Tech's gain

Rutgers University faculty and student body have made a mockery of academic tolerance and inclusiveness.

How? They shunned former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a commencement speaker. Not to worry, though. Texas Tech University has just asked her to deliver such a speech to its student body. There might be some grumbling, but Tech won’t be dissuaded from persuading Rice to accept.

Good for Tech. Bad for Rutgers.


Rutgers protesters have done their school a serious disservice. Rice had accepted the invitation, but then backed out in the face of the protests. She must have figured there was little to be gained by igniting a potential disturbance at the New Jersey school.

What in the world ever happened to the notion that universities are magnets for wide-ranging views, ideologies and philosophies? Don’t they imbue such things any longer in our institutions of higher education?

One can hope that Texas Tech — which sits in the middle of strongly conservative West Texas — would welcome speakers from, say, the far left. The reason in that instance would be for precisely the same reason Rutgers should have welcomed Rice, to expose students to a full spectrum of ideas and world views.

You’ll recall that West Texas A&M University faced a similar protest some years ago when it invited former Bush administration political adviser Karl Rove to speak prior to WT’s commencement. The school held firm. Rove spoke and the students got an interesting take on the state of politics in America.

Condi Rice is a brilliant academician. She served her country as national security adviser and as secretary of state. Her background is stellar and she is full of important perspectives.

Let’s hope she accepts Texas Tech’s invitation, and let’s hope Rutgers thinks deeply about the opportunity it has lost by shooing Rice away.