Benjamin H. Friedman
November 28, 2012
The problem with making Susan Rice secretary of state isn’t Benghazi. It’s war. Rice, like her “mentor,” former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and the current secretary, Hillary Clinton, has supported just about every proposed U.S. military intervention over the two decades. The president should nominate someone that occasionally opposes a war.
Of course, being reliably bellicose is no sin among either party’s foreign policy elite—in Washington today, extramarital affairs get you bounced from top foreign policy jobs, and unconstitutional wars get you nominated for them. Congressional Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, oppose Rice’s possible nomination because of her televised comments on the Benghazi attack in September, which killed four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. They say she was either lying or incompetent in arguing that the attacks were not premeditated terrorism but a spontaneous outgrowth of a protest against a silly anti-Islam video.
The problem with Republican complaints about Rice isn’t that they’re partisan; it’s that they’re trivial. We could have used more complaint and scrutiny, partisan or not, about the invasion of Iraq, the surge in Afghanistan, and the bombing of Libya—actions which Rice quietly endorsed, supported, and championed, respectively. Instead, she gets attacked for a relatively minor issue where her main role was public relations.
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