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Tag: susan rice

No, Susan Rice Didn’t Support The Iraq War

If Joe Biden takes my advice and chooses Susan Rice to be his running mate, then there will be criticism from people who opposed the Iraq War. That's because if you Google "Susan Rice" and "Iraq War," you will find several sources, including Wikipedia, that say she supported it. Let me try to save critics and journalists from that error by setting the record straight.

From everything I've been able to find, Rice did not support the Iraq War. She opposed it, in a show of wise and independent judgment.

I came by this information by falling victim to these sources and including a line in a recent column saying she endorsed the invasion. Shortly after it appeared online, I got a nice email from her press spokesperson, Erin Pelton, thanking me for the column but informing me that Rice opposed the war.

This came as a surprise. I asked for documentation but wasn't convinced by the information she sent. I talked with Pelton by phone; she said she would see what else she could find.

Then, Rice called and explained, in a gracious and congenial way, how frustrating this "urban legend" has been for her. She recounted her thinking, assured me that colleagues from the Brookings Institution, where she worked at the time, would back her up, and said, with a laugh, "I'll swear on a stack of Bibles!" Unsure what to think, and with the deadline for the Tribune's print edition looming, I deleted the reference.

Later, I contacted Michael O'Hanlon and Ivo Daalder, fellow foreign policy scholars who were at Brookings with Rice at the time. O'Hanlon told me, "Susan was consistently against it from 2002." Daalder concurred: "Susan was definitely against the war."

Their memories confirm what Rice wrote in her memoir, Tough Love: "From the start, I viewed that war of choice as a dangerous diversion from the main objective of defeating al-Qaida globally and in Afghanistan." She served as an adviser to Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign "because he was the only leading Democratic candidate to oppose the Iraq War." She signed up with Barack Obama in 2008 because he also opposed it.

But she got falsely tagged as a supporter of the war, and the stain has refused to come out, mainly because of two statements that have been misinterpreted.

In a December 2002 interview on NPR, she said: "It's clear that Iraq poses a major threat. It's clear that its weapons of mass destruction need to be dealt with forcefully, and that's the path we're on. I think the question becomes whether we can keep the diplomatic balls in the air and not drop any, even as we move forward, as we must, on the military side."

But O'Hanlon notes: "The military options she alludes to are not specified. For the Clinton administration, they were typically airstrikes or cruise missile strikes of limited duration and effect, not invasions."

Rice also endorsed the idea of "regime change." But there is less there than meets the eye. Bill Clinton signed a bill making it U.S. policy to "support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." But he didn't think the cause called for a U.S. invasion. The point was to encourage Iraqis to do the job.

In that December interview, Rice also said: "The administration frankly owes the American public a much fuller and more honest assessment of what the costs will be of the actual conflict, as well as the aftermath, the post-conflict reconstruction. And the costs are going to be huge."

Rice didn't oppose the invasion as boldly and unequivocally as some did. Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast said he listened to interviews she did before the war and concluded, "I still can't tell whether Susan Rice supported the war or opposed it." But being cautious and circumspect is not the same thing as supporting the war.

Why does all this matter? First, because the Iraq War was the biggest foreign policy catastrophe since Vietnam, and one most experts endorsed. Second, because Rice had to know her views carried a real risk. Most Democratic senators voted for the war resolution — including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Had the outcome been a glorious triumph, her opposition might have doomed her from serving in another administration.

A lot of smart, knowledgeable people made the mistake of endorsing the Iraq War. Susan Rice deserves credit for not being one of them.

Steve Chapman blogs at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman. Follow him on Twitter @SteveChapman13 or at https://www.facebook.com/stevechapman13. To find out more about Steve Chapman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Governors Plead With Trump For Dwindling Hospital Supplies

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As President Donald Trump’s administration has repeatedly botched the response to the coronavirus crisis, he has tried to avoid taking responsibility for key aspects of the emergency management and shift it to others. In particular, he has tried to encourage state governors to manage their own crises, even as they often lack the resources wielded by the federal government.

“Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work,” Trump said on Thursday at a White House press briefing, referring, in part, to the acquisition of hospital supplies. “The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items, and then shipping. We’re not a shipping clerk. As with testing — the governors are supposed to be doing it.”

This echoed his previous remarks to governors on a conference call Monday, according to the New York Times.

“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — trying getting it yourselves,” Trump reportedly said. “We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better — much more direct if you can try getting it yourselves.”

And of course, the failure of the U.S. testing regime was the original sin of the Covid-19 crisis in the country; it’s no surprise that Trump is now trying to avoid responsibility.

But officials are pushing back, explaining why Trump’s plan isn’t working.

“We took very seriously the push you made previously on one of these calls that we should not just rely on the stockpile and that we should go out and buy stuff and put in orders, and try to create pressure on manufacturers and distributors,” said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on a Thursday conference call. “And I’ve got to tell you, on three big orders, we lost to the feds. So my question is: Could you give some of these guys some guidance that says, you know, if states are doing what the feds want, and trying to create their own supply chain on this, then people should be responsive to that? Because I’ve got a feeling that if somebody has a chance to sell to you or has a chance to sell to me, I’m going to lose every one of those.”

Trump had no answer to this question and just directed Vice President Mike Pence to respond. Pence, too, had no real response.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, too, pointed out the gaping hole in Trump’s “leave it to the states” plan.

“States, left to their own devices, can’t solve this. Maximum utility is not achieved by 50 different responses,” Murphy said in a tweet, responding to the president’s remarks on Thursday. “For instance, what if one state has a major manufacturer who can immediately produce thousands of masks. That state’s incentive is to hoard and protect, not share.”

The core problem is that the federal government has the resources and the authority to coordinate and respond to the growing crisis across the country, but Trump has been unwilling or unable to marshal the forces needed to respond to the demands of the situation.

Susan Rice, the former ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama, lashed out at the president on Twitter on Wednesday for being reluctant to use the Defense Production Act to manufacture needed medical supplies.

Ex-NSC Aide Rice Demolishes Trump Claim Nobody Foresaw Pandemic

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice under President Barack Obama unloaded on President Donald Trump’s disastrous response to the unfurling coronavirus pandemic.

In an on-air interview with CNN, Rice took issue with Trump’s claim that no one could have foreseen the crisis.

“We knew that this was a serious and impending risk,” she said. “That’s why, under the Obama administration, we set up, I set up — with Lisa Monaco in the White House, in the National Security Council, an office for global health security and biodefense. We staffed it with a senior person and made sure that they could report directly to the national security adviser and the homeland security adviser. Two years ago, that office was dismantled.”

She continued: “In the last week of the Obama administration, we had an exercise with the incoming leadership of the Trump administration. We sat down, for hours, side by side, and one of the key scenarios we ran with them was very much this one: What happens when you have a global pandemic of this sort?”

As the New York Times reported, she noted, the Trump administration ran through exercises as recently as last year that demonstrated that the country wasn’t prepared for a pandemic. But nothing was done to address the gaping holes in the system.

She blasted Trump for repeatedly claiming: “Who could have imagined this? Who could have predicted this? We had no idea this could come!”

“Well, that’s just false!” she said. “Not only did we know it could come, we should have prepared for it to come. As we did in the Obama administration, and as we gave them the wherewithal to do in the Trump administration.”

Watch the clip below.

#EndorseThis: Newt Gingrich – Yes, Newt Gingrich – Calls BS On Fox & Friends

Don’t worry folks, your daily dose of #EndorseThis is not turning Republican. Even if it were, we wouldn’t give much airtime to Newt Gingrich, former GOP Speaker of the House whose bogus “Contract with America” was voided almost two decades ago.

But credit where credit is due. In today’s clip, Gingrich tells President Trump’s giddy gang of groveling groupies — also known as Fox & Friends — that the so-called Susan Rice email “scandal” is a nothing-burger.

Newt defends Obama’s former National Security Advisor as innocent, if career-oriented. “Someday she’s writing a memoir and she just wanted to have (the document),” he tells a stunned trio of Trumpers. “It’s happened to me.”

Click to hear the Fox hosts squirm and stutter in response. You can almost see their tinfoil hats crinkle and fall off…if only for a moment.

White House Says Expects China Will Support New Sanctions On North Korea

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif./WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s top national security adviser Susan Rice said on Monday that she expects China will support new international sanctions on North Korea for its recent rocket launches.

“I think it unlikely that China wants to be seen by the international community as the protector of North Korea given its recent outrageous behavior,” Rice told reporters at a briefing.

“Given that, I expect that they will indeed come on board with significant new sanctions and we’re working toward that end,” Rice said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton)

Photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a banquet for contributors of the recent rocket launch, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on February 15, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA

U.S. Can’t Confirm Death Of Khorasan Group Leader: Rice

Washington (AFP) — U.S. airstrikes in Syria have had an “important impact,” U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice said Wednesday, but it is unclear if they have killed the head of the Khorasan group, an Al-Qaeda offshoot.

The strikes by U.S. warplanes and cruise missiles targeted the Islamic State movement as well as the little-known Khorasan group, which Washington said has said was plotting attacks against U.S. targets.

“We think the strikes had an impact, important impact,” Rice told NBC news, 36 hours after Washington expanded its bombing campaign from Iraq to Syria, backed by allies in the region.

“Obviously, this won’t be the last of our efforts. But this was a first wave.”

She added: “We feel very good about our success. We’ll continue to take a look and we’ll be doing more.”

Rice said the United States at this point is unable to confirm that the airstrikes succeeded in killing Khorasan’s alleged leader, long-standing Qaeda operative Muhsin al-Fadhli.

“We can’t confirm that at this stage. We’ve seen reports on social media to that effect. We will continue to look for signs as to whether or not that’s, in fact, the case,” Rice told NBC.

The coalition aims to destroy the Islamic State group, which controls a swath of territory in Iraq and Syria, has murdered two U.S. journalists and a British aid worker and is locked in a brutal war with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities.

AFP Photo/Wang Zhao

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Susan Rice Seeks China Cooperation Against Islamic State As Beijing Visit Ends

By Stuart Leavenworth, McClatchy Foreign Staff

BEIJING — National security adviser Susan Rice met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for 45 minutes on Tuesday, concluding a three-day visit to Beijing that was billed as a preparatory mission for President Barack Obama’s visit to China in November but saw her pressing China to join a coalition to combat Islamic State insurgents in Syria and Iraq.

Rice also devoted part of her time in China to stressing ways to prevent mishaps involving Chinese and U.S. forces in the East and South China seas, according to officials traveling with Rice who agreed to talk on background.

How the Chinese responded was difficult to know. While the administration officials agreed to speak anonymously about the talks, they declined to comment on what the Chinese said and only summarized their version of what Rice imparted to the Chinese.

The officials said Rice’s talk with Xi didn’t get into a lot of specifics but focused primarily on the importance of the U.S. relationship with China. But it’s clear the United States hopes the rise of the Islamic State will be an area where risk-averse China might be willing to join an international coalition to collectively combat terrorism.

During her talks, administration officials said Rice broached the topic of Hong Kong elections and human rights issues on the mainland. Officials declined to go into specifics but said “it was important for us to raise our support for universal suffrage in Hong Kong.”

Rice also encouraged China to speak out on Russian excursions in Ukraine, officials said. Given China’s strong stance on other countries respecting the sovereign integrity of China’s borders, administration officials hoped that Ukraine would be an issue where “our interests align,” they said.

A major concern was the potential for an incident between U.S. and Chinese military aircraft and ships.

“The Chinese understand how dangerous these incidents could be,” said one administration official, adding that Rice’s Chinese counterparts “took our concerns very seriously.”

That contrasted with a news account Tuesday by China’s state-run Xinhua news service, which reported that a top military official told Rice that the U.S. military should stop “close-in reconnaissance” if it wants to avoid a mishap that could rapidly escalate.

A Chinese fighter plane and a U.S. Navy patrol plane nearly collided a few weeks ago, in an incident U.S. officials say was caused by “unsafe and unprofessional” conduct on the part of the Chinese pilot. Chinese news media has characterized the incident as being caused by aggressive U.S. spying on China that had crossed a line.

“We hope the U.S. can promote the healthy development of new China-U.S. military ties with concrete actions,” Xinhua reported Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, as saying to Rice.

It was not unusual for a national security adviser to meet with China’s top leader. Rice’s predecessor, Tom E. Donilon, also met with Xi during a similar visit in early 2013, prior to Xi and Obama holding discussions at Sunnylands, a swank estate in Rancho Mirage, California, that was once a retreat for the late publisher Walter Annenberg and his wife. Those June 2013 meetings were deemed successful by both sides.

Although Susan Rice is fairly well-known among Chinese diplomats, at least one Chinese media outlet this week had trouble distinguishing her from Condoleezza Rice, former President George W. Bush’s secretary of state, according to the South China Morning Post. According to the Morning Post, Chinese broadcast news network CCTV ran images of Condoleezza Rice before viewers complained and the correct images of Susan Rice were substituted.

AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm

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Israelis Reject Reports Of Spying On The U.S. As Susan Rice Visits

By Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Times

JERUSALEM — Israeli officials on Wednesday rejected espionage allegations reportedly made in American intelligence circles, the latest obstacle to Israel’s inclusion in the visa waiver program that would ease its citizens’ travel to the U.S.

According to a report in Newsweek, some American counterspy officials say Israel is pursuing espionage efforts against the U.S. that have “crossed red lines” and far exceed those of any other close ally.

The espionage claims emerged ahead of a visit by U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice, who arrived in Israel on Wednesday for high-level consultations on Iran and the peace process.

If past espionage involved more classic intelligence interests — as in the case of Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted of spying on the U.S. for Israel and was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 — the recent charges reportedly voiced in several classified hearings and reports suggest Israel’s current focus is industrial.

Such concerns reportedly are holding up agreements that would include Israel in the U.S. visa waiver program. The waiver, which eases travel to the U.S., is reserved for nationalities that are deemed as posing little security threat and that are not major sources of immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied accusations of espionage, calling them a malicious fabrication aimed at harming relations between his nation and the U.S.

“We do not engage in espionage in the U.S., neither directly or indirectly,” he told Israel Radio on Wednesday.

Off the record, Israeli officials went further, saying the report carried a “whiff of anti-Semitism.” According to local media, an unnamed Israeli source said someone was “gunning for the visa waiver program” by playing the intelligence card.

Previously, a key obstacle keeping Israel out of the program involved charges that American citizens of Palestinian and other Arab descent faced unequal treatment when traveling to Israel, facing delays or even refused entry. “Reciprocity is the most basic condition” of the program, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated in March.

A main sticking point concerns many Palestinian-Americans who appear in the Palestinian population registry and intend to visit the West Bank. Such travelers are often required to enter through the Allenby crossing from Jordan rather than Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv and to limit their visit to the West Bank.

Israel has promised to ease these restrictions in order to qualify for the program that would exempt Israeli citizens from the need to obtain a visa to visit the U.S., currently a lengthy and costly process for Israelis.

Another issue concerns young Israelis who travel after mandatory military service and have difficulty convincing authorities they intend to return to Israel after visiting the U.S. An estimated 20 percent of their visa applications are refused.

Two years ago, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv launched a campaign warning young Israelis of the risk of abusing tourist visas to work illegally in the United States.

In recent weeks, the embassy has announced a safer way for college students to live and work in the U.S. legally during summer vacation from academic studies as part of a summer travel-work program.

In a recent Facebook post, U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro emphasized that young Israelis were welcome visitors and said measures to increase the numbers of visas granted would be considered.

Photo: Templar1307 via Flickr

 

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