Condoleezza Rice’s Misguided ‘Values’

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cites her personal climb to power as a shining example of how civil rights benefited a worthy African-American, but her Faustian bargain for success within George W. Bush’s administration meant death for many Iraqis, notes Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

Condoleezza Rice, who was both National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, also was an administration spokesperson who helped scare the American people into supporting the invasion of Iraq.

She accomplished this by invoking the image of “mushroom clouds” incinerating the skylines of America. In doing so, she gave credence to the false story that Iraq was a threat to the United States because it possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Rice is presently on a lecture tour promoting her 734-page memoir entitled No Higher Honor, which is what brought her to the Belk Theater on the campus of Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Oct. 25. She spoke to a packed house of 2m000 people.

Actually, what made this event notable was not the large numbers who had come to hear her, but rather that, among other things, Condoleezza Rice chose to speak about values.

According to Ms. Rice, America’s present challenge “is not China or Brazil or India, and certainly not Europe. The challenge is the United States gone bad.” Well, she should know.

Despite the fact that values are fluid concepts, most people esteem the precepts underlying honest government and respect for the law. Most but not all, and it may very well be that Rice is not with the majority on this.

There is no living group of individuals who have done more to undermine these sorts of crucial values than those who worked in the Bush Jr. White House. Truth in government, due process in the Justice System, personal protection from official spying, regulating economic greed and corruption, and a general respect for the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, you name it and they managed to trash it.

And, of course, Condoleezza Rice was there throughout the entire eight-year assault on those sorts of values. Not surprisingly, in her Charlotte address Rice avoided these topics and instead focused on the value found in equal opportunity.

“The idea that you can come from humble circumstances and also do great things” seems to her beyond the reach of today’s American youth, which is one of the ways America has “gone bad.” Ms. Rice seemed to be suggesting that she is one of the last to be able to make this leap, coming as she did “from segregated Birmingham to the highest reaches of government.”

It has always been one of America’s foundational myths that any child can “grow up to be president,” or the CEO of some giant corporation, or just become fabulously wealthy. Of course, some do. Some people hit the lottery as well, but the numbers are exceedingly small.

This reflects the very low probability that any one individual, not born with the proverbial silver spoon in his or her mouth, can succeed to this extent. The hard fact is that any suggestion on the part of Ms. Rice that there has ever been a time when such a jump from rags to riches was possible for most Americans is as misleading as the stories she spun to help get us into the Iraq War.

Yet it is clear that this myth never seems to die. For instance, it is this misconception that leads ordinary Americans to often oppose fair taxation of the rich. After all, someday they or their children might be rich and they won’t want to be taxed either.

This is the “lotto nation” syndrome sometimes referred to by Keith Olbermann. Not only is Rice a true believer in this myth, but she seems not to understand that it was her boss, George W. Bush, who pushed economic policies that made her special value of equal opportunity ever harder to achieve.

One wonders if she was really paying attention during those eight years in the “highest reaches of government.”

Not wanting to be entirely negative – after all the “U.S. gone bad” is pretty tough – Ms. Rice sought to end her talk on a high note. Despite all, she told her 2,000-strong audience, “I believe we will again make the impossible dream inevitable.” What an unfortunate contradiction in terms from a lady whose day job is teaching at Stanford University.

But it is not Ms. Rice’s words that are at issue here. It is her sense of values. Condoleezza Rice might have improbably risen out of segregated Birmingham, but for what? What sort of values did she display? What great things did she accomplish?

Well, she assisted in the killing of between 600,000 and one million Iraqis and nearly 4,500 American soldiers in Iraq and did so on the basis of false claims. This is the sort of record that ought to put one before the International Criminal Court and not in the halls of a great university.

Compared to others of our age who have risen from obscurity, people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Caesar Chavez, etc., Rice’s sense of values is just appalling. The fact that she rose to the “highest reaches of government” suggests a Faustian bargain that led to eight full years of the corruption of values.

Her memoir, No Higher Honor, is therefore grotesquely mis-titled. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more dishonorable record.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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23 comments on “Condoleezza Rice’s Misguided ‘Values’

  1. The clown that wrote this article sounds like the idiots that blamed the troops in Vietnam for acting on the intelligence they had at the moment. Come on, get off the blame game Mr. Davidson. As a professor you are “all show and no go” as the saying goes. Ms. Rice is an intelligent and well thought of person. More than can be said for the author of this tripe.

    • Rexrod on said:

      The troops on the ground in Vietnam were already in the middle of a war that was wrong to begin with.Of course they carried out their missions.Or be put in jail for deserting.Your comparison does not make sense.Condi Rice is another one of gw bush’s puppets.cheney and bush pulled the strings and she did the yapping about “mushroom clouds being the smoking gun” What an A-hole.

    • sam moses on said:

      Well-written article, Mr. Davidson. This criticism, about “intelligence they had at the moment,” is more swallowing the Bush/Cheney lies. The intelligence they had at the moment is that there were no WMD’s in Iraq. Ask Hans Blix and Scott Ritter.

    • Lester Shepherd on said:

      Cole: Rice is a lying moron. However, war Crimes have been practiced in this country by people in “the highest reaches in Government” (the height of narcissistic comment) since the founding of this country and no one has been put in the slammer that I can think of, Mr Davidson INCLUDED. If any one had the chance, it seems to me, Larry did. It is sad that he now claims a much higher ground than Mr. Pompous Powell.

    • Fred Hewitt on said:

      No! Mr. Cole. You are wrong. The Professor’s summation of Ms. Rice is right on target.
      Ms. Rice’s academic brilliance and ‘up from slavery’ history should have informed her of the facts concerning Iraq.
      The facts and fallacies concerning Iraq were very well documented by decent, professional people and even countries.
      I am a ‘C’ average college graduate and I read a great deal about the controversy on Iraq and came to the conclusion that what the Bush Administration was saying about Iraq was a “pack of lies”.

      Not only Ms. Rice, but Mr. Powell too (they were less than three generations away from slavery and two generations away from Mississippi Burning) let their grab for power and prestige cloud their humanity and caused a great many widows, widowers, orphans and dead, dead Iraqis and also Palestinians.

      Mr. Cole, it is only in some dismal circle that Ms. Rice could be considered “intelligent and a well thought of person”.

      I am not going to read Ms. Rice’s book, but I sure going to read Mr. Davidson’s.

      • What is so infuriating is when someone dares question her about all those lies, she adopts the stern, smarmy, school marm attitude and then starts repeating them as though it will makes lies into truths. There is another Rice, Susan, who is the US rep at the UN and she spews and parrots every talking point that the Israelis hand her. It’s almost like hearing Condi from 10 years ago but now it’s Iran instead of Iraq.

        • Good article. Has she no shame? I saw her yesterday on TV repeating the same lies that I assume everyone now knows are lies.

    • Jeff Davis on said:

      What a complete moron. I’m a Vietnam era vet. In all the years then and since, this is the very first time — the very first — that anyone has ever referenced, regarding that conflict, the “intelligence they had at the moment”. The “intelligence they had at the moment” is identifiable as and a phrase EXCLUSIVELY associated with the Bush/Cheney Iraq war crime era

      Clearly, you are a petulant child born after Vietnam and without the first clue about that event. A self-inflicted mental defective who substitutes fiction for reality in order to satisfy his hate-filled emotional needs.

      Sad. I hope things improve for you.

  2. Ms. Rice is an intelligent and well thought of person.

    1.intelligent – huh? – citations please to support this claim.

    2. and “well thought of” person – Hahah. Passive voice construction missing a subject. A tactic of obfuscation weakly trying to imply that everyone in general thinks well of her. Hahaha. Sorry. There is no end of responsible adults who know she’s a liar and a cad. Take your unsupported kindergarten propaganda back to the boiler room from whence it came. History will judge Rice and her ilk. Cheers and good day.

  3. chauncy on said:

    To the misguided historical (hysterical) professor:
    what year did the U.S. of America become a Nanny State?
    What exactly is your thought of how the U.S. of America should be?
    Why do you dislike the way our founders set-up the U.S. of America originally?
    Are you aware that the U.S. of America was founded on principals that were unique and different from Socialism, Communism, Anarchy, Oligarchy?

  4. McMillan on said:

    Well done Professor! The real question is why aren’t these people charged with war crimes?

  5. Pingback: Rice: W.H. infighting cost U.S. in Iraq – Politico | perfectbacon.com

  6. george Vihlstrand on said:

    George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condileeza Rice, etc. were war-crimals of their time.
    With a poorly functioning intellect, and a lack of intelligence, how was it possible for a man like George W. Bush to become the precident of the greatest nation on earth? This is something historians will be pondering for years to come.

    • bob williams on said:

      The 2000 presideuntial election, had it occurred in any other country would have been reported as a coup d’etat. That’s how Bush 2 “won” that election, it was bought and stolen.

  7. My, my. Davidson’s critics find him to be a tripe-writing clown and a misguided hysterical professor that dislikes our the way founders set-up the U.S. of America—on principals that were unique and different from Socialism, Communism, Anarchy, Oligarchy. I look in vain for a cogent defense of Ms. Rice in any of this. I may have missed it, but I find no evidence that Davidson addressed anything about the founding fathers. From what little I know of the founding fathers, they did not favor going to war without a legitimate basis, which was lacking when we went into Iraq. As for the mushroom cloud, how was Iraq going to deliver that? With their massive navy? With their thousands of long range bombers? That was fear-mongering on its face.

  8. Pingback: Condoleezza Rice’s Misguided “Values” « Peace and Justice Post

  9. Daaaave on said:

    Yeah, well we have a lot to bitch about with this regime too. Asshole.

  10. She has blood on her hands. That is the truth.

  11. Pingback: November 5, 2011 « Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

  12. Stephen Slater on said:

    Condoleeza Rice , Colin Powell ,et al, will not be judged by History but by a compliant American people who have sold their souls and their birthright to a vocal powerful minority of deathdealing opportunists . Afghanistan ,Iraq , Libya ( Syria , Iran ) how much death and dstruction will appease these deceptive murderers who always seem to land on their feet ?

  13. emistruth on said:

    Many of the Nazi leaders who were tried, convicted, and hanged at Nuremburg in 1946 were highly intelligent as well and guilty of the same crimes as Ms. Rice.

    Article 6:

    (a) Crimes against Peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging a war of aggression…
    (b) War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war…wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
    (c) Crimes against humanity: namely, murder, extermination, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war

    Article 7

    The official position of defendants, whether as Heads of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.

  14. rharwell on said:

    The problem with Rice (And I agree with this writer) is she has no values as she sold herself out to the Bush 2 sociopaths/psychopaths. She was a plagiarist and if Bush 2 has not chosen her for the spotlight, she would have been disgraced and become an unknown who wanted to be somebody. She has been outed as not being a specialist on the Soviet Union or a Russian linguist. She has been accused of being into S&M as well as being lesbian (Never denied or admitted). She is a liar along with others in the Bush 2 Administration regarding Iraq (Mushroom cloud my ass)and Powell(A bootlicker from the very beginning who attempted to cover-up My Lai). Both are a disgrace–Powell to the uniform and her for her own propaganda of over-coming her own color. In fact, both of them are liars of the first order who pretend to be Black but have used “Whites” to get where they are. She is not someone to be admired, and neither is Powell. MLK is and for that matter so is Malcolm X. For her to put herself into the category of “values”, “success”, is gagging. She is a war criminal and a liar who has never apologized for the illegal war declared on Iraq, the invasion and the occupation. Both need to be behind bars along with all the others in the Bush 2 Administration. Oh, and that includes Bush 2 and Cheney.

  15. Her sexual orientation or her proclivities for that matter should never enter into this discussion. One has nothing to do with the other.