Subject: Rice forgot a higher duty than excellence : Truth
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004 04:50:51 +0200
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9 April 2004 By Alan Gilbert
The performer lost in her performance Condoleezza Rice
was my graduate student, and a woman raised to excel.
But she failed the American people because she forgot
a higher duty than excellence : Truth
The official story about Condi Rice, supported by her current
tête à tête status with President George W. Bush, is that she is
a conservative political activist born and bred, raised by a
Republican father, whose intellectual development was formed
by conservative scholars.
There is obviously some truth in this story, because she has
indeed joined the right wing.
But there's another side to her history. As her former professor,
who taught her at the University of Denver between 1975 and 1979,
I am familiar with some of it.
As I watched her performance Thursday before the 9/11 commission,
I struggled to reconcile the speaker with the thoughtful young student
I knew. But then it struck me that perhaps she had not changed at all.
The glamorous outlines of Condi's life are well known. She grew up
with a father who told her she was a "little star." She was a concert
pianist, a debutante in Denver, and a student of Josef Korbel, the
refugee from Communist Czechoslovakia and father of Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright.
Condi has always been a dazzling performer. And as her father
John Rice predicted, she has risen.
Her intellectual trajectory, however, has not followed the simple,
ever-rightward course that the White House myth proclaims.
Much-much More :
(Thanks to Washington Monthly intern Jason Stevenson for digging this up)
CONDI RICE : 20 YEARS AGO TODAY....
Condoleezza Rice's first book, written in 1984, was called "The Soviet
Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983 : Uncertain Allegiance".
It turns out that it was met with immediate skepticism from at least one
scholar of Czechoslovakian history who seemed to think that she, um, had
an unfortunate tendency to formulate opinions without regard for the
actual facts on the ground.
Joseph Kalvoda, a history professor at St. Joseph College, apparently had
a bit of trouble of his own figuring out whether Rice was male or female,
but otherwise his criticism of Rice's methods in the American Historical
Review still rings eerily true two decades later :
Rice's selection of sources raises questions, since he frequently does
not sift facts from propaganda and valid information from disinformation
or misinformation. He passes judgments and expresses opinions without
adequate knowledge of facts. It does not add to his credibility when he
uses a source written by Josef Hodic; Rice fails to notice that this
"former military scientist" (p. 99) was a communist agent who returned
to Czechoslovakia several years ago.
....Rice's generalizations reflect his lack of knowledge about history
and the nationality problem in Czechoslovakia. For example....Rice's
discussion of the "Czechoslovak Legion" that was "born during the chaotic
period preceding the fall of the Russian empire" (pp. 44-46) is
ridiculous. (It was "born" on September 28, 1914.) He is clearly ignorant
of the history of the military unit as well as of the geography of the
area on which it fought.
Let's review : Problems distinguishing facts from propaganda. Too quick
to pass judgment without adequate knowledge. Failure to properly assess
sources who have an obvious axe to grind. Ignorance of regional history.
9 April 2004 By Joe Conason
The Artful Dodger
In her testimony Condi Rice proved adept at avoiding the real
questions about 9/11. But her act is wearing thin.
The public testimony of Condoleezza Rice before the 9/11 commission
had a strategy and a structure, to use terms that she favors.
The obvious strategy was to swathe every answer to a challenging
question from the commissioners in "context" that did more to
obfuscate than clarify.
The underlying structure of her statements shifted responsibility away
from the Bush White House, in any direction possible :
toward previous administrations, the FBI, the CIA and, as subtly as
possible, toward former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke.
Rice was nothing if not repetitive in her response to the main issue
before the commission and the country.
Like the president himself, she assured us again and again that if
only al-Qaida had revealed the date, timing, location and methods
to be used in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the White House would
surely have done everything in its power to thwart the threat.
That, of course, is the answer to a question nobody has bothered to ask.