Rice, Power and the Obama Administration

Why has there been such a carry-on about this predictable double-whammy? Photo: Wikimedia

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2013 — Two appointments made this week by U.S. President Barack Obama have been causing a stir reminiscent of the brouhaha surrounding his nomination a few months ago of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

The first was the promotion of Susan Rice from ambassador to the UN to national security advisor. The second was the filling of Rice’s UN slot with former journalist and human rights activist Samantha Power, a behind-the-scenes adviser to Obama and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell; America and the Age of Genocide.


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Neither the appointment of Rice nor the nomination of Power should have come as a surprise. Both women have been Obama loyalists since his first run for president, and each has his ear.

Why, then, has there been such a carry-on among conservatives about the predictable double-whammy?

Let Us start with Rice, whose official appointment was announced on the anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy landing that initiated the Western Allies’ campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe 69 years ago. If this was some kind of private White House joke, it was not the least bit funny. In fact, it came off as a cynical gesture underscoring how far America has strayed from its core values, those for which were fought in World War II.

Indeed, Rice’s appointment exemplifies the low-life political workings of the Obama administration. The better someone is at covering the president’s tracks, the more he or she is rewarded for it.


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In Rice’s case, this involved the Benghazi horror. After four Americans, among them Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in a carefully planned terrorist attack in Libya last September 11, Rice wittingly and willingly became liar-in-chief for the White House and State Department.

With gusto and disdain she hit the airwaves to perpetuate the bald-faced prevarication that the murders in Benghazi were the unfortunate result of a spontaneous Arab-world protest. The protest was said to have erupted as a result of an American-made video critical of Islam’s prophet, Mohammed.

Much as been written recently about what went on in Benghazi prior to the attack. One key theory is that the Obama administration had armed revolutionaries in Libya and Syria. Stevens was in the process of retrieving American weapons from Libyan jihadists when the policy was understood to be a bad one.

It is believed that because Obama did not want any of this to emerge in time for it to harm his chances for re-election, he basically abandoned Stevens and the others to the killers. Regardless of other facts that may come to light in the future, one is certain. A Special Forces rescue operation was not approved.


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But none of this mattered to Rice. She had a task to perform and she did it like a trooper.

This is not the only reason for her promotion, however. Two others are equally relevant. One is that a presidential appointee for national security adviser is not required to obtain Congressional confirmation. This means that Rice will not have to undergo any grilling that might expose her and her boss’ falsehoods.

The second is that, as national security adviser, Rice will enjoy the umbrella of the president’s executive privilege, granting her immunity from charges of contempt if she declines to testify in hearings on the Benghazi scandal.

Criticism of the Samantha Power nomination is centered on statements she made about Israel more than a decade ago. In 2002, when she was the director of Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Power gave an interview to University of California professor Harry Kreisler on a college campus radio show. When asked by Kreisler what she would advise the president if there were a serious human-rights crisis in Israel-Palestine, she gave a glib answer indicating that she would support sending the U.S. military to protect the Palestinians from Israel.

Since then, many prominent Israel supporters have come to her defense and said, as she herself did, that her words were taken out of context.

Perhaps. But she was far more remorseful about calling Hillary Clinton a “monster” during an interview with a Scottish journalist during the 2008 presidential campaign. Not only did she apologize profusely for having said it, but she promptly resigned as a member of candidate Obama’s foreign policy team.

It is completely understandable for many Americans and Israelis to oppose this dynamic duo, together and individually. Less comprehensible is the rage in relation to their appointments, which are in keeping with the overall disaster that defines the Obama administration as a whole.

Does anyone really think that Rice or Power could make things any worse than they already are?

 


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Ruthie Blum

 Ruthie Blum is a pull-no-punches, conservative, Israeli-American columnist for Israel Hayom,  and the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”

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