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EDITORIAL: Hillary’s replacement

Susan Rice is not the best choice to lead State Department

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Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's deceptive Benghazi spin ought to be enough to sink her bid for promotion. Mrs. Rice's infamous talking points insisted that a YouTube video, rather than preplanned terrorism, prompted the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Yet there's plenty more in her past that calls into question her fitness as a potential replacement for Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state.

Mrs. Rice made the rounds on Capitol Hill last week in an attempt to round up support. She met with Sen. Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican, who expressed concern that our ambassadors in Africa had asked for additional security before the 1998 terrorist bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Those requests were turned down under Mrs. Rice's watch as assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

More recently, as ambassador to the United Nations, Mrs. Rice pushed to have the United States join the U.N. Human Rights Council, a fraternity of some of the world's worst human rights violators, including Libya when it was under the rule of Moammar Gadhafi. Joining was an effort to reform from within and keep Iran out, but the U.S. presence only adds legitimacy to the body. Yet when it comes to our allies, Mrs. Rice keeps a distance, as in September, when she skipped out on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before the U.N. General Assembly.

Candidate Barack Obama's opposition to the Iraq war apparently was one of the reasons Mrs. Rice signed on to his presidential campaign rather than that of Mrs. Clinton. Her well-known reluctance to use force creates a problem. When sanctions fail and an armed response is the last resort to prevent Iran or other rogue nations from acquiring nuclear weapons, threats coming from Mrs. Rice as secretary of state would be less persuasive.

Her views can be seen more clearly in a number of early broadsides against President George W. Bush's foreign policy, appearing under her name on The Huffington Post website. In 2005, Mrs. Rice lamented, "OK, maybe I'm just slow. But, every time for the last couple years when Bush said 'we are fighting the terrorists abroad so we don't have to fight them at home,' I've cussed and spat: 'Stop insulting our intelligence!!!'" She added, "But last night it hit me: what if Bush really believes this inanity? OhmiGod!!"

She went on to accuse the Bush administration of failing to protect Democrat-leaning states from terrorism. "Silly me," she wrote in the same article, "I thought Iraq, the Administration's vacuous rhetoric, and its failure to protect the most vulnerable (blue) states in the homeland were substantially a function of domestic politics. But maybe Bush is for real!"

Yet it's Mrs. Rice's defenders who take an even lower road when they label any criticism of Mrs. Rice as racially motivated. In 2005, 13 Democratic senators voted against confirming as secretary of state another black woman by the name of Rice -- Condoleezza. Just as those critics weren't racially motivated, neither are today's. There are too many red flags, past and present, that call into question Susan Rice's qualifications to be secretary of state.

The Washington Times

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