the 9/11 Commission will not lay a glove on her, Condoleezza
Rice is finished as
a Black political asset of the White Man’s (War) Party. Colin
Powell, a much smarter and cagier opportunist, will likely
escape this administration still clutching his devalued aura,
hoarded some small measure of political capital for himself.
This is not true for Condoleezza Rice. Her complete and abject
identification with her master leaves Rice with nothing of
her own to claim.
write her political
epitaph yet,” says commentator Earl Ofari Hutchinson. If
Hutchinson means that Rice will always have a job with the
Bush family (she served the father, too) or with Chevron-Texaco
Oil (where she worked between Bushes), then we agree. Rice’s
selfless renderings to the white and wealthy have earned her
a lifetime of…more of the same. Should she crack under the
weight of her own and her masters’ lies – as sometimes seems
imminent – there is a commodious attic in one of the Bush domiciles
where “Condi” can be safely stored.
gone are the heady days when rich rightwing society floated
cocktail dreams of Condoleezza for the Senate or Vice
President in 2004, and even Condi
for President in ’08. "Hollywood couldn't come
up with a candidate as good as she is," said California
GOP Chairman Shawn Steele, back in May 2001. "She's emerging
as the most popular and most admired woman in America right
now." Rice has since rumpled
in the heat, no longer Best In Show, so to speak.
the false glow of their delusions, Republicans truly believed
that Condoleezza Rice was the ultimate political asset – a
Black woman who could by her presence wash them clean of racist
stench, and then perform the same ablution the next day, and
the next. Rice made it easy for the super-privileged to love
themselves. Unlike coy Colin Powell, Rice did not bargain or
seek her own space, but settled into the very fabric of Bushness.
In so doing, however, Rice lost all power of personal agency.
Having surrendered everything to the Bushes, her Blackness
gradually lost its value as a cloak for her patrons’ racism.
The affirmative action opinions of a loyal Black servant carry
little weight, as Rice discovered in January of last year when
Colin Powell’s pronouncements on the subject totally eclipsed
her own. Her benefactors noticed that, too. That’s when the
talk of high office, stopped.
rich white admirers hugged and squeezed her too tightly – until
there was nothing left but them all over her. It is
common in African American circles to speak of “lost” Black
souls, but in Rice’s case it is almost literally true that
she doesn’t know where she stands and to whom she is speaking.
what we know about the difficulties of our own history, knowing
what we know about how hard it is to build democracy, we need
to be humble in singing freedom's praises,” Rice told the convention
of the National Association of Black Journalists, last August. “We” need
to be humble about singing freedom’s praises? We Black people,
who still tingle to Dr. Martin Luther King’s joyous, boundlessly
exuberant “Free at last…thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!” are
supposed to be humble about freedoms so dearly won? Rice’s speech
was an appropriately cautionary message to privileged white Americans,
that they should not so boastfully lecture other nations on America’s
democratic credentials. But for a Black gathering, Rice’s words
were more than strange – they were evidence of profound personal
disorientation. A Black woman who doesn’t know how to talk to
Black people is of limited political use to an administration
that has few African American allies.
has mused aloud that segregation would have faded away in time
without the intervention
of the Civil Rights Movement. This is no doubt what rich racists
say over drinks in Texas – and what George Bush might have said
to Rice back at the ranch in the days when they were both young
and he still drank – but it is not what the “most powerful” Black
woman in the world says in public if she has a brain in her head.
Rice is brilliant, we were told. Millions of Black people fervently
were true, that Bush’s tenure would at least provide an icon
or role model or two, as a consolation prize. Then the esteemed
Dr. Rice revealed that she is as stupid as anyone in the White
House – with the possible exception of George. "I don't
think anybody could have predicted ... that they would try to
use an airplane as a missile," said the National Security
Advisor in the spring
of 2002, when Congress finally began delving into how 9/11
could have happened.
years later, even Fox news viewers know that al-Qaida’s martyrdom-seekers
talked and plotted about little else than using airplanes as
against the United States in the years and months before
9/11 – facts known at the time even to serious newspaper readers
as well as the world’s intelligence services. Rice marinates
in the putrid stew, and even the helping hands of the 9/11 Commissioners – who
have repeatedly said they are not seeking to assign blame to
anyone – cannot save the last threads of her reputation as an
intellect. Politically, Rice is burnt.
The bitter end
know that Rice was, by virtue of her position, the person most
culpable for dismissing the threat from al-Qaida:
thanks to former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and others,
we know that Rice and the rest of the oil-slicks at the White
House chose to
spend their pre-9/11 quality time studying petro-maps of Iraq.
When Rice faces the
9/11 Commission, as early as next
week, she will hold the administration in her not too capable
hands. Unlike George Bush and Vice President Cheney, who will
other for company, Rice will speak alone and under oath.
In ways that she never expected, “Dr. Rice’s appearance before
the commission will set the stage for the most dramatic testimony
since the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas,” said the March 30 issue of NorthStar Network.
There is a big difference, however. The Senate enabled the
gruesome Justice Thomas to plague Black people for the rest
of his lifetime. Condoleezza Rice’s 9/11 testimony will seal
her political fate. Whether she sticks around for the remainder
of the Bush term(s) or not, there will never again be websites
and bumper stickers promoting “Condi” for high office. After
her testimony is done, she will have outlived her public usefulness
to her adopted household. Rice’s “political epitaph” is all
will judge Rice infinitely more harshly than the 9/11 Commission,
is concerned only with harms done to Americans. Rice, Colin
Powell and a cellblock full of Bush Pirates deserve to be tried
for the highest crimes yet delineated by mankind: crimes against
peace (i.e., waging a "war of aggression"), war crimes
and crimes against humanity. So, let’s hear no more about
Condoleezza Rice being unfairly made a scapegoat.
The last thing a pirate
should wish for is justice.