Monday, October 23, 2006

Why wasn't Condoleezza Rice at the recent White House meeting on Iraq?

(caption) "President George W. Bush speaks during a video teleconference with Vice President Dick Cheney, on screen, and military commanders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006. Pictured from left are National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor J.D. Crouch, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State on Iraq David Satterfield, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Army General John Abizaid and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Marine General Peter Pace." [1]

"President Bush met with his top advisers and military commanders on Iraq yesterday in a White House session that, senior officials said, weighed options for forging a way forward amid the surging violence but did not contemplate any major shifts in strategy.
The participants in the 90-minute video conference -- who included Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the military commander in Iraq -- talked about tactical changes that could overcome the severe challenges posed by the war, officials said.
"The participants focused on the nature of the enemy, the challenges in Iraq, how to better pursue our strategy, and the stakes of succeeding for the region and the security of the American people," said White House spokeswoman Nicole Guillemard.
The meeting, which the White House called the third in a series Bush has held with this group to consult on the war, did not consider any significant policy changes." [2]

Why wasn't Condoleezza Rice included in this meeting?

It seems that in a conflict where even the military says that there is no sole military solution, the Secretary of State should be at every important meeting to discuss and advocate possible diplomatic and governmental solutions.

In fact, the Department of State, not the Department of Defense, should have been the lead agency in Iraq soon after the fall of Saddam Hussein. That it was not may have been due, at least in part, to a vision of Iraq as an ally or instrument in the war on terror rather than as a vibrant, self-fulfilling nation in its own right.

And recall also that Rice was able to achieve a ceasefire in Lebanon after only 34 days, despite a late start.

related postings
posted: monday, october 23, 2006, 5:59 AM ET
update: saturday, december 2, 2006, 5:25 AM ET

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