Rice to speak in St. Louis Park

Condoleezza Rice’s tenure as Secretary of State was marred with failures of truth, justice and peace.

by Chuck Turchick

Sunday, Nov. 8, Beth El Synagogue will âÄúproudlyâÄù present former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the latest luminary in its National Speaker Series. She will deliver her speech in the main sanctuary under a huge arch emblazoned with the Hebrew words for âÄúTruth, Justice, Peace.âÄù I wish this were an editorial cartoon. It isnâÄôt. But those three words provide a good framework for an analysis of RiceâÄôs government tenure. Truth RiceâÄôs multiple appearances before House and Senate committees reveal a stunning lack of recall of events preceding and subsequent to Sept. 11. In a Jan. 23, 2003 New York Times op-ed, she wrote of âÄúIraqâÄôs efforts to get uranium from abroad,âÄù when she had multiple reports that the story was not true. She also attempted to prohibit Department of State employees from appearing before staff of a Congressional committee investigating this false allegation. And knowing full well the British report had been based on forged documents, she approved the infamous 16 words in President George W. BushâÄôs 2003 State of the Union speech about the Niger-uranium connection crucial to our invasion of Iraq. Justice Whether in the âÄújusticeâÄù we have meted out or in the lack of accountability for our own perpetrators, the secretaryâÄôs record borders on criminal. She claimed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called Guantanamo a âÄúmodel medium-security prison.âÄù The OSCE said no such statement was made on its behalf. On April 27, 2009, Rice said, âÄúWe did not torture anyone.âÄù The International Committee of the Red Cross, the FBI, General Counsel to our armed services and our own Military Commission judges disagree. For example, in a Feb. 14, 2007 report, the ICRC said, âÄú[I]n many cases, the ill-treatment to which [the detainees] were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture.âÄù Rice claimed, âÄúI didnâÄôt authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency that they had policy authorizations subject to the Justice DepartmentâÄôs clearance.âÄù Documents released this April suggest her involvement in the approval of waterboarding âÄî before the âÄútorture memosâÄù were even written âÄî was much greater. Peace As a member of the elite White House Iraq Group, Rice was at the center of the spin/lies that led up to our invasion of Iraq. As a member of the administration, Rice stirred up the greatest of unfounded fears saying, âÄúWe donâÄôt want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.âÄù Now, hundreds of thousands of deaths later, she doesnâÄôt want to take responsibility for her role. It is more than merely arguable that this war was illegal under even liberal readings of international law obligations. Rice was instrumental in ginning up support for the war with multiple misstatements, exaggerations and lies. Rice has frequently defended her decisions with âÄúunless you were there.âÄù We and Beth El Synagogue leaders are there now. To give Rice a platform to justify immoral and illegal policies is to bury our heads in the sand. We are coming close to being good Germans. This is not about second-guessing, not letting go or looking backward. This is about justice; this is about not allowing the horrors of the past to continue now and in the future. Tackling Torture at the Top, a committee of Women Against Military Madness, will be peacefully demonstrating for âÄúTruth, Justice and PeaceâÄù at an anti-torture rally 5:15 p.m. Nov. 8 outside Beth El Synagogue. Veterans for Peace, National Lawyers Guild Minnesota and the Anti-War Committee, among others, have endorsed the demonstration. We especially welcome Beth El members who share our view and do not wish to contribute to RiceâÄôs no-doubt extravagant fee to join us. If interested in forming a University of Minnesota anti-torture/torture accountability group, please call 612-871-8793. Chuck Turchick University alumnus