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Rice’s advice for Obama

Author : Seyyed Mohammad Sadegh Kharazi

By Seyyed Mohammad Sadegh Kharazi.

On the occasion of promoting her new memoir, Condoleeza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State broke her silence and in an interview last week admitted for the first time that Bush administration made mistakes in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S. While in office, she was always adamant on justifying U.S. policies of unilateralism in the post 9/11 world. Last week, she said that "we made our mistakes undoubtedly" without elaborating on the nature of those mistakes. However, after receiving headlines for her admission of fault by the Bush Administration, in the following interview, she tried to qualify her remarks by defending the war against Saddam Hussein in 2003 and saying that the U.S. made mistakes in the aftermath of the removal of Saddam by putting too much emphasis on Baghdad instead of focusing on rebuilding efforts in all provinces throughout Iraq.
Whether one accepts the rationale put forward by Rice on the nature of U.S. failure or not, the important matter is that she has for the first time admitted that the Bush Administration made mistakes in Iraq, however, she suggested that it is still too early to entirely evaluate the success or failure of Bush’s foreign policy.

President Barack Obama’s anti-Iraq war policy during the 2008 presidential campaign was an important factor in his election. Now that a former Secretary of State under Bush Administration is also critical of that policy, though implicitly, Obama should think twice before allowing those war-mongers in Washington and Tel Aviv, who were the masterminds behind the U.S. attack against Iraq, to engage America into another adventure, hence bringing more misery to not only the region but also the United States.

Obama;s criticism of the Bush foreign policy was not confined to Iraq only. On Afghanistan where he has defended the surge of NATO forces to crush Taliban and Al Qaeda more effectively, he has also criticized the U.S. decision to abandon that country after the removal of the Taliban regime. Condi Rice’s recent comments on the peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban are worth mentioning here. She said that “I sincerely hope that we remember what the Taliban was and is now” indirectly cautioning on the proposed peace negotiations with the Taliban. The Obama Administration should not take this warning lightly. The idea of playing “good Taliban” against “bad Taliban” is obsolete and bizarre. The mindset of a member or a supporter of Taliban or Al Qaeda is fixed to a certain backward ideology that does not change much from one individual to another.

Obama met Rice on Friday at the White House. They reportedly discussed national security issues. Rice’s assessment of Taliban should have been raised in the meeting. The passage of time will show whether Obama will listen to her on the untrustworthiness of the Taliban or he will embark again on another mistake which will bring about more problems for the region as well as the United States.

17 Sunday October 2010 15:26


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