Burn the Rice until she talks!

Condoleeza Rice will probably be confirmed as President Bush’s Secretary of State today. As a liberal, I am becoming more cynical these days. I no longer believe the confirmation hearings are used as a tool to weed some people out.

After all, Alberto Gonzales may be confirmed as attorney general. It saddens me that somebody can define “torture” so he or she can use it for his or her advantage and within a 12-month period of time still be confirmed as attorney general-and with little controversy.

Perhaps these hearings could be used to better define a candidate’s character.

On Jan. 18, Rice, one of the most powerful women in America, entered the first round of questions-or what some Republicans called interrogations.Like any political hearing in Washington, there were a few surprises, some disappointments and, of course, plenty of the politically correct answers that seemingly mean nothing:

“I think they think that they are doing relatively well on starting to get the numbers up for Iraqi security forces, but that they do need to address these questions ofleadership, which then lead to problems with desertion and the like; and that they need to do something that is actually quite promising, which is to work with the Iraqis who have some ideas themselves about how some of the security forces might be restructured.”

Excerpts from the hearings, such as this, make me think of missed opportunities. With the right answers, Rice could have positioned herself to become the first female president.

The downside to her popularity has been the lack of being forthright on the hard questions.

Such a question was asked by Senator Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., “…over the administration’s initial policy on treatment of terrorism detainees and the definition of torture.”

Rice answered, “I’m not going to give views on specific interrogation techniques.”

She is still continuing to avoid the difficult questions yet will she be confirmed? Yes. But like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, she may not be remembered for the things she did right, but instead for the things she did wrong.

More questions still await Rice and she better answer the tough ones. The fact that she was an advocate for Bush’s pre-emptive doctrine based on supposed Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (while no weapons existed) is just one example of many that need to be answered before she should take her place as a true leader in the U.S. policy-making apparatus.

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