Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Condoleeza Rice Sighting

After a long disappearing act, the Secretary of State has surfaced, sort of, with a New York Times interview so guarded that her own words appear only toward the end of a long piece with everybody else’s judgments about her tenure with the Bush Administration.

Most are harsh. Former colleagues and students at Stanford University are protesting her planned return to the faculty after serving “an administration that has trashed the basic values of academia: reason, science, expertise, and honesty.”

Colin Powell’s former Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, no rose himself in the Valerie Plame outing, complains about Rice’s performance as National Security Adviser, saying he felt like he was getting on a “gerbil wheel” every morning “and nothing would be resolved, and we’d get off at night, and the next morning we would get back on and do it all over again.”

Rice’s response is a shrug that “if that’s the assessment, you know, I’ll accept people’s assessment,” pointing out it is “a very difficult job because everything is by remote control. You do not own any of the assets.”

Introspection does not come easily to Condoleeza Rice. The interview reports her “falling back on her usual talking points, except this time, those talking points were interspersed with grumbling that she was being asked for personal reflection, something she does not like to do.”

Two books about Rice, almost certain to be critical, are coming out soon and she, of course, will be writing her own memoirs, but readers should not expect much in the way of personal revelation. At one point, she complained to the Times interviewer, “Now you’ve got me trying to psycho-analyze myself.”

No problem. There are plenty of others around who are eager to do that.

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