Are We Inured to Incompetence Yet?

Even given the soft bigotry of low expectations that prop up the Bush administration, this has to be just a little shocking, doesn't it?

Rice Denies Seeing Iranian Proposal in '03: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was pressed yesterday on whether the Bush administration missed an opportunity to improve relations with Iran in 2003, when Tehran issued a proposal calling for a broad dialogue with the United States, on matters including cooperation on nuclear safeguards, action against terrorists and possible recognition of Israel.

Although former administration officials have said the proposal was discussed and ultimately rejected by top U.S. officials, Rice, who was then national security adviser, said she never saw it.

Either as a lie, or as a screw-up, or as a plot to keep her in the dark, this is fairly major, right? Especially if the administration plays Mid-East double or nothing by starting a war with Iran…

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4 Responses to Are We Inured to Incompetence Yet?

  1. anon says:

    Not incompetence.

    “Missed an opportunity to improve relations” assumes too much. Clearly the author believes that engaging in talks at that particular time absolutely equals improved relations. Possibly, possibly not. In diplomacy (of all sorts) there are indeed appropriate times to ignore the other side’s overtures to talk, particularly when one believes them to be an intentional ruse and distraction.

    Ex: Would Clinton, knowing what he now knows about who Arafat really was (a corrupt terrorist, thug, and embezzler), repeat the mistake of giving Arafat the opportunity to bamboozle the world into giving him a Nobel peace prize, with no intention of following through? I hope not. QED.

    Please propose a theory as to why Iran was willing to make such an offer. What was in it for them? Beware Greeks bearing gifts but give the Iranians a world stage?

    Exactly.

  2. LACJ says:

    Consistently off point. Yes, let’s just conjecture our way in another direction. Nothing to see here.

    Iran extending feelers of any kind is but window-dressing here, as the presumed head of diplomacy is shown (perhaps) to be completely out of the loop.

    And it wouldn’t surprise me.

  3. jpe says:

    Iran offered to discuss cooperation on the WoT & its own nuclear program, and we passed it up. Amazing.

  4. Ben Landy says:

    This is painful-to-watch bureacratic wrangling (or, to use your term, incompetence). Let’s assume this is the truth: she never saw it. In that case, why would she admit to that? It only makes her look silly. The Secretary of State (then-National Security Adviser, I presume) is not privy to such things? Is she trying to downplay the scope of her influence on the administration’s national security decisionmaking, and the extent to which Cheny and Rumself kept her out of the loop whenever possible? Rice has been very willing to use the media as an instrument to gain leverage within the administration — I wouldn’t be suprised if that’s the tact being used here.

    In the other scenario, Rice knew about this but is lying about it now. Why? Perhaps she thought it was a good idea to talk with Iran but lost the argument (again, with Cheney most likely), which she might not want to admit. If you don’t know, it’s not your responsibility (?).

    My guess is that the truth lies somewhere between A) and B). But either way, Rice is just creating bad PR for herself. A far more graceful exit would have been to say that she was briefed on it but simply decided not to pursue talks with Iran — which is the Bush Administration’s stated policy on this matter anyhow. Probably would have saved her a lot of grief.

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