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January 19, 2005
We Want Blood, Dammit!

I read the RSS summary for the New York Times editorial this morning and took some hope that they may have decided to take a more measured look at the news, rather than stoke partisan idiocy:

With a few exceptions, Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearing was an exercise in political theater.

Unfortunately, the Gray Lady meant that not as an endorsement of the more professional and less histrionic Foreign Relations Committee members, but as a scolding for them to be more like Barbara Boxer:

President Bush is entitled to choose his cabinet, and there was never much chance of opposition to Ms. Rice, a trusted member of his inner circle. But confirmation hearings should critically examine the nominee. Another unfortunate choice for a top job, Alberto Gonzales, at least had to endure a few hours' grilling on the torture of prisoners on his way to becoming attorney general.

Yesterday, Democratic senators, and some Republicans, recited the flaws in Mr. Bush's foreign policies - most glaringly on Iraq - and then did little more than politely urge Ms. Rice to check into those things once she's confirmed.

The Times then supports one of Senator Biden's more ludicrous assertions over what has already been widely reported:

Senator Joseph Biden, Democrat of Delaware, asked Ms. Rice how big an Iraqi security force had actually been trained. When Ms. Rice, the national security adviser, offered an absurdly inflated 120,000, Mr. Biden said the people doing the training put the total at 4,000. He then suggested that Ms. Rice "pick up the phone or go see these folks," as if that has not been her job all along, especially in the year since the administration said that all information on operations in Iraq would flow through her.

And yet last month, the Washington Post reported that tens of thousands had been trained already. Walter Pincus, no fan of the Bush administration, wrote this on December 22nd:

According to figures provided by the Pentagon, the number of trained Iraqi army and police units is far below the number required. For example, as of Dec. 6, the Pentagon reported that 27,000 trained army troops were needed but that only 3,428 were listed as "trained/on hand." The figures showed that 135,000 police officers were required but that only 50,798 were "trained/on hand."

The Iraqi National Guard, which provides security forces to protect buildings and other key facilities, had a better ratio, with 40,115 troops considered "trained/on hand" of the required force of 62,000.

Those total up to 94,341 security troops trained and on hand -- a far cry from 4,000. Joe Biden and the Times may need to review who they call for their information, because it's certainly not anyone who knows about the situation in Iraq. Perhaps it's Barbara Boxer, the only Senator to garner praise from the New York Times editorial board this morning, for her idiotic posturing and dishonest characterization of Rice's statement.

The Times also appears confused about the job for which Rice is being confirmed:

Ms. Rice said repeatedly that she intended to engage in "public diplomacy." We hope that doesn't mean trying to sell flawed American foreign policy to reluctant governments abroad.

The Secretary of State promotes the foreign policy of the duly-elected executive and offers her advice on goals and strategies, but the decisions reside with the President -- as they should. Does the editorial board believe that Cabinet officers should set their own policies as unelected officials in the US government? Obviously, this notion that our foreign policy is "flawed" comes from the Times' estimation of George Bush, not Colin Powell, so apparently not. Unfortunately for the Times, and against all their efforts, Bush won re-election. Somehow, though, the Gray Lady wants the next Secretary of State to implement John Kerry's foreign policy instead of Bush's.

Rarely do I seek wisdom on the Times' editorial pages, and again today I am reminded why.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 19, 2005 7:06 AM

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» Delusional Senators from Secure Liberty
Well the questioning of Coldoleeza Rice by lesser people has begun. Let's take a look at some of idiotic questions from Democrat Senators. "This is a pattern here of what I see from you," Boxer said. "It's very troubling. ... It's hard for me to let g... [Read More]

Tracked on January 19, 2005 8:16 AM

» Condi Rice And The Squad Of Liberal Losers from La Shawn Barber's Corner
I may have some comments on Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearing later today. In the meantime, see these related posts: Open Letter To A Liberal Columnist and All Condi All The Time. An excerpt:Democrats think they've got a sacrificial lamb in Ric... [Read More]

Tracked on January 19, 2005 9:26 AM

» Barbara Boxer - She Has To Be A GOP Plant from Knight Of The Mind
I've run out of rational explanations for Barbara Boxer. She defies the term rationality. Her deracination eclipses the usual pompous, out of touch lunacy resplendant inside the Capital Beltway. She is unique and I personally hope Quality Control req... [Read More]

Tracked on January 19, 2005 10:54 AM

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