Singer Barbra Streisand is being vocal to say the least when it comes to President Bush’s selection of Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as U.S. secretary of state.
In a statement published on her website, the actress says Rice has “failed miserably” as national security adviser, but is still being promoted in the Bush administration. Streisand calls that an example of “failing upwards.”
Barbra Streisand honored at 2001 Emmy Awards on CBS
“John Ashcroft lost the Senate election to a dead man. He then was made attorney general of the United States … that to me is failing upwards. Condoleezza Rice, who has failed miserably the last four years with respect to national security, is yet another example,” Streisand writes. “Only in the Bush Administration can one’s consistent failures and misjudgments lead to ascension within the ranks.”
As evidence to support her claim, Streisand says Rice was negligent regarding pre-Sept. 11 warnings about the threat of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network to the U.S.
Streisand writes: “Maintaining that she ‘never thought that [al-Qaida] would try and use a hijacked airplane as a missile,’ Rice validated the notion that she clearly did not take the intelligence briefing she received shortly before 9-11 entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States’ seriously. In fact, twelve times in the seven years prior to 9-11, the CIA reported that highjackers [sic] might use airplanes as weapons.”
Streisand, who is well-known for her anti-Bush political views, doesn’t limit her criticism to Rice, saying “the White House turned a deaf ear” to increasing terrorist chatter in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.
She closes her statement by answering her own question, “Does anybody in this country have any reason to feel more secure with Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state?”
Rice has shown that her blind loyalty to the president has prevented her from sound judgment. She was one of the primary dispensers of false information before the war in Iraq, having stated that Saddam was “actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.” Such a charge has been discredited by weapons inspector David Kay and most recently by Charles Duelfer, deputy chairman of the U.N. Special Commission to Iraq. She publicly supported the accusation by the White House that Iraq had acquired aluminum tubes needed to build nuclear weapons, which was the administration’s strongest case for invading Iraq. All the while however, Rice fully knew that the government’s foremost nuclear experts at the Department of Energy disputed the White House’s position.
The national security adviser should be a thoughtful, objective counselor to the president on security concerns and not be seen as a political operative, yet Rice actively campaigned for Bush during the election. With the terror level once again raised and Vice President Cheney utilizing fear tactics as he discussed the possibility of terrorists using nuclear weapons in U.S. cities, Rice was making political speeches rather than safeguarding the country. She has been deemed by many experts as “one of the weakest national security advisers in recent history.” Once again the American public is being sadly shortchanged by having leaders that lack foresight and sound judgment at the very time it is most needed.
Within a week of this month’s presidential election, Streisand issued a brief statement likening the Bush administration to “witches,” as she quoted Thomas Jefferson from 1798.
A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt. … If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake.
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