The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, August 07, 2006

Why Condi Can't Lead

I've been waiting for a transcript from yesterday's Meet the Press to appear, because Condoleezza Rice said one of the most profoundly stupid things I've ever heard.

QUESTION: You talk about a different kind of Middle East. This was a scene that Americans watched on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis demonstrating in favor of Hezbollah and burning American flags. And the Associated Press reporter on the scene wrote it this way:

"Hundreds of thousands of Shiites chanting, 'Death to Israel, death to America,' marched through the streets of Baghdad's biggest Shiite district in a show of support for Hezbollah militants battling Israeli troops in Lebanon. The demonstration was the biggest in the Middle East in support of Hezbollah. Demonstrators wearing white burial shrouds, symbolizing their willingness to die for Hezbollah, waved the group's yellow banner and chanted slogans in support of its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who has attained a cult status in the Arab world for his defiance of Israel. 'Allah, Allah, give victory to Hassan Nasrallah,' the crowd chanted."

Have we created another Iran in Iraq, another fundamentalist Islamic extremist regime where hundreds of thousands of people in a country of just 25 million show up and burn American flags?

SECRETARY RICE: First of all, the notion that somehow Iraq under Prime Minister Maliki and his government is something akin to Iran is just not right. I mean, it's just erroneous. What you have in Iraq is the beginnings of a -- it's a very young democratic system. It is a system that has produced a unity government after a number of elections in which people went out despite terrorist threats and put their lives on the line to elect this government. And it's a young government and, yes, it has to get its feet under it.

But, Tim, it's an emotional time, particularly for Shia in the Middle East. And that people would go out and demonstrate and say what they feel is one sign that perhaps Iraq is one place in the Middle East where people are exercising their right to free speech. No, I don't like what they said and I believe that when you have an Iraq that is more stable and more democratic and moving toward bringing these groups together that you won't have demonstrations of that kind.

This administration couldn't be more divorced from reality. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis hit the streets to chant 'Death to America,' and it's just another proud example of the democracy we've brought to the nation. It's a good thing.