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Condi Rice and Saddam Hussein

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In his fascinating portrait of Condoleezza Rice in the current issue of The Atlantic, David Samuels gives us a Condi who really believes her administration’s rhetoric about its democratic mission – and who rejects the distinction between “realists” and “idealists.” No doubt this is Condi’s current packaging, and no doubt she is a very effective saleswoman. One of her old professors at Denver University recently described her to me as the “ultimate political chameleon” who adopted her political bearings to the power environment into which she was dropped. But how is this to be reconciled with the old Condi who emerges from the pages of today’s New York Times? Today, Chevron announces that it was deep in bed with Saddam Hussein through the oil-for-food program, and indeed all of this occurred while Condi was serving on the Chevron board and was the director with principle oversight responsibility for its Middle Eastern entanglements.

According to the Volcker report, surcharges on Iraqi oil exports were introduced in August 2000 by the Iraqi state oil company, the State Oil Marketing Organization. At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company.

Ms. Rice resigned from Chevron’s board on Jan. 16, 2001, after being named national security advisor by President Bush.

So Condi as Chevron director has no objection to dark and corrupt dealings with Saddam Hussein, but Condi as national security advisor is instantly committed to overthrowing his regime through the use of violent force. I fail to see the consistency.

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