Bush Confidant Condoleezza Rice Expected to Replace Powell

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One of President Bush’s closest and most trusted confidants, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is expected to replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State. We speak with radio host and author Laura Flanders. [includes rush transcript]

Administration officials say National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice–one of President Bush’s closest and most trusted confidants–will replace Powell. Rice’s deputy, Stephen Hadley, will replace her as National Security Adviser. An official announcement is expected later today. The Washington Post calls the Cabinet shake-up “the triumph of a hard-edged approach to diplomacy.”

  • Laura Flanders, host of “Your Call” heard on KALW-FM in San Francisco, and on the Internet, and author of the new book “Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species” (Verso). She is also the author of “Real Majority, Media Minority; the Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting.” Check out Laura Flanders’ * website*

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Laura Flanders who has written a book about the Bush women, the title of the book, Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species. I want to start, Laura, by talking about Condoleezza Rice. You have a chapter on her. Then we’ll move on and talk about Ann Veneman, the Secretary of Agriculture who left yesterday. But Condoleezza Rice.

LAURA FLANDERS: It’s really fascinating. Colin Powell’s departure speech that you quoted where he talks about liberation, I mean it will come as news to a whole lot of people in Afghanistan and Iraq that they have been liberated. In Fallujah, they seem to have been liberated from their lives. What has been liberated is the United States from the trammels of international law. I think that the appointment of Condoleezza Rice shows that there is no intention in this administration to remake the bonds or make new bridges between the United States and other countries. I mean, this is a character who is seen even more than Colin Powell as simply a client of George W. Bush, a crony of Bush’s, somebody who has been working with Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, that whole crowd, since the first Bush administration. If, as Bill Fletcher put it, if Colin Powell had an iota of credibility internationally which he squandered there at the United Nations, Condoleezza Rice doesn’t even have that. Let’s recall, this is the woman, who with respect to national security, we’d have to say failed. She told the hearings that “I don’t remember Al Qaeda cells as being something we were told to do something about.” She talked about the August 16 PDF, the presidential memo, “Bin Laden determined to attack within the United States,” as not warning of anything, and nothing that she felt any action had to be taken on account of. Going back to the first Bush administration, she was the Soviet expert and never saw the collapse of the Soviet Union happening. Does anybody in this country have any reason to feel more secure about our relations about with the world with Condoleezza Rice heading up state? I don’t think so. But I think it does send a very strong message that the administration intends to do nothing to alter what has become the rule of empire, which is one set of rules for the United States, and another for the planet, and devil take the hind most. Who cares.

AMY GOODMAN: Laura Flanders is author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, and also a radio talk show host on Air America on Saturday and Sunday nights. Laura, in looking at Condoleezza Rice’s ascension now, we see that George Bush is consolidating the loyal followers, the people who really insulate him. Your response to that?

LAURA FLANDERS: Absolutely. Along with Alberto Gonzales, this is somebody who has personally risen thanks to his sponsorship. Let’s not forget when we were thinking about checks and balances in this administration — when the Constitution thought that was a good idea, I don’t think they were anticipating an adviser who literally sleeps in a cottage outside the President’s ranch in Crawford, spends most weekends with the President and his wife, is somebody who has, as far as we can see, never actually stood up for the President, raised questions about international law — maybe behind the scenes but nothing we have become aware of. Fascinatingly, she unlike any other national security adviser, in past administrations, went stumping for this president, in the weeks, even days before the election. And people in Pittsburgh, for example, were astonished to hear her show up there 12 days before the election when Dick Cheney was talking about terrorists possibly using nukes on U.S. cities, and we were having, you know, the threat level raised to, I don’t know, crimson or something, she was touring for the President making political speeches, and when asked, she once again reiterated the line — she was asked in Pittsburgh, “Has the cost of the war been worth it?” The invasion and occupation of Iraq, 150 billion, whatever it is. She made again the unproven allegation of a link between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein, and said “The circumstance in the Middle East that produced 9/11 still exist and we are obliged to act.” This is not absorbing any of the information that has come to the world in the last two years since the invasion.

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