Obama Surrogate Susan Rice Fires Back

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(Pictured Above: Dr. Susan Rice with Barack Obama)
On a conference call this morning, Dr. Susan Rice, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), and Greg Craig (whose client’s have included Russian dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Elian Gonzalez’s father, Mr. Juan Miguel) defended Barack Obama against recent criticisms from Sen. McCain and other prominent Republicans about Obama’s approach to counterterrorism.
The Obama camp went to great lengths to show the nuances of Obama’s counterterrorism plan. I was particularly impressed with Dr. Rice’s argument that in addition to being strong militarily, Obama’s plan will “dry up support for extremists” in part by upholding at home the values we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and extremists. This claim requires more explanation as the campaign continues, but is a promising start. I have also not heard any mention of reducing terrorist support as a means of fighting terrorism from the Republican side, and it is an often overlooked but important factor in reducing the effectiveness of terrorist groups.
The real zinger of the call also came from Dr. Rice, criticizing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In response to Giuliani’s criticism of the Supreme Court decision allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to petition for the right of habeas corpus, Rice read a quote from a 1994 New York times article about the trial of the bombers in the first World Trade Center attacks. Giuliani said that trying the bombers, “demonstrates that New Yorkers won’t meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon–the law.” Rice then said that Giuliani thus, “was for the law before he was against it.”
Look for more attempts to show McCain and his surrogates as “flip-floppers” on important issues as the Presidential campaign wears on. But for now I was very pleased to hear Obama’s more complex, but also more pragmatic and reasoned approach to fighting terrorism.
— Andrew Lebovich

Comments

24 comments on “Obama Surrogate Susan Rice Fires Back

  1. Kathleen says:

    Speaking of Harvard grads being “stupid”. doesn’t our little Demander-In-Chief have an MBA from Harvard? I guess its so much better prep for gov’t work to go to Bob Jones School of Law, huh?
    In the vernacular, Dr, Rice is saying when you walk your talk and practice what you preach, you command more respect and trust, and cooperation.
    But of course, you have to think of others as your equal, not your enemy.

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  2. serena1313 says:

    Many commenters ignore that by not “upholding at home the values that we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and extremists” has enraged people worldwide.
    This kind of hypocrisy — the torture and abuse [of anyone Bush deems a terrorist] — provides fodder for hatred against the US. It gives people reason to join extremists groups. The goal is to discourage terrorism not encourage it.
    Will it dry up support for extremists: sure to some extent, but no, not completely.
    I doubt it is possible to completely eradicate terrorism, but changing the foreign policies Bush enacted is a step in the right direction.
    Otherwise making the same decisions expecting different results is insane.
    It is no wonder America is disdained for its hypocrisy and feared for its stupidity.

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  3. Tahoe Editor says:

    I do not trust Susan Rice.
    Biden came out and said Obama gave the “wrong answer”.
    Rice says, “No, you’re wrong, he didn’t say that.” Another surrogate underestimating Americans’ intelligence.
    Nuance or confusion?
    http://www.mtexpress.com/index2.php?ID=2005120828
    Obama’s Unofficial Slogan: ‘No, You’re Wrong.’
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MDI5ZDMyZjM4ZWY5MWY5ZTgyNDU2MzExNjZmZTc2Yjg=

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  4. David says:

    I think Susan Rice is correct, and I think she is a very real asset to the Obama campaign. I also think the fresh air she is breathing into this debate might just help keep us from suffocating from current practice. We ain’t winning anything at the moment, and there is no such thing as stasis in foreign policy, so essentially we are losing our asses employing current “best practice,” which is an extension of some pretty seriously flawed past “best practice.”
    Frankly, we’d do well to pick the people saying the most intelligent things and roll the dice. We did it with FDR, and it would still be working well in evolved form were it not for a very well funded, Milton Friedman driven, AEI promoted unrelenting assault, to the adoring accolades of Wall Street and Company.
    Yes, I am aware of Obama’s relationship to the Chicago School, but I suspect it means he will be better equipped to bring the Ship of State as it exists about without it floundering, running aground, or winding up in the doldrums.

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  5. Tahoe Editor says:

    The next president will decidedly not offer a refreshing new approach to foreign policy. We’ll either get one who knows what he wants to do, or get one who doesn’t know what he wants to do and will therefore do mostly what the other one would have done anyway — albeit in a more confused fashion.
    Obama’s Back Flips
    http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=298769662128800

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  6. kotzabasis says:

    Morton Jun
    The “soft” supporters will continue to support the extremists if the latter continue to build hard on their operational successes. U.S. changing behavior will not shift the softies support by one iota.
    Don S Jun
    It’s an elementary fact that in all human relations success is an attractive force and failure is a repelling one. And the same applies in war. That is why PROPAGANDA plays a vital role in war.

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  7. WigWag says:

    No, POA what you hear are many different voices speaking in your head all at once. It’s time for you to increase your dose of Abilify.

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Of course, WigWag aims to have us all flock to McCain for a refreshing new approach to foreign policy. Undoubtedly, we can go from sodomizing Muslims to nukin’ em. Who needs torture with an eraser like that? The only question is, how does Israel talk him into doing it “sooner than later”?
    (Whats that I hear? Is it more braying?)

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  9. downtown says:

    Having had the misfortune of witnessing Giuliani’s conduct prior and during his mayoralty, I consider the man beneath contempt. His only claim to fame is the cowardly behavior of our Washington officials, which allowed him to monopolize the cameras on that fateful day. He then went on to cash in on that limelight big time, totally devoid of any shame.

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  10. WigWag says:

    TE, Susan Rice should go back to Brookings before she does any more harm to American foreign policy. At least at a think tank all she can produce is words, not policies that a neophyte like Obama may be too dumb to ignore. And while she’s at it, maybe she can suggest that Samantha Power remain at Harvard instead of adding to the incompetence of the Obama foreign policy team.
    Some of the people who post on this site really make me laugh. They love to criticize the neocons for the disasterous policies that they have brought us. But they don’t get that liberal internationalists like Powers and Rice are just as anxious for American adventurism, just in the name of different causes.
    Look, TE, I could be wrong. Maybe Barack Obama will be another Lincoln like many of his loyal acolytes believe. Who knows, maybe he will turn out to be a foreign policy genius. But if you look at the track record of his foreign policy advisors there is nothing impressive about it at all. Tony Lake, Zbig Brzezinski, Robert Malley, Susan Rice, Samantha Power. Anyone who thinks this group is going to produce anything radically different is smoking something powerful. Like Obama, none of them have a track record of success. Give this group a shot, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in four years, Washington Note readers will be longing for the good old days when the neocons ruled the roost

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  11. Tahoe Editor says:

    Susan Rice has been one of the Obama camp’s more underwhelming surrogates throughout this campaign.

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  12. DonS says:

    “The correct strategy how to defeat the extremists and to deprive them of their support is already foreshadowed in Iraq, by defeating them in the field of battle”
    You mean to say there is not an available supply if currently unradicalized individuals just primed to be radicalized by exactly the ‘strqategic’ behavior you see as “successful”. Interesting, but highly questionable thinking. I see it more as a bubbling pot, very deep. I don’t have the solution to lowering the temperature overall, but its sure not done by choosing to see only the surface bubbles as the problem. Perhaps you subscribe to the “nuke ’em all approach”?

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  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The correct strategy how to defeat the extremists and to deprive them of their support is already foreshadowed in Iraq, by defeating them in the field of battle, as is being done by the new strategy of general Petraeus; one deprives the extremists of both recruits and supporters. This is why the extremists in Iraq are now using and deploying children and women with Down syndrome as a result of the drying up of recruits”
    One of the strangest things about you people is the fact that you continue to use lies even after the lies have been shown to be lies. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this Downs Syndrome/suicide bomber stuff was shown to be horseshit quite a while back.
    And to state that “As I’ve argued seven years ago only by depriving the terrorists of their successes by capturing and killing them can one defeat them decisively. And the first signs that this is happening presently is Iraq” is such a departure from reality that it defies the imagination why someone would purposely bandy such an inanity in front of people that are obviously paying attention. Who tells you to say this shit?

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  14. Bartolo says:

    WW: “Terrorism existed before Bush; it will exist after Bush leaves the scene and our behavior won’t change a thing.”
    Our behaviour in the Middle East (see OBL’s list) will continue to rile the evil doers until we change it.

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  15. Morton says:

    ““dry up support for extremists…by upholding at home the
    values that we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and
    extremists”, is riddled with historical and psychological
    ignorance and by the fact that she DOES NOT know thy enemy
    and therefore can only be laughed out of serious political
    debate. The supporters of the extremists and the latter
    themselves have their own apocalyptic Allah-made values and
    they don’t give a hoot about the values of the infidels as
    preached or practiced.”
    There are supporters and there are supporters. The latter are
    those who actively abet and believe in the cause, even if they
    aren’t committing suicide. The former–the much larger
    number–are those who give crucial passive support to the
    cause. Or, to put it another way, don’t oppose it and may
    provide various forms of “cover.” These are the folks she’s
    talking about. Holding up a viable–and even inspirational–
    alternative to radicalism is key to drying up passive support.

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  16. kotzabasis says:

    For Andrew Lebovich to post his fire cracker after the smoke that has been emitted from the intellectual ashes of Dr. Susan Rice’s argument how Obama’s plan will stop the support of extremists as a serious argument, reveals clearly what a crowd of political dilettantes are attempting to enter the corridors of power and hence crowding out statesmanship.
    Dr. Rice’s contention that Obama’s plan will “dry up support for extremists…by upholding at home the values that we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and extremists”, is riddled with historical and psychological ignorance and by the fact that she DOES NOT know thy enemy and therefore can only be laughed out of serious political debate. The supporters of the extremists and the latter themselves have their own apocalyptic Allah-made values and they don’t give a hoot about the values of the infidels as preached or practiced. Their only concern is to destroy these values thus obeying the orders of their God. If this is the plan of Obama as a new diplomatic strategy if he became president to defeat terrorism, then this diplomacy is destined to be an abject failure and will lead with mathematical precision to the shipwreck of his strategy against global terror to the detriment of the American people and the civilized world.
    The correct strategy how to defeat the extremists and to deprive them of their support is already foreshadowed in Iraq, by defeating them in the field of battle, as is being done by the new strategy of general Petraeus; one deprives the extremists of both recruits and supporters. This is why the extremists in Iraq are now using and deploying children and women with Down syndrome as a result of the drying up of recruits. As I’ve argued seven years ago only by depriving the terrorists of their successes by capturing and killing them can one defeat them decisively. And the first signs that this is happening presently is Iraq. This is why a withdrawal from Iraq on the threshold of a U.S. victory, as pledged by Obama, will be the ultimate stupidity executed by a Commander-in-Chief and an ignominious chapter in American history, surpassing the defeat in Vietnam. Obama must not pass!

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  17. Mr.Murder says:

    There’s no military answer.
    Doubtful anyone will take the political hit necessary to say that.
    Instead, the winner ends up making a better sale to the MIC of continued warfare.

    Reply

  18. Zathras says:

    Out of curiosity, did anyone on the conference call ask Sen. Obama’s surrogate’s how his approach to counterterrorism would differ from the one the Clinton administration followed in the years before 9/11?
    I’d have an answer ready for that question if I were one of them. If it wasn’t asked this morning, it will be soon.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And, of course, my candidate, Mrs. Clinton has a history with Wal-Mart as well”
    She is also the darling of the defense industry, and AIPAC. No doubt, popular opinion would hold that McCain is the second choice for those two entities. Thats a mighty big hurtle for Obama to jump. Unless, of course, he has no intention of jumping it, in which case we can assume that if he hasn’t already sold out, he will. His rhetoric when speaking before AIPAC, his backpeddling on his early comments about the plight of the Palestinians, and his willingness to jump on the “Demonize Iran Band Wagon” does not exactly portend the “change” he is fond of promising.

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  20. WigWag says:

    Linda, you make a good point about Habeas Corpus and that 5-4 decision. I would point out though, that three members of the majority in that case were appointed by republican presidents.
    JohnH, I would be happy to see the neocon leaders spending the rest of their lives working at Wal-Mart witnessing globalization first hand. But to be fair, as Steve Clemons himself pointed out in a post a few days ago, it’s not just neocons lauding Wal-Mart. Barack Obama’s new economic advisor, Jason Furman, has been widely criticized for his lavish praise of which company? Wal-Mart.
    And, of course, my candidate, Mrs. Clinton has a history with Wal-Mart as well. Whomever is in power and whatever our foreign policy, somehow I think Wal-Mart will be doing just fine.

    Reply

  21. p.lukasiak says:

    I’d be a lot more impressed with “Obama’s plan” if he was the one actually articulating it…

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    “Obama’s plan will “dry up support for extremists” in part by upholding at home the values we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and extremists.”
    Let’s hope it includes practicing what we preach abroad, too. If anything, the neocons took hypocrisy to new heights by preaching noble sounding policies while practicing those most vile (torture, occupation, and overseeing the deaths and exodus of millions of Iraqis from their homes.)
    One of my long term gripes about this blog, and the rest of the so-called ‘realist’ community, is that they refuse to call the neocons on their hypocritical rhetoric. It makes you wonder if the entire foreign policy community is a bunch of rubes or rather a bunch of phonies, intent on misleading the American public as part of their professional duty.
    Let’s hope the Obama purges the foreign policy establishment and replaces it with people of intellectual integrity and honesty. For their complicity in Bush’s despicable foreign policy, they deserve to spend the remainder of their years working at Wal-Mart, witnessing globalization first hand.

    Reply

  23. Linda says:

    WigWag,
    I think we should close Gitmo and not Abu Gharib that I believe was transferred to Iraqi control and closed a couple years ago.
    I do think there is a big difference between the two candidates on recent Supreme Court decision re: habeas corpus. Even if we renounce torture, if we hold foreign nationals for years without telling them the charges and allowing them legal counsel, we are fair game for other countries to do the same to our citizens. Of course, all terrorism can’t be stopped, but having a better reputation internationally and one that lives up to our values does have positive value. Of course, given McCain’s position against that decision that was 5-4, I don’t want him to appoint the next Supreme Court justice.

    Reply

  24. WigWag says:

    Yawn!
    What a big joke. McCain criticizes Obama’s approach to counterterrorism; Obama criticizes McCain’s approach to counterterrorism. It’s all a big lie. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them on this issue. They both want more military spending; they both want a bigger army; neither of them is against a larger navy. Only a dolt would think that it’s possible “to dry up support for extremists in part by upholding at home the values we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and extremists.” Of course we should close Abu Ghraib. Of course water boarding is torture and should be outlawed. The behavior of the Bush crowd should be condemned because it’s illegal and its morally bankrupt. But will returning to the pre-Bush approach to “our values” deter terrorism? Where’s the evidence? Terrorism existed before Bush; it will exist after Bush leaves the scene and our behavior won’t change a thing. We should behave ethically because of who we are, not because it will make a damn bit of difference to the terrorists or those contemplating becoming terrorists.

    Reply

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