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The price of Iraq

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The price of Iraq

Posted by John Norris on December 24, 2008

Secretary of State Condi Rice was on NBC’s Meet the Press with David Gregory and was asked about Darfur in a fascinating exchange.

QUESTION: “Why didn’t we act unilaterally?”

SECRETARY RICE: Well, because acting unilaterally in an Arab country – or in a Muslim country that is that complex, that far away, really did not seem to be an option. The President considered it. He thought about it. He thought about what we could do unilaterally. But in fact, instead, we’ve tried to mobilize the international community and international opinion. And frankly, given that just a couple of years ago at the UN the leaders of the world stood up and said we have a responsibility to protect if a government will not protect its own people, and then we’ve had trouble getting anybody to do anything about it. The United States has, by the way, imposed unilateral sanctions in Sudan. We have been the country that’s been the most active in resisting calls to interfere with the International Criminal Court investigation of the leadership there, despite the fact that we’re not members of the International Criminal Court. So I think we’ve done a lot unilaterally, but we could have done a lot more if the international community were better mobilized.”

Acting unilaterally in a “Muslim country that is that complex, that far away, really did not seem to be an option?” Apparently, after two terms on the job, Condi still has some problems with geography. The Bush Administration had no problem acting in a largely unilateral fashion in Iraq – a country that is further away, overwhelmingly Muslim and every bit as complex as Sudan. What Condi should have said: “We just did not think stopping genocide was as high a priority as regime change in Iraq.” It least it would have been honest.