NEW YORK, NY – There is probably not one elected official in Washington DC more focused on the decision of Democrat Susan Rice to run or decline to run for the Maine U.S. senate seat up for grabs in the 2020 election than Senator Susan Collins, the state’s moderate Republican incumbent, who would have to defend the seat she has held since 2009 against Rice.
Rice, who had served in several high level foreign affair positions in both the former Presidents Clinton and Obama Administrations, first spoke of her interest in taking on Collins early this past October, days following the Republican Senator’s announcement that she planned to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh (who shortly later was approved by a 52- 48 margin) as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. Speaking at a NYC media event several days after Collins pledged to cast her vote for Kavanaugh, Rice accused her potential senate opponent of “putting politics” over the rights of victims of sexual assault.
There was one specific, now famous, victim Rice was referring to: Christine Blasey Ford. As reported in the media throughout the world last fall, Ford had come forward during the senate confirmation hearings to accuse then nominee Brett Kavanaugh of committing sexual assault against her while both were in high school in the mid-1980’s. While Ford was unable to remember the date or location of the alleged assault, was unable to identify even one corroborating witness, and could not produce any evidence to support her accusation, Susan Rice, just like the entire American left, found Kavanaugh guilty of the charge, and denounced Collins, who had based her support of Kavanaugh on “legal principles about due process, the presumption of innocence and fairness”.
Such an argument by Collins, while seemingly reasonable, might prove to be a problem in a race against Rice in a state whose registered Independents, a crucial 34.9%, have been known to swing left on women’s issues. Those independent voters combined with the almost one third of registered Democrats (Republicans have just over one third) would seem to present a difficult obstacle for Collins to overcome to best Rice in 2020.
But if Collins finds herself able to overcome her penchant for praising those who merit condemnation, she might find Rice to be an easy candidate to defeat, for foremost of the underserving beneficiaries of the Republican Senator’s over the top rhetorical kindness, was, ironically, Susan Rice herself. That kindness goes back to January 2009, the early days of the first Obama Administration. At that time Rice was in the process of being confirmed by the senate in what turned out to be a one hundred to zero vote in her favor for the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Following that rare bi-partisan, unanimous confirmation, Rice received lavish praise from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike. But few were more effusive in their praise than Susan Collins, who in a press release praised Rice as a “remarkable woman”, whom she had met in the past at foreign policy seminars. The senator then fulsomely added that she had been “so impressed with her brilliance and nuanced insights as we discussed foreign policy”.
To defeat Rice in 2020, and perhaps even to be able to fall asleep at night, Collins must find a way to throw those words in the sewer. Where else do words that praise an enabler of genocide belong?
In Rwanda over the span of 100 days, then 29 year-old Susan Rice, who held the key position of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under then President Clinton, was – along with her boss Richard Clarke, the special presidential assistant in global affairs in the National Security Council (NSC), and, of course, President Clinton himself- nothing less than an enabler of the genocide that ravaged that tragic African nation. That genocide, which took place from April 6, 1994 through July, 16, 1994, ended with the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 Rwandan men, women and children from a population of 8 million. The victims were members of the Tutsi community, a minority ethnic group living in that beleaguered nation. Their murderers belonged to the extremist faction of the majority ethnic group, the Hutus, who used the Tutsis as their scapegoats to blame for the country’s increasing economic, social and political troubles.
Tragically, rather than taking immediate military and diplomatic action to stop the massacre President Clinton, with Susan Rice and Richard Clarke at his side, took the opposite path. During the first five days of the slaughter, he devoted all of our nation’s efforts solely to the evacuation of the approximately 250 Americans living there at the time. Completed within five days, the evacuation would have been laudatory had Clinton not kept silent and inert about the horrors that precipitated it.
Then in early May, Clinton, again with Rice and Clarke as his major advisors on African affairs, went a step further to enable the slaughter in Rwanda- by now 6 men, women and children murdered every minute of every day: And their dirty deed was committed in the halls of the United Nations. There American diplomats succeeded in pushing a resolution through the security council reducing the then already understaffed 2,500 U.N. peace keeping forces in Rwanda to a mere 270, even as humanitarian organizations, such as the Human Rights Watch, had been warning that if the U.N. forces were removed “Rwandans will quickly become victims of genocide”.
In fairness to Clinton, Clarke and Rice, it needs to be remembered that during the time leading up to the Rwandan genocide, Congress had been pressuring the Administration to cut the costs of U.N. peacekeeping forces, which were largely paid for by America. In addition, the three had been faced with an increasing isolationist mood in our nation, which had been hardened after 18 U.S. Rangers had been killed while on a mission in civil war- torn Somalia on October 3rd, 1993, only six short months before the genocide in Rwanda was to tragically begin, and, significantly, only one short year before the November 1994 United States Congressional elections were to be held.
In fact, to the Human Rights Watch and other critics of the Clinton Administration, its seeming indifference to the mass slaughter in Rwanda was predicated on the political considerations attending to those 1994 Congressional elections. And it turned out to be Susan Rice, above even Clarke, whom the Clinton Administration selected to author the political talking points on its Rwanda policy. It was a job she performed with gusto.
On May 6, 1994 – a date that marked the first month anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda and which pre-dated the crucial October Congressional elections by nearly a full 6 months- Susan Rice composed a series of talking points on America’s position on Rwanda for then Vice-President Al Gore.
First delivered by Gore to U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros- Ghali, the initial talking point, generally interpreted as a declaration of American policy in Rwanda read, “We have serious reservations about proposals to establish a large peace enforcement mission, which would operate throughout Rwanda with a mandate to end the fighting, restore order and pacify the population”.
One week later, those American “reservations” about a U.N. peacekeeping force were evidenced again in a handwritten note that Rice had written during a White House meeting on Rwandan genocide: “I.O. (International Organizations- the division in the state department and National Security Council that effects American United Nations policies) is looking proactive while vetoing this resolution (to maintain a U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda).”
The threat of America vetoing such a U.N. resolution proved to be the excuse used by the world body’s aforementioned withdrawal of its peacekeeping forces in Rwanda – a withdrawal that resulted in the last chance the world possessed to end the mass murder of the people of that tragic nation.
The question of what could have been on Susan Rice’s mind during this time appears to have been provided by Samantha Power, Rice’s successor at the U.N. In a September 1, 2001 column she had written for the magazine the “Atlantic”, Power quoted one of the several participants of a late April, 1994 U.S. Government interagency teleconference, joined in by Rice, on Rwanda.
That particular participant, Lieutenant Colonel Tony Marley, as Power wrote, revealed to her that during the teleconference Rice had shocked the government officials on the line when discussing the mounting death toll in Rwanda she asked, “If we use the word ‘genocide’, what will the effect be on the November [Congressional elections] ?” Here, to paraphrase the words that Rice herself was to use nearly a quarter of a century later in her criticism of Senator Collins’ support of Brett Kavanaugh, it might be stated, ‘Susan Rice placed politics over the lives of the 800,000 children, women and men who were slaughtered in Rwanda.’
Rice, of course, would never agree to such an assessment. Rather over the years she has denied the major role she played in the formulation of the Clinton Administration’s policy of inaction during the Rwandan massacres. The standard excuse she has repeated over the years has been that she was only a “low- level official” during the genocide in Rwanda.
As if believing her own lie, Rice, in a 2012 interview with the magazine the “New Republic”, seemed to lack any feelings of guilt about her role as an enabler of the slaughter in Rwanda. “To suggest that I’m repenting for [Rwanda] or that I’m haunted by that or that I don’t sleep at night because of that or that every policy I’ve implemented subsequently is driven by that is garbage”, she told the magazine’s reporter.
But Rice might well have lost sleep over another lie she delivered that same year, this time at the behest of then President Obama. Appearing on five separate political talk shows on Sunday September 16, 2012 to be questioned on the then recent murders of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, in the city of Benghazi, Rice, at the time the American Ambassador to the U.N., contended that the murders had been the result of a spontaneous response by a group of ordinary Libyan citizens consumed by anger over an anti-Muslim video posted over the internet from American airwaves.
As Republicans were to later discover, however, Rice had lied that day: Within two days after the attack, the Obama Administration, including Rice herself, had learned that the slaughter, rather than being a spontaneous assault spawned by a video, had been planned long in advance by a group of Islamic terrorists intent on killing Americans. It was a lie that Republicans were to soon later use to stop Rice’s promotion from UN Ambassador to Secretary of State.
It was also a lie that up to this day has made the name ‘Susan Rice’ and the 8 tragic words, ‘The murder of four Americans in Benghazi’ inseparable.
Also inseparable should be the name ‘Susan Rice’ and the words, ‘one of the callous and calculating enablers of the murder of an estimated 800,000 innocent human beings in the nation of Rwanda.’