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2005-01-25—Levin—Condoleezza Rice

Harrison Weblog

2005 blog



Keeping up with Jewish officeholders
Sen. Levin announces his opposition
to Condoleezza Rice confirmation
,  Jan. 25, 2005

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) today (Tuesday, Jan. 25) announced his opposition to the confirmation of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as the nation's next Secretary of State, saying she has failed to be straightforward with the American people about Iraq.

"In her public statements she clearly overstated and exaggerated the intelligence concerning Iraq before the war in order to support the President’s decision to initiate military action against Iraq," Levin said in a statement distributed by his office. "Since the Iraq effort has run into great difficulty, she has also attempted to revise history as to why we went into Iraq."

He held Rice responsible for putting into a presidential speech an assertion that Saddam Hussein was trying to purchase uranium from Africa, even though the Central Intelligence Agency had discounted a British report upon which the allegation was based. He also accused her of disseminating the false information that Saddam was providing  CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear) weapons training to Al Qaeda operatives. 

Saying the Bush administration had justified the war in Iraq over and over on the grounds that nation harbored weapons of mass destruction, Levin contended that Rice now appears to be attempting "to rewrite history"

Levin noted that at her Senate Foreign Relations Committeeconfirmation hearing on January 18, Rice told Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) “it  wasn’t just weapons of mass destruction.... It was the total picture, Senator, not just weapons of  mass destruction, that caused us to decide that, post-September 11th, it was finally time to deal  with Saddam Hussein.” 

Levin said that one of his "main concerns about this Administration, including Dr. Rice, is that there appears to be  no accountability for the many mistakes." Further, he said, 
"Secretaries of State must be strong enough to tell a President what he may not want to 
hear. There is admittedly one recent glimmer of hope in that regard.  In response to my written question, Dr. Rice did acknowledge that 'there is of course a  distinction' between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda when it comes to the war on terrorism. That stands  in contrast to President Bush’s claim on September 25, 2002, that '[Y]ou can’t distinguish between 
Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.' "

"But that glimmer of independence is not enough to change my view that Dr. Rice should not be 
confirmed as Secretary of State," Levin said. 

 —Donald H. Harrison