Who the hell does National Security Advisor Susan Rice think she is? Does she believe in freedom of speech? How else to explain her disdainful tweet: “Personal attacks in Israel directed at Sec Kerry totally unfounded and unacceptable.” Unacceptable? Is it only Israel that has no right to criticize him? Has Rice forgotten that Israel, like the United States, is a democracy that enshrines the freedom of speech?
There has been a penchant of late by those in the Obama Administration to treat Israel like an errant schoolboy. When Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, according to media reports, that John Kerry is “obsessive and messianic,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said that Ya’alon’s remarks, if accurate, are “offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the U.S. is doing to support Israel’s security needs.”
Aha. So, it would follow that any country that the US is similarly doing a great deal for would come under similar condemnation by the State department were they to criticize American leaders.
Let’s see. I would assume that most of us would agree that the United States, in seeing its brave soldiers die to stop the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, not to mention spending a trillion-odd dollars in the war there, has done a great deal more for Afghanistan than Israel. Yet, here is President Hamid Karzai’s official pronouncement about the United States, just this past January 17:
“As a result of bombardment by American forces last night … in Siahgird district of Parwan province, one woman and seven children were martyred and one civilian injured. The Afghan government has been asking for a complete end to operations in Afghan villages for years, but American forces acting against all mutual agreements … have once again bombarded a residential area and killed civilians.”
This follows a pattern of Karzai of attacking American troops—who have saved his country from Taliban Neanderthals—as killers, rapists, marauders, etc. Just two days ago this wretched ingrate actually had the temerity to say that in the 12 years NATO troops have been in Afghanistan his country has gone backward. Yet, I have searched in vein on Susan Rice’s Twitter feed for a condemnation of Karzai for his absolutely disgusting remarks about our heroes in uniform.
Less so have I found a State Department spokesman condemning the Afghan president as having no right to falsely accuse American troops.
No, it seems that Israel alone is prevented from offering a dissenting opinion from the United States.
But there is another reason Susan Rice deserves special opprobrium from her condemnation of Israel, and that is the unique insensitivity she is famous for when it comes to genocide.
Susan Rice was part of Bill Clinton’s National Security Team that in 1994 took no action whatsoever during the Rwanda genocide, leaving more than 800,000 men, women, and children to be hacked to death by machete in the fastest genocide ever recorded.
Not content to insist on American non-involvement, the Clinton administration went a step further by obstructing the efforts of other nations to stop the slaughter. On April 21, 1994, the Canadian UN commandeer in Rwanda, General Romeo Dallaire, declared that he required only 5000 troops to bring the genocide to a rapid halt. In addition, a single bombing run against the RTLM Hutu Power radio transmitting antenna would have made it impossible for the Hutus to coordinate their genocide.
But on the very same day, as Phillip Gourevitch explains in his definitive account of the Rwandan genocide, We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We will Be Killed With Our Families, the Security Council, with the Clinton Administration’s blessing, ordered the UN force under Dallaire reduced by ninety percent to a skeleton staff of 270 troops who would powerlessly witness the slaughter to come. This, in turn, was influenced by Presidential Decision Directive 25, which “amounted to a checklist of reasons to avoid American involvement in UN peacekeeping missions,” even though Dallaire did not seek American troops and the mission was not peacekeeping but genocide prevention. Indeed, Madeleine Albright, then the American Ambassador to the UN, opposed leaving even this tiny UN force. She also pressured other countries “to duck, as the death toll leapt from thousands to tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands … the absolute low point in her career as a stateswoman.”
In a 2001 article published in The Atlantic, Samantha Power, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning A Problem from Hell and arguably the world’s foremost voice against genocide and who is now Rice’s successor as America’s Ambassador to the UN, referred to Rice and her colleagues in the Clinton Administration as Bystanders to Genocide. She quotes Rice in her 2002 book as saying, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November congressional election?” That Rice would have brought up the midterm elections as a more important consideration than stopping the fastest slaughter of human life in all history – 330 dying every hour – is one of the saddest pronouncements ever to be uttered by American public official.
But she did not stop there.
Rice then joined Madeline Albright, Anthony Lake, and Warren Christopher as part of a coordinated effort not only to impede UN action to stop the Rwanda genocide, but to minimize public opposition to American inaction by removing words like “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” from government communications on the subject.
In the end, eight African nations, fed up with American inaction, agreed to send in an intervention force to stop the slaughter provided that the U.S. would lend them fifty armored personal carriers. The Clinton Administration decided it would lease rather than lend the armor for a price of $15 million. The carriers sat on a runway in Germany while the UN pleaded for a $5 million reduction as the genocidal inferno raged. The story only gets worse from there, with the Clinton State Department refusing to label the Rwanda horrors a genocide because of the 1948 Genocide Convention that would have obligated the United States to intervene, an effort that Susan Rice participated in.
It was painful enough to watch Kofi Anan elevated to Secretary General even though as head of UN peace-keeping forces worldwide he sent two now infamous cables to Dallaire forbidding him from any efforts to stop the genocide (the cables are on display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial).
It’s nearly as painful watching Rice lecture the Jewish state, which lost one third of its entire people in a genocide of four short years, lecture the Jews about how unacceptable it is for them to criticize those who claim to know how to protect them better than they know themselves.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom Newsweek and The Washington Post call “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 30 books, and will shortly publish The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging G-d in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. His website is www.shmuley.com. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.