Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

September 25, 2012

Susan Rice's dodge

"To see what is in front of one's nose," George Orwell wrote, "needs a constant struggle."

Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is losing the struggle - although, in fairness, it's not clear how hard she's trying.

After the attacks on our embassies, Rice appeared on the Sunday TV shows in what was widely taken as an audition for secretary of state in a second Obama administration. She proved herself willfully clueless and morally obtuse. In other words, perfectly suited for the job. Based on this performance, she should start measuring the drapes on the State Department's seventh floor.

The ambassador insisted that last week's protests in Egypt and Libya were a spontaneous eruption of Islamic rage over a rancid, barely coherent anti-Muhammad video posted on YouTube a few weeks ago. It was an unusually purposeful spontaneity, though.

In Egypt, a crowd that included the brother of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri showed up to tear down the American flag and replace it with an al-Qaida banner on the anniversary of 9/11. What are the odds?

In Libya, the attackers were described by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers as coordinating indirect and direct fire. The militants launched, he said, "two different separate attacks on locations there near the consulate, and they repelled a fairly significant Libyan force that came to rescue the embassy."

In Rice's telling, the protests aren't an "expression of hostility in the broadest sense to the United States or U.S. policies." Yet the Egyptian rampagers reportedly chanted, "Obama! Obama! We are all Osama!" In Afghanistan, protesters cried, "Death to America." Demonstrators routinely burn American flags. It's hard to imagine how to make broader expressions of hostility to the U.S.

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