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Rice Presents United Front on 9/11

Mills College Weekly

Presenting a united front, President Bush at his most recent
press conference echoed the words of Condoleezza Rice, his top
National Security Advisor, from her 9/11 testimony given only days
earlier. Bush repeated Rice’s statement that “They would have moved
heaven and earth if they could have” to prevent the tragedy of

While both said they were grieved and felt deep sorrow over the
events of that tragic day, neither was apologetic, as former
counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke had been at his 9/11
hearing, to those present who lost family members.

Bush and Rice each pointed to the terrorists as the most
culpable for the deaths of thousands of U.S. citizens and citizens
of the world. Rice said, “those who attacked us that day … they
are the responsible party for the war that they launched against

Bush said, “The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin
Laden. That’s who’s responsible for killing Americans.” Bush
followed up Rice’s testimony, placing the responsibility and
pointing to the pre-existing structural problems that he viewed,
leaving his administration unable to prevent the 9/11 attack.

Despite the lack of apology and repeated request by reporters,
the president’s chief advisor pointed out “they have to be right
once; we have to be right 100 percent of the time.” Bush echoed
Rice saying, “They can be right one time; we got to be right 100
percent of the time to protect the country.”

Both pointed out the complexities of dealing with the “gathering
terrorist threat” and the fact that “we were not on a war footing”
when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Each one reiterated once again that
“we are at war.” The similar phrasing between the Rice and Bush at
two separate events, revealed the administrations united conclusion
regarding the events of 9/11.

In the place of apologies, Bush restated Rice’s description of a
failure to communicate between the FBI, the CIA, and the President,
a relationship Bush said he has now changed. Rice made reference to
this “structural problem” over 30 times in her testimony referring
to them as “legal and bureaucratic impediments” that were “systemic
and institutional.”

Rice and Bush both credited the passing of the Patriot Act for
breaking down the walls that prevented the passing on of proper
information regarding domestic threats, which could have prevented
9/11, but in some ways threaten the civil rights of U.S.

In response to questions from the 9/11 commission regarding the
problem with the administrations strategy of reform in the Middle
East, Rice made a statement her boss could not duplicate, “We know
that the building of democracy is tough. It doesn’t come easily. We
have our own history. When our Founding Fathers said, ‘We the
people,’ they didn’t mean me. It’s taken us a while to get to a
multiethnic democracy that works.”

Some articles in the mainstream press have portrayed Rice as a
piano-playing, ice-skating little girl, others present her as a
black woman with a resume a mile long, but most agreed that Rice
would come prepared to respond to her questioners at the 9/11
hearing. There is little doubt Rice is making history, but the
question remains, what will she be remembered for?

Rice, the first female assistant to the President for National
Security Affairs, has a long-standing relationship with the Bush
family, serving in the senior Bush administration.

Margo Okazawa-Rey, director of Women’s Leadership Institute and
visiting professor at Mills said, “She is now, and has been for a
long while, a Republican Party insider.”

Rice was born in Birmingham in 1954, third-generation college
educated, and has served in the community, corporate, academic and
political sectors, since entering the University of Denver at 15,
and graduating at 19 with her first Bachelor’s degree in political
science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1974. She received her
Master’s in 1975 at the University of Notre Dame, and completed her
Ph.D. at the University of Denver in 1981.

Freshwoman Laraine Downer said, “I feel like Condoleezza Rice is
really just the token black woman in the Bush government, and that
she has almost no choice, but to support the party line, and I’m
disappointed that she’s not using more of her intelligence.”

Okazawa-Rey said, “She has used her education, prestige, power
to work where she works, to advance the interests of the elites of
this nation, as well as her own. I think she is doing exactly what
she wants to be doing and believes is right. Dr. Rice is no fool or
dupe of the conservatives; she is a conservative. She is protecting
her class interests.

“And if the administration or others see her, use her as a
token, she is also being instrumental.”

When Okazawa-Rey was asked how history would reflect on Rice’s
role in today’s events she said, “It depends on which