Bush's Picks: A Cabinet that looks like Radical Right America - Part V
"The issue is Ashcroft's lack of sensitivity and concern about the rights of women and minorities, as well as his ideological rigidity, all qualities that are antithetical to the ability to serve all Americans as our Attorney General. It's not racism that's the problem, it's his record."
Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld Defense Secretary under Ford (1975-1977), ambassador to NATO in 1972, worked for pharmaceutical companies GD Searle and Gilead Science Inc., backed the ill-fated B-1 bomber and the MX missile against congressional opposition. During the Clinton years, Rumsfeld was the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the U.S., which concluded that Iran and North Korea were a much bigger threat to the U.S. than experts were saying. This gave the Clinton Administration the necessary cover to support the Star Wars missile defense. To match his high-profile advocacy of National Missile Defense, he has a disdain for non-proliferation treaties and arms pacts. Last year, he opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty because it would threaten U.S. nuclear stockpiles. He is an ardent, bombs-for-peacenik. He also claims to be very concerned about attacks against U.S. communications satellites and computer systems.
Secretary of State, Colin Powell Extremely popular, served in an administrative position in Vietnam, in which he rejected efforts to investigate the My Lai massacre and other mistreatment of civilians by members of the U.S. Armed Forces. In the 1980s he served on Reagan's national security team and testified in the Iran/Contra hearings that Casper Weinberger did not keep a diary. Later, when a collection of notes surfaced, Powell testified that Weinberger did, indeed, keep a running diary of events related to Iran/Contra. During the Reagan years, the administration supported human-rights-abusing militaries in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, as well as the Contras in Nicaragua. In 1989, he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and oversaw the invasion of Panama, during which U.S. troops violated Geneva Conventions by failing to minimize harm against the civilian population. He was chairman of the joint chiefs during the Gulf War, and veterans complain that he has been complicit in ignoring Gulf War Syndrome (Some 184,000 of the 697,000 Gulf War troops have filed disability claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs.) Though the State Department critically involves international diplomacy, Powell has no experience with diplomatic matters of state.
National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice Her only federal experience was serving two years as a mid-level staffer and Soviet expert for the National Security Council during the 1980s. She coached George II in his few foreign policy pronouncements during his campaign. At the same time, her Stanford University connections with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have led her to become an ardent fan of globalization. She's also on the board of the Chevron oil company. She favors continuing Iraq sanctions, continued trade with China (and human rights be damned), and is a fan of Star Wars. A conservative African American, Rice rounds out the Bush team perfectly: ethnically and gender wise diverse; ideologically rigid, and rigidly right wing.
Laura Flanders is the host of "The Laura Flanders Show," heard weekdays from 9 to noon on KWAB, Boulder, and on the web at www.Radioforchange.com.