WASHINGTON -- January 19 -- Sgt. KEVIN BENDERMAN, MONICA BENDERMAN, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://weekendamerica.publicradio.org
At the Senate confirmation hearing for Condoleezza Rice today Sen. Barbara Boxer, apparently referring to members of the U.S. armed forces such as Sgt. Kevin Benderman, said: "You know, if you were rolling out a new product like a can opener, who would care about what we said? But this product is a war, and people are dead and dying, and people are now saying they're not going to go back because of what they experienced there. And it's very serious. And as much as I want to look ahead -- and we will work together on a myriad of issues -- it's hard for me to let go of this war, because people are still dying. And you have not laid out an exit strategy. You've not set up a timetable."
Benderman, a sergeant in the 3rd Infantry Division, is seeking conscientious objector status. He said today: "I was deployed to Iraq in March 2003 and returned in September 2003. ... During the road march north through the country I saw the effects of what war does to people. ... I was in charge of a group of soldiers that were in their late teens through their early twenties and ... they thought that the war was like the video games that they played back at the barracks. War is not like that at all and until you have the misfortune to engage in it for yourself you cannot begin to understand how insane it all is. There are no restart buttons on reality and that is why I cannot figure out why now we are pursuing such a policy in this day and age." Monica is Kevin's wife and also available for interviews on his case.
PHYLLIS BENNIS, email@example.com, www.ips-dc.org
A fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-author of the recent article "How to Bring the Troops Home and Internationalize the Peace," Bennis said today: "The only change likely to occur with the anticipated confirmation of Rice is that European and Mideast governments are less likely to have illusions that there are different opinions in the Bush White House on key foreign policy issues. Beyond that, the views of the White House will be going to the State Department, not the other way around."
LAURA FLANDERS, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.lauraflanders.com, www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/18/1447259
Currently in New York City, Flanders is host of The Laura Flanders Show on Air America Radio and author of the book Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, which includes profiles of Condoleezza Rice and other Bush administration officials. Flanders said today: "Dr. Rice grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, where she saw white supremacy up close. Now she is about to become the face of U.S. supremacy in the world. It's not quite what Dr. King might have expected."
Flanders added: "In September 2002, Rice told CNN that the U.S. needed to invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. She said then: 'we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.' As we learnt last week, the top U.S. weapons inspector wrapped up his work before Christmas, without finding any WMD.
"In her opening remarks, Rice made much of her commitment to international diplomacy and to advancing international accords; but in January 2000, in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine, she called the international community 'illusory,' and in 2004 Rice opposed legislation that would have restricted the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers in violation of the Geneva Accords.
"Dr. Rice's background as a Soviet specialist was touted today; ignored was her failure, when she served in George H. W. Bush's administration, to anticipate the collapse of the Soviet Union. In two terms of service, she has failed dismally twice: in the first Bush administration, she failed to anticipate a crisis; in the second, she made one up -- fabricating a case for war when there was none. We cannot afford a third term of Rice in senior office."
Among Rice's dubious statements on Iraq:
Rice: "Eleven weeks after the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution demanding yet again that Iraq disclose and disarm all its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs, it is appropriate to ask, 'Has Saddam Hussein finally decided to voluntarily disarm?' Unfortunately, the answer is a clear and resounding no." (New York Times, Jan. 23, 2003 www.caci.com/homeland_security/rice_1-23.shtml)
Rice: "And what emerges is a picture of a Saddam Hussein who became impressed with what al Qaeda did after it bombed our embassies in 1998 in Kenya and Tanzania, began to give them assistance in chemical and biological weapons, something that they were having trouble achieving on their own, that harbored a terrorist network under this man Zarqawi, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was told that Zarqawi was there." (CNN, Feb. 5, 2003; see: www.bushoniraq.com/rice1.html)
Rice: "It was a case that said he is trying to reconstitute. He's trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year." (PBS, July 30, 2003 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/white_house/july-dec03/rice_7-30.html) [Bush: "If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." (Oct. 7, 2002; see: http://www.accuracy.org/bush)]
Rice: "The intelligence assessment was that he was reconstituting his nuclear programs; that, left unchecked, he would have a nuclear weapon by the end of the year; that if he got foreign assistance, it would be very much quicker." (Fox, Oct. 10, 2004 www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,134977,00.html)
For more on Rice, see: www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Condoleezza_Rice.