The Administration

Susan Rice: Qualified to be secretary of State

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice is qualified to be secretary of State and
if nominated should be confirmed. The attacks against her are grossly
unfair. In my new column
“Petraeus: Lessons learned,” I suggest that war and peace should never
be partisan matters, that when America goes to war we should go “all in”
and if we are not “all in” before the decision to wage a war, we should
not wage that war. This is why I (along with many commanders in the
Army and Marine Corps) advised AGAINST going to war in Iraq. Regarding
Benghazi, there should be independent investigation and
accountability but not witch-hunts or Watergate committees, which embody
the brand of politics voters rejected in the elections of 2006, 2008
and 2012.

Ambassador Rice did absolutely nothing wrong on Benghazi. She appeared on television and repeated the intelligence information she was given. I know far more about intelligence matters than most here, more than I am even allowed to publicly discuss, from earlier presidencies. Ambassador Rice was sent to give interviews and gave them; she was given intelligence information and spoke honorably about what she was told. Whatever mistakes were made were not her responsibility. She is not culpable as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was when Rice spoke of “mushroom clouds” involving the alleged WMD in Iraq.

{mosads}I did not oppose Rice’s nomination to be secretary of State and Senate Democrats joined Senate Republicans in confirming her. Senate Republicans should join Democrats in confirming Ambassador Rice if President Obama nominates her.

I warn Senate Republicans if they threaten to filibuster a Cabinet nomination for unfair partisan reasons they will guarantee a Senate majority will move to end these abuses of filibusters once and for all.

Let me emphasize as well that in my opinion, the most able and qualified person in America to be secretary of State is Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.). Kerry would be one of the most extraordinarily qualified nominees ever for secretary of State. He would be confirmed by large bipartisan majorities of senators for secretary of State, Defense or any other position.

It is no reflection on Ambassador Rice that Kerry is uniquely qualified to be secretary of State with a level of experience, contacts, depth and both diplomatic and military knowledge that are unprecedented since President Truman named Gen. Marshall to lead at Foggy Bottom.

If Ambassador Rice is nominated, I would strongly support her. The election is over. It does no service for Republicans to continue electioneering politics over the secretary of State position barely hours after the polls have closed, and if they do, Republicans will be reminded again why they suffered major losses in the national elections of 2006, 2008 and 2012. Voters want this partisanship ended. Let’s end it.

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