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January 11, 2007

Department of State: Effective Only At Backbiting Political Infighting?

Our Department of State continues to frustrate, aggravate and disappoint. Michael Rubin over at The Corner:

The Washington Post reports that Condoleezza Rice has appointed Timothy Carney, a former U.S. ambassador to Sudan, to be reconstruction coordinator for Iraq. This is a curious choice. Carney left Iraq after just an eight week tenure marked by a number of press leaks from his office. Following his departure, he made several scathing comments to media outlets like the BBC and wrote op-eds very critical of U.S. military involvement in reconstruction and emphasis on security. This may not bode well now for his ability to coordinate with the U.S. military.

Rubin follows up on Carney with an excerpt from the Weekly Standard:

Carney played a role in appointing former deputy minister Ahmed Rashid Gailini to lead the Ministry of Industry, until Iraqi colleagues raised such a clamor about the man's Baath connections that Carney removed him and put Gailini's leadership to a vote of subordinate managers. Gailini lost in a landslide to another man, Mohammed Abdul Mujib, a finance expert from another ministry and a less offensive Baathist.

And Robert Novak over at Townhall.com has this:

Republicans in Congress, who do not want to be quoted, tell me the State Department under Secretary Condoleezza Rice is a mess. That comes at a time when the U.S. global position is precarious. While attention focuses on Iraq, American diplomacy is being tested worldwide -- in Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Korea and Sudan. The judgment by thoughtful Republicans is that Rice has failed to manage that endeavor.

Novak's entire column details the political, self-centered, power-hungry character of the State Department--and the ineffective attempts of the Bush administration to bend State to its will.

Everyone likes to note how being a senator is detrimental to one's presidential chances. Given how damaged Colin Powell and Condi Rice are now, politically, it looks like the position of Secretary of State is even more dangerous to one's political future. Just remember last year this time: a lot of people (including myself) were gaga over the possibility of Condi running for president. Not anymore.

Posted on January 11, 2007 10:29 AM

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