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November 15, 2003


Okay, I'll bite. I'm a lefty who's still profoundly disgusted at Madeline Albright's disgraceful behavior during the Rwandan genocide. I got into an argument once with a Clinton supporter who asserted that after Somalia, an American humanitarian intervention in Rwanda would have been political suicide for Bill. I'm not sure if I buy that, but even if he was right, I think saving 800,000 people from being hacked to death might be worth sacrificing a second term.

I won't defend the administration; I will defend Albright personally based on Samantha Power's book (page 367, for those following along at home). Warren Christopher (then Secretary of State) sent her:

"one of the most forceful documents produced in the entire three months of the genocide. Christopher's cablle instructed Albright to demand a full UN withdrawal. The directions....were unequivocal about the next steps."

A UN ambassador cannot defy the secretary of state (well, maybe nowadays, but I very much doubt she could have then.) This is the sort of thing worthy of resigning in protest--but if Albright had she would've probably simply been replaced, and she couldn't have led Clinton's foreign policy in a much better direction his second term.

There's also an account from a U.S. official's journal excerpted on page 385, that I suspect is Albright--but this is pure guesswork on my part (and the fact that pronouns that would reveal the official's gender are not used):
"We have a foreign policy based on our amoral economic interests run by amateurs who want to stand for something--hence the agony--but ultimately don't want to exercise any leadership that has a cost.

They say there may be as many as a million massacred in Rwanda. The militias continue to slay the innocent and the educated...Has it really cost the United States nothing?"

I have always thought that Warren Christopher got his start as one of the bad guys in "Dick Tracy". Can't remember which one, was it "Pruneface"?

Have always had a better opinion of Albright, although she has disappointed. I was pretty convinced from the TV footage on one UN escapade (might have been this one, I can't remember) that she had been blindsided and left out of the loop. All of this is conjecture based on my read of her reactions on camera as she stood by and heard what was being said. I expected her to resign at that point. I would have expected any professional to have resigned had they been treated as I suspected she had (I wish I could remember what the incident was, but memory is the second thing to go....). The fact that she did not convinced me that either I had been wrong about her reaction or she was in fact not as worthy of my respect as I had thought. During the years since, I have pretty well gravitated to the second option. Personal opinion.

after seeing Clark's Russert interview, I think that diary could just as easily be his as Albright's. For whatever that's worth.

Can someone please point me to the press release from Amnesty International condemning the torture of the two American soldiers?


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