Like actors from an old TV show brought in to comment on the reboot, Dubya and the masterminds behind the American War on Terror were the natural media go-tos this week as the situation in Israel exploded. As soon as the comparison was drawn to 2001 — as Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, called the attacks “Israel’s 9/11” — the experts in all things terrorism were up on screen.
Of course, Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, and Colin Powell, Secretary of State, are both now deceased. Each was lauded upon his death for being a remarkable public servant, though Rumsfeld was a major architect of the war efforts that cost hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis their lives — not to mention U.S. taxpayers over $2.4 trillion. Colin Powell, for those who have blocked it out or are just too young to remember, testified in front of the United Nations that there were, in fact, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, even though — oops — there were, in fact, not.
Condoleezza Rice and Dubya himself are alive and well. Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor then Bush’s second Secretary of State, gave Fox News an exclusive interview last week, telling Hannity that “brutal terrorist attack” was barbaric, that anti-semitism is usually just lurking beneath the surface of much of civilized society, and that Hamas is not the liberator of the Palestinian people but their oppressor. As ideas go, those are about as unique as this essay is on Medium.
Any nuance we might understand better from a master diplomat? Any insight we may be missing or that might prove helpful in the public conversation? Any advice for the current administration? None. With the gift of two decades of time — and all the reflection one might expect from intelligent people — Condoleezza Rice had nothing helpful to share. She later tweeted the obvious, “From our own experience here on 9/11, we know that terrorism cannot be tolerated.”
[Hannity, of course, didn’t help. He was on a mission to show viewers the scale and magnitude of the attacks, astonished as he equated the 1,2000 Israelis killed to what would be 37,000 Americans as a share of our population — all without a single drop of irony…