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Condoleezza Rice - Iraq War II

Condoleezza Rice had very little to do with the first Iraq War. She had been in the first Bush White House near the beginning of the conflict, but had returned to Stanford before the war began in earnest. However, the second Iraq War found her as the second President Bush's National Security Adviser. The war, as wars go, was comparatively short, only 6 weeks. Casualties were low, 138 military personnel lost. One of the fundamental ideas of the war, was that the U.S. would remove Saddam Hussein, but the lower level bureaucracy would continue to run the country. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy fell apart, and as Condoleezza Rice would note a few years later, the U.S. would have to begin to rebuild the infrastructure and the expertise to run it almost from scratch.

A steering group was created within Rice's NSC to begin work getting Iraq running again. Meanwhile the disintegration of order within Iraq began to cause political problems for the Bush Administration in the United States. As is usual in the United States, people had high expectations and low tolerance for paying the price that would be necessary to rebuild the country. Democrats saw opportunity to criticize the effort to rebuild Iraq, in spite the fact that their manner of criticism was proving counterproductive and even destructive of U.S. troops, treasure, and interests.

As time went on, the United States did not find nuclear arms, the supposed existence of which was a major factor in bringing the U.S. to war. However, some evidence, and the evidence given by men who had ranked high in Saddam Hussein's government indicated that the equipment to build weapons may have been shipped by the truckload into neighboring Syria just as the war was about to commence. Nevertheless, criticism in the press regarding the intelligence that brought the U.S. into the war began to escalate in the news media and among congressional Democrats who had initially supported the war and had seen the same intelligence the administration had seen. Meanwhile, there continued to be bickering between the Defense Department and the State Department. Condoleezza Rice worked hard to explain the situation to the American people as well as to coordinate the efforts of Defense and State, all the while continuing her primary function as adviser to the president on national security.

As the aftermath of the war continued, Condoleezza Rice and the NSC began to coordinate more of the efforts to bring the instability in Iraq under control. There were, of course, recriminations in hindsight in congress regarding what could have been done to prevent the attacks on 9/11. The investigations seemed to insinuate that the Bush Administration, as well as the previous administration, were not in a high state of alert regarding the possibilities. The fact was no human being could have foreseen the scope and shear insanity of the attack that finally did occur. Certainly there were some warnings, but the United States is not a police state and it would have been impossible to have closed every avenue of attack by which the terrorists could operate without gathering more specific intelligence. Rather than flinging accusations about, it would have been better to understand that the Administration learned from the incident how to deal with future attacks.

Next Page: Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State


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