Dr. Bambi Rice

Bambi Rice


Condoleeza Rice, reporting her own words to the 9/11 commission in 2004:

And I said, at one point, that this was a historical memo, that it was — it was not based on new threat information. And I said, “No one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon” — I’m paraphrasing now — “into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile.”

Condoleeza Rice on the Hamas win in the Palestinian elections in January 2006:

“I’ve asked why nobody saw it coming,” Ms. Rice said, speaking of her own staff. “It does say something about us not having a good enough pulse.”

And Condoleeza Rice, just last week, in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Nothing has taken me more aback as secretary of state than the way energy is — I will use the word warping — international diplomacy,” she said.

Seriously, has there been a Secretary of State who is either so clueless (or at the very least feigns cluelessness) as Dr. Condoleeza Rice? She is truly the Bambi of foreign policy, wandering through the forest, eternally mistaking a skunk for a flower.

In the fall of 1975 I was a callow youth of 13, a freshman in high school with an interest in games. I hung around the game shop in downtown Eugene (Dungeons & Dragons would have its first flash of popularity that winter) and picked through everything from chess and backgammon to hard-core war games.

One regular, inexpensive source of entertainment was Strategy & Tactics magazine, published by Simulations Publications, Inc., which came out bimonthly with a new title in every issue. Most of the games were historical in nature (World War II, World War I, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, etc.) but the September 1975 issue (#52) contained Oil War. The premise of the game: “the hypothetical attempt by the United States and various other nations to land forces in the Persian Gulf oil-producing countries, and seize the very vital oilwells and ports”. The idea for the game, I’m sure, was heavily influenced by OPEC’s quintupling of prices for crude to supporters of Israel in 1972-73; something that would seem to be a case of energy warping international diplomacy.

Now, I’m a few years younger than Sec. Rice. I’m guessing that she probably didn’t go through the disaffected youth war-gaming phase. But I’ve known since my early teens about the OPEC crisis. I’ve known about energy issues affecting international policy. No doubt the other people who subscribed to S&T or bought that issue — much less the guys who designed Oil War 30 years ago — know that too. And we can’t be the only people to have come to that realization in the years before 2006. So tell me what her qualifications as Secretary of State are again?

I’ve still got my copy of Oil War.