On my way to lunch at the UN cafeteria, I happened to catch Senator Barbara Boxer, live on CNN, letting Condoleeza Rice have it during her confirmation hearing. Senator Boxer repeated Condie quotes from various times that contradicted each other, suggesting that Rice’s loyalty to the president and to her duty to sell the war “overwhelmed [her] respect for the truth.”
Rice responded by saying that she never lost her respect for the truth. Then she declared that “I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity.”
Now, this has been a recurring problem with criticism of the Bush administration: they lie openly, but it’s considered impolitic to say so. So the exchange looks like one in which Senator Boxer makes the relatively weak charge that Rice’s “respect for the truth” was “overwhelmed,” while Rice makes the more pointed charge that Boxer is “impugning my integrity.” It makes Boxer look less straightforward than Rice, which is exactly wrong.
At this point, we should take off the kid gloves and just say people are lying when we catch them at it. Enough.
Also published on Medium.