Football’s Strange Love Affair With Condoleezza Rice
. . . Or Starting Illegal Wars Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.
It started with that television commercial featuring George W. Bush’s former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State. You know the one. In it, she talks about how important it was for her to watch the Super Bowl XL in February 2006, a month that saw a mere 55 American deaths – and approximately 688 civilian deaths – in the Iraq war she had helped to sell.
“I have never missed a Super Bowl,” she says, “But I did have to get up at 3 o’clock in the morning in Israel in order not to miss [that] Super Bowl. And I did. I got up and watched the Super Bowl.”
Because, priorities. Am I right?
Anyway, now there’s this:
The 13-member College Football Playoff selection committee that was officially announced Wednesday [October 16, 2013] in Irving, Texas, blends a mix of past players, coaches, media and a former Cabinet official.
The members include Wisconsin athletic director and former coach Barry Alvarez, former Nebraska coach and AD Tom Osborne and former coach Tyrone Willingham. Also on the committee are former NFL quarterbacks Pat Haden, Archie Manning and Oliver Luck.
The lone woman on the panel is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
I’m not sure which is weirder – that the NCAA was only able to identify a single woman with the qualifications to sit on their little playoff selection committee, or that the entire universe of Women Who Didn’t Start Illegal Wars In The Middle East yielded none.
Look, I understand that former government officials often land this kind of plum assignment, essentially meaningless feathers in their caps, all accolade and no actual power (not in the real world, anyway). I also understand that Condoleezza Rice, aside from being, apparently, an avid football fan, has valid academic credentials, having served as the Provost of Stanford University from 1993 to 1999. So, if it wasn’t for that nasty business in Iraq, she certainly would be more than qualified to select playoff football teams for that walking antitrust violation known as the NCAA.
But, ahem . . . there was that nasty business in Iraq. Which happened under her watch. For which she actively shilled, mushroom cloud references and all. And she was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong, and more than 4,000 Americans and well over 100,00 (probably closer to half a million) Iraqis died as a result.
In the most important two jobs she had, she was horrifically negligent – and I’m being kind here by saying negligent, as opposed to willfully deceitful – and, as a direct and proximate result, America got itself into an unjustified war, wasted nearly $2 trillion, and killed untold thousands of innocent people.
That’s kind of a major screw up. Indeed, that’s the kind of thing that might make one a pariah, one might think. Why, a good old-fashioned shunning might have been in order.
But not to the football gods, apparently. Not, at least, when it’s a former Bush Administration official who’s done the screwing-up.
Which makes you wonder what, exactly, a conservative Republican has to do to offend the NFL and the NCAA. How many American lives have to be lost; how many innocent civilians have to die; what percentage of the public fisc has to be frittered away, before football says, Whoa, now, that’s rather unseemly, isn’t it? We wouldn’t want to sully our reputation by associating with the likes of you!
[Photo credit: Huffington Post]
David von Ebers
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