Sunday 14 January 2007

Who pays the price? Boxer versus Rice

Boxer and Rice again

This is not the first time that Barbara Boxer a Democratic Senator from California has had pugilistic exchanges with Condoleezza Rice the US Secretary of State, when Rice was being confirmed the fiery exchange ended on a curt note, but sometimes the gloves do have to come off to know when you have been hit hard.

As we know with any political exchange that lifts the veneer of niceness to reveal the deep truth, people would fall on either side of the battlefront in America it become the ground for conservatives and liberals to castigate, denigrate, condemn and fulminate against each other.

Let us take sides

In the blue corner is Barbara Boxer and the red corner Condoleezza Rice – no low punches, no holding each other, fight fair – may the best girl win.

The latest exchange between Boxer and Rice can be read in all sort of ways from a straight lunge for an understanding that people who have no personal family in the Iraqi debacle may not fully understand the price of the sacrifices being demanded; through the backward leap for women’s rights if a single unmarried woman has her judgement impaired which leaves her unqualified to serve her nation; to an inconsiderate and despicable personal attack highlighting another woman’s childlessness.

I remember during the Israeli-Lebanon skirmish, Rice talked about witnessing the birth-pangs of a new Middle East, this is from a woman who just like me, a male, has no inkling about what the pain of birth can be. The Boxer exchange is not out of place.

People have taken their sides already, I feel there is a bit of all in the matter, but it takes away from where in all objectivity the inquisitor intended, what the respondent understood and how people want to see it.

Ring-side I see an upper cut

This is the statement that started the furore, make in the context of the escalation and troops surge that Dr Rice redefined as an augmentation – really, an unfortunate choice of words – however, this is the upper-cut – “Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young,” Boxer said. “You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.”

Well, it does look like a upper cut from where I was viewing the match, however, there is a possibility that some judge might see a punch below the belt, hey, judging a boxing match can be subjective and three subjective judges does not an objective result create – rather it is one of aligned perception.

Facts as they lie

Fact 1: Neither Boxer nor Rice have immediate family in the Iraqi war.

Situation 1: Only two congressmen have had their children deployed to Iraq, these kids are currently back in less volatile assignments, it is valid to ask if any politician or influential person is suffering the anxiety, fear, uncertainty and potential loss by having blood relations running the gauntlet of a merciless insurgency in a foreign land.

Fact 2: There is a price being paid for this war in Iraq and since the day war started on March the 20th 2003, it is a daily average of the death of just over two American soldiers and $2 billion.

Situation 2: Besides the seemingly demigod-like reverence that the President of the United States sometimes commands that people can see him do no wrong, are people really aware of the cost of this war in terms of lives and resources and if that has been justifiably accounted for?

Situation 3: It is clear that no one even the most optimistic of the President’s men can certify that the new plan would be successful and what additional cost would be borne. The concern is that the sacrifice being asked for is to get the President out of a rut rather than solve the problem that grew out of American belligerence.

Fact 3: One patriotic minority of the American People who definitely need the support and back of the populace at large is paying a disproportionately high price in the Iraqi war and something it is not clear if they are sure the freedom they are fighting for is the freedom they should be fighting for.

Fact 4: Neither Boxer nor Rice can send their kids to Iraq, a fact that Boxer acknowledged – Boxer will not offer to bear that sacrifice and Rice cannot bear that sacrifice – the devil however, is the detail of whoever wants to explore the reasons why neither can send their children.

Twisting the facts

With all guns and vitriol blasting out the conservative press like some mega-volcano, the emotion of the moment that highlighted singleness and childlessness rather than the underlying hard questions that need real answers.

The care for those affected by war has to move beyond sympathy and the occasional opportunistic chat to family and relations of those fallen or wounded at war.

Both Barbara Boxer and Condoleezza Rice are seriously smart women, but when it is comes to the politics where decisions send men to war, the gloves do have to come off sometimes sailing very close to the wind and someone has to take it to the limit.

Barbara Boxer has never shied from addressing issues in matter-of-fact words that everyday man can understand, it is a duty to be expected of legislature in which they have grossly underperformed until now.

If the Republican controlled congress had asked tough questions then, it is unlikely that we would be ending up with almost indecent questions now.

Sentiments aside – who really pays the price?

Obviously, conservative commentary is apoplectic with rage about what is termed an intemperate slap on a childless woman, rivers of almost pity might want to flow from many to Dr Rice and that is the prerogative of the many that have “feelings”.

But the question at the end is the most important question at all, given all said and done, given the grand schemes and ideologies that pus h them, given the goals after extensive deliberation that discounts the advise of many for some narrow perspective that probably would take the day, for all those who are in power and have the power to call men to arms and send them to victory, d├ętente, defeat, incapacity, pain or even the ultimate – Death.

Boxer said. “I know you feel terrible about it. That's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions.”

Exactly, who really pays the price for all the mistakes in Iraq that the President has taken responsibility for in word but does not seem to sacrifice anything for apart from the musical chairs of personnel that report to him?

Who pays the price?


Dems burn ‘kidless’ Rice – New York Post

Sec. Rice Attacked by Sen. Boxer Over Childlessness – Mens News Daily

White House Spokesman Blasts Sen. Boxer's Exchange With Secretary Rice – Fox News

Senator’s utterance to Rice sets off uproar – The Kansas City Star

Exchange Turns Into Political Flashpoint – The New York Times

[Most of the guns have been firing on the conservative wires and hardly any on the liberal ones.]

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