UN Amb. Rice Pointedly Reminds Rachel Maddow That Threat From al Qaeda Not ‘Hypothetical’

By Jack Coleman
December 8, 2009

How does earnest MSNBC polemicist Rachel Maddow expect anyone to take her seriously when she doubts al Qaeda still threatens American lives?

It took Susan Rice, US ambassador to the United Nations for the most leftward presidency since LBJ, to remind Maddow that al Qaeda’s deadly intent is not “hypothetical.”

Preceding Rice’s appearance on Maddow’s show Dec. 2 was this observation from Maddow about the Bush Doctrine, as enunciated by Bush at West Point in June 2002 (first of three segments of embedded video) —

MADDOW: The Bush Doctrine was probably the single most radical thing about the Bush presidency because it dropped the requirement that the United States actually be threatened before we’d start a war with someone, instead saying that if we just thought we might be threatened some time in the future, that would be justification enough for us now to start a war. It is a really radical concept if you think about it, not only about war, but about us, about America. And it may have survived the Bush presidency…

…MADDOW: What I’m concerned about is that the war against al Qaeda is a war in Pakistan, the war in Afghanistan is preventive about in the sense that it is trying to block these future …

RICE (interrupting): You talk about it as if it’s a hypothetical. The big difference is, and I know you’re making the analogy to Iraq and preventive war, there was not in Iraq a proximate threat to the United States when we made the decision to go to war there in 2003. There is and remains a proximate threat to our national security that emanates both from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now, the extremists are, have been displaced largely, not entirely, into Pakistan but the Taliban which supports and nurtures them is gaining strength in Afghanistan. And if they are not restrained and their capacity diminished, the extremist al Qaeda that have moved to Pakistan because Afghanistan had become less hospitable will easily flood back across the border and there in Afghanistan with a Taliban authority that actively nurtures and supports them, will be even more potent than they are in Pakistan where you actually have a government that doesn’t want them to succeed. So this is not a hypothetical, this is very real, very proximate, and it’s not about prevention at this stage. It is about actively countering a clear and present danger…

The article, with embedded video, continues here.

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