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Critics find ambassador Susan Rice's Africa record 'troubling'

12/5/2012, 2:08 p.m.
Ambassador Susan Rice steps aside

Dec. 4 (GIN) - As the Republican party continues its attacks on Ambassador Susan Rice - President Obama's alleged pick to replace Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State - troubling questions have emerged about Rice during her years in Africa.

Questions raised by journalist Howard French stem from Rice's Africa service and counsel to the Clinton White House during the early phases of the Rwanda genocide.

"In any discussion of Susan Rice's career," French wrote in The Atlantic magazine, "there is no escaping Africa. It is the place where she cut her teeth and built her essential record as a diplomat and national security official.

During the 1995 mass murder of mostly Tutsis in Rwanda, Rice's advice to Pres. Bill Clinton was to "avoid any public recognition that actual genocide was being committed, because to do so would legally require the United States to take action, and this (echoes of Benghazi?) might affect upcoming congressional elections," French wrote.

Samantha Power, currently a Special Assistant to President Obama, referred to Amb. Rice and her colleagues as "Bystanders to Genocide." The killings occurred within a week of when America withdrew from Somalia.

This September, at the state funeral for Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi, Rice raised more eyebrows when she heaped praise on the African president who's been linked to the burning of entire villages in Ogaden and the killing of the Anuak ethnic group in western Ethiopia.

Rice elogized: "I suspect we all feel it deeply unfair to lose such a talented and vital leader so soon ... Meles was a friend--both to my country and to me, personally. Whenever we met, no matter how beset he was, he would always begin by asking me about my children.

"In the toughest of times, he retained that twinkle in his eye, his ready smile, his roiling laugh and his wicked sense of humor. True, he never belied any lack of confidence in his judgments. He was tough, unsentimental and sometimes unyielding. And, of course, he had little patience for fools, or "idiots," as he liked to call them."

Ethiopian Review, an online publication, carried the overwhelmingly critical response to Rice's remarks. Wrote "Hareg": "I think she is the fool ... She should have read well and checked some facts. Her negligence to check the truth about Meles, and her name calling of his victims should cost her her job."

"Ahmed" wrote: We have seen the end of the tyrant!!... I guess it is time for the Somalis, Eritreans and Ethiopians to live in peace!"