Letter to the Editor

Susan Rice could have said no

Edwin M. Yoder Jr. [letters, Nov. 20] criticized Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) for holding U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice accountable for her remarks immediately after the attack in Libya. He claimed that their “insinuation that the ambassador was merely flacking for the White House is too insulting to be countenanced.”

Ms. Rice may, in fact, feel insulted. But what is insulting to the American people is the insinuation that a Cabinet officer or ambassador would be booked on Sunday news programs, especially to discuss a matter of this importance, without complete and careful coordination with the White House with regard to both placement (the selection of shows on which to appear) and message (what to say). This would be true even if the timing was not so near a presidential election.

If Ms. Rice was uncertain of the circumstances of the attack, and given that foreign policy and defense matters have traditionally and wisely been placed outside electoral politics, she probably should have respectfully declined to go public instead of saying what the White House wanted her to say.

Jack Lichtenstein, Alexandria

 
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