As DNC delegates and organizers of the Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition, we urge presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden to reject Susan Rice as a Vice Presidential candidate or member of his Cabinet. The hawkish former Assistant Secretary of State and UN Ambassador is an ill-suited choice based on her repeated failure to embrace diplomatic solutions to global challenges as well as her patronage of the Israel lobby.
Rice’s tenure in government has spelled disaster for the Middle East. As a fellow at the Brookings Institution in 2002, she parroted the Bush administration’s lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and told National Public Radio that “we must move forward on the military side.” Later, Rice persuaded former President Obama to intervene militarily in Libya, another foreign policy failure that empowered militias to escalate human rights abuses. Following that, Rice advocated for selling arms to Saudi Arabia for its brutal war on Yemen, a country now in the grips of a humanitarian crisis with millions facing famine and death from cholera.
“As a child of war, who has witnessed the human toll of violent confrontation, I dream of a Middle East free from occupation and drone warfare. Our children deserve peace and security. We owe this to them. Susan Rice too often resorts to military solutions to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily, but must be resolved through diplomatic efforts, ” said Hanieh Jodat Barnes, Muslim coalition organizer and California 2020 DNC delegate.
Military strikes have been the go-to solution for Susan Rice, who also supported sustained use of military force in Somalia and Yemen even after seeing the negative impacts of the Iraq War. As a result of U.S. sustained military efforts in Somalia and Yemen, these countries are facing ongoing humanitarian catastrophes, torn asunder by U.S.-backed militarism.
In 2014, Rice said in an interview to NPR:
“…we have used air power in both places to go after al-Qaida-related terrorist targets. We have done so with sustained effect. But on the ground we have had partners that have done the fighting. In Yemen, the Yemeni security forces with whom we’ve trained and also provided equipment and assistance, have done that. In Somalia, it's been the Somali national army and the African Union security forces, and we have supported them in the same way. So that is the model that we are envisioning and seeking to replicate in Iraq. The frequency of our military strikes will undoubtedly be more intense in Iraq, because the threat is more intense and more sustained. But the model worked, and to say that it's a success — we're not saying Somalia is a success as a state, but it is fair to say that we haven't been attacked directly out of Somalia or Yemen in several years. So I will knock on wood as I say that, but it is a fact that cooperating with the Yemenis, cooperating with Somalis and the African Union, we've been able to contain and roll back the terrorist threat in both those countries and to do so with partners on the ground and U.S. air power.”
The destabilization efforts in the Middle East had far-reaching impacts.
According to Human Rights Watch:
The armed conflict in Yemen has killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians since it began. As of November 2018, 6,872 civilians had been killed and 10,768 wounded, the majority by Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The actual civilian casualties are likely much higher. Thousands more have been displaced by the fighting and millions suffer from shortages of food and medical care.
In September 2014, Houthi forces and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and much of the country. On March 26, 2015, the Saudi-led coalition attacked Houthi-Saleh forces in support of Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The US supported coalition attacks with targeting intelligence and air refueling. As the war has continued, alliances have fractured. Houthi forces killed Saleh in December 2017 after clashes broke out in Sanaa. In January 2018, fighting broke out between Yemeni government forces and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed Yemeni forces in Aden. Across the country, civilians suffer from a lack of basic services, a spiraling economic crisis, and broken governance, health, education, and judicial systems.
Parties to the conflict have exacerbated what the UN has called the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe, including by unlawfully impeding delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid.
While other lawmakers and politicians have apologized for backing horrific military interventions, notably in Iraq, Rice has yet to apologize for advocating for military intervention in Iraq, where the US invasion resulted in an estimated one million deaths, five million refugees, 5,000 U.S. dead, immense suffering for soldiers returning home with missing limbs, broken hearts and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rice’s defenders claim she never supported the US invasion of Iraq, only limited military intervention, but by repeating the Bush administration’s lies that led us into Iraq, by insisting regime change in Iraq did not require UN Security Council resolutions, Rice gave her stamp of approval on Bush’s war on Iraq.
Faraz Rizvi, member of Muslim coalition and California delegate said, "Susan Rice's track record here is deeply concerning. We need leadership that departs from the Washington consensus that's created endless wars."
One would have thought that following the carnage in Iraq, Rice would have learned the high cost of war required her to choose another path with Libya. However, along with National Security Council appointee Samantha Power and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rice persuaded then President Obama to endorse a UN proposal to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and green light other military actions “as necessary” — this despite strong opposition from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan.
In addition to promoting destabilizing regime-change policies, Rice, as UN ambassador, pledged her unwavering allegiance to Israel, even though the country was led by right-wing extremist Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for the Israeil demolition of Palestinian homes and indefinite imprisonment of Palestinian children. In 2011, Rice publicly opposed statehood for Palestinians, telling the BBC statehood would undermine peace talks with Israel. “Rice lacks credibility to broker peace in the Middle East, as she has demonstrated disregard for the suffering of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation,” said Muslim Coalition ally Marcy Winograd, a 2020 DNC delegate from California.
Nadia Ahmad, Muslim coalition organizer and Florida delegate adds, “We need a Vice President who will not rush us into war but who understands the human cost of war; soldiers returning home in body bags, GI’s haunted by PTSD, veterans committing suicide-20 per day, countries devolving into civil war and refugees flooring across borders, homeless and hungry.”
DNC Muslim delegates and allies supported the California delegation’s Open Letter to Joe Biden urging him to consider progressive congresswomen Karen Bass and Barbara Lee, as well as former State Senator Nina Turner as candidates for Vice-President.
We call on our presumptive nominee to reconsider and reject Susan Rice for any position within the Biden administration.
(Update: an earlier version of this post was removed by the Daily Kos to silence dissent by women of color and Muslims. The Daily Kos cannot attempt to be a left leaning institution if it silences women of color and Muslims. You cannot ride to victory on our backs and think you are still differentiating yourself from Trump. All information in this post is substantiated with accurate sources. We are voting for Biden, but we want a future without endless wars, a future with an eye on climate, instead of corporatism.)