Boxer vs. Rice

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

A Jan. 12 “ex­change be­tween Sen. Bar­bara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice turned into the chew toy of cable news shows over the week­end — with Democrats ar­gu­ing that Boxer was right to point out that Rice, a sin­gle wo­man, has no chil­dren fight­ing in Iraq, and White House spokesman Tony Snow in­dig­nant that Boxer had made ‘a great leap back­ward for fem­i­nism.’ “ San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle colum­nist De­bra Saun­ders writes.

“Deb­bie Argel Bas­tian, a Lom­poc (Calif.) mother who lost her son Derek Argel in Iraq in 2005, told me over the phone that Boxer’s re­marks were ‘rude,’ ‘shame­ful’ and ‘cruel.’

“In case you missed the ex­change, this is what Boxer said to Rice at the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee hear­ing: ‘Now, the is­sue is, who pays the price? I’m not go­ing to pay a per­sonal price. My kids are too old, and my grand­child is too young. You’re not go­ing to pay a par­tic­u­lar price, as I un­der­stand it, within im­me­di­ate fam­ily. So who pays the price? The Amer­i­can mil­i­tary and their fam­i­lies, and I just want to bring us back to that fact.’

“Ac­tu­ally, Rice is pay­ing a per­sonal price. She has not lost a son, but Rice has had to live with what­ever pol­icy mis­takes she helped make, and she has put her life at risk when visit­ing Iraq,” the colum­nist said.

“Bas­tian, who vis­ited Iraq in De­cem­ber with the pro-war group Move Amer­ica For­ward, came back say­ing that ‘Each and ev­ery one of those troops, I feel, are my chil­dren. I be­lieve that Con­doleezza Rice feels that, too.’ It’s hard not to see a link be­tween Boxer’s com­ments and war crit­ics who protest that the daugh­ters of Pres­i­dent Bush are not in the mil­i­tary. (The same is true of Chelsea Clin­ton and John Kerry’s daugh­ters, even though the par­ents voted for the war res­o­lu­tion.)”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

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