What makes Condoleezza Rice tick? (or Why “There is no way 9/11 could have been avoided”)

Watching Condoleezza Rice testifying before the 9/11 Commission on the New York Times website.

Three things I’ve learned so far:

1. Clearly she is a very smart individual.
2. Clearly she is an astute politician.
3. Clearly she is not being honest.

Sure, she is probably lying to protect the President and get him reelected.

However, my dime-store psychoanalysis of Rice is that she has tremendous cognitive dissonance between two basic and strongly conflicting ideas. First, is that 9/11 could have been avoided. In fact, it is abundantly clear to everyone based on the data that came out that 9/11 could have easily been avoided. The second conflicting idea is that she is primarily responsible for not doing more to avoid 9/11. She could have made the most impact, she could have shaken the trees harder and she could have forced the agencies under her or the President above her to do more.

In psychology one way to resolve the dissonance created by two severely conflicting ideas, like Rice is clearly experiencing, is to simply pick one over the other. She is 100% confident, in a way that is bizarrely illogical, that there was no way to stop 9/11. Every time the panel prods her about if this or that could have avoided it she goes back to the institutional changes that needed to take place at the FBI and CIA.

Clearly she is in denial and is intellectualizing the breakdownI don’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to live with the knowledge that if I just did one little thing different, or shook the tree a little harder, that I would have saved thousands of lives.

I wish she would just breakdown and start crying, say we screwed up and beg the families of the dead to forgive her. Then someone could come up and give her a big hug and tell her it’s ok, it’s over and that we have to focus on the future.

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