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Our Creepy Envoy to Sudan

2:02 PM, Jul 31, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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"Susan Rice is one of my dear friends. There are few women in the world that I would say, 'I love you' to, and Susan is one of them. I love Susan Rice," he added.

That was Scott Gration, the Obama administration's envoy to Sudan, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The response came after one of the committee members questioned the discrepancy between Gration's assessment last month of the situation in Darfur ("What we see is the remnants of genocide") and the assessment of Susan Rice just 48 hours earlier in which the U.N. ambassador accused the Sudanese regime of "ongoing genocide." According to Gration, we shouldn't get too hung up on definitions:

"I am not saying that the genocide is over," he said. "I am focused on what we are doing to help. It doesn't matter what we call it in my view. What matters is that we have people living in desperate conditions. To get involved in a debate that is not required is not as important as fixing the situation, which is required."

Indeed, one shouldn't get bogged down in word choice, as Susan Rice once did. "If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?" she famously asked at an NSC meeting as the Clinton administration struggled to respond to events in Rwanda.

If Rice was only being ruthless, Gration has all the marks of a complete sucker. He's declared the genocide over on nothing but his own authority. He told the committee that it's time to drop sanctions against Sudan ("we are going to have to unwind some of these sanctions"), and he wants Sudan taken off the state sponsors of terror list maintained by the State Department ("There is no evidence in our intelligence community that supports [Sudan] being on the state sponsors of terrorism list. It's a political decision"). But Sudan is still supporting terror to the point that earlier this year Israel bombed a convoy bringing weapons from Iran to the Gaza strip via Southern Sudan. The Sudanese alleged at the time that it was U.S. jets that carried out the raid. When pressed on the point, a government spokesman responded:

"We don't differentiate between the U.S. and Israel. They are all one."

Which is exactly what one would expect a state sponsor of terror to say. How Gration can come back to Washington and defend this regime -- even lobby on its behalf -- seems a testament only to his lack of qualification for the task he was given. And that he would profess his love for Susan Rice before a Senate committee further suggests that he might even be a little unbalanced. Not that we needed any more proof of that.