Apparently the heat is being turned up on Condi Rice by various parties in Bush's own garage.. The charge appears to be lead by Richard Perle, whom I was amused to learn carries the nickname "The Prince of Darkness". That does seem fitting. An op-ed he published in the Washington Post is rumored to be circling around within the West Wing and DoD circles. The obvious thrust, right out of the Iraq playbook, is to get more push for regime change in Iran. Both sides of the partisan divide have been linking this article from Insight the past day:
The conservatives, who include Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle and leading current and former members of the Pentagon and National Security Council, have urged the president to transfer Miss Rice out of the State Department and to an advisory role. They said Miss Rice, stemming from her lack of understanding of the Middle East, has misled the president on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"The president has yet to understand that people make policy and not the other way around," a senior national security policy analyst said. "Unlike [former Secretary of State Colin] Powell, Condi is loyal to the president. She is just incompetent on most foreign policy issues."
The criticism of Miss Rice has been intense and comes from a range of Republican loyalists, including current and former aides in the Defense Department and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. They have warned that Iran has been exploiting Miss Rice's inexperience and incompetence to accelerate its nuclear weapons program. They expect a collapse of her policy over the next few months.
A leading public critic of Miss Rice has been Richard Perle, a former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and regarded as close to Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Mr. Perle, pointing to the effort by the State Department to undermine the Reagan administration’s policy toward the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, has accused Miss Rice of succumbing to a long-time State Department agenda of meaningless agreements meant to appease enemies of the United States.
Mr. Perle's article was said to have reflected the views of many of Mr. Bush's appointees in the White House, Defense Department and State Department. Mr. Perle maintains close contacts to U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Robert Joseph, Deputy National Security Advisor Elliot Abrams and Mr. Cheney's national security adviser, John Hannah.
A major problem, critics said, is Miss Rice's ignorance of the Middle East. They said the secretary relies completely on Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is largely regarded as the architect of U.S. foreign policy. Miss Rice also consults regularly with her supporters on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Richard Lugar and the No. 2 Republican, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.