12/02/2012 09:37 am ET Updated Feb 01, 2013

Hold Tight, Mr. President!

The fate of Susan Rice is, of course, in your hands. But allow me to offer my encouragement to remain deliberate in selecting her as the next Secretary of State. Do not buckle to the absurdities of Washington gossip.

While I do not know her personally, I am familiar with her education, her professional skills and performance in Africa, as the U.S. ambassador at the United Nations, a member of the Brookings Institute and the National Security Council.

Based on my experience of more than two decades as a foreign correspondent, covering more than a dozen wars, I had a close familiarity with dozens of U.S. ambassadors and their support staffs in Asia, South Asia and Latin America. As a result, I came to recognize the skills and professionalism of those men and women diplomats. Susan Rice strikes me as a real deal. With graduate degrees from Stanford University and a Rhodes Scholarship from Oxford she has not suffered fools easily. You might describe her as blunt or outspoken when she encounters some of the games being played at the United Nations or in Washington.

Let's add some perspective to this controversy that seems to tittilate the press corps in the nation's capitol. On Friday, the Washington Post focused on Ms. Rice's lack of tact in dealing, both with her colleagues at the United Nations and by insinuations, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham.

This duo of a "truth squad" seems determined to block President Obama's nomination of Rice as the incoming successor to Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. But it conveniently ignores what happened when the previous Rice, that is the unrelated Condoleeza, the deputy National Security advisor under President George Bush, broadly declared that Sadaam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, possessed "weapons of mass destruction," implying he had nuclear weapons.

George Tenet, the CIA director, supported her by claiming that the evidence "was a slam dunk"-- in other words, a certainty. Not only was the so-called evidence exposed as a lie or a fraud. it was used by Bush to justify a war againt Iraq that resulted in the deaths of 5,000 American soldiers. Now which is more grevious--the lies of Condoleeza or the candor of Susan Rice? Case closed.