Uploaded: Fri, Sep 21, 2007, 10:14 am
Rumsfeld appointment sparks Stanford protest
The appointment of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to a one-year position as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University has triggered a campus protest.
More than 2,500 faculty, staff, students and alumni have sign petitions protesting the appointment, the New York Times has reported.
"We view the appointment as fundamentally incompatible with the ethical values of truthfulness, tolerance, disinterested enquiry, respect for national and international laws and care for the opinions, property and lives of others to which Stanford is inalienably committed," the petition reads.
Rumsfeld was appointed to advise a Hoover task force on ideology and terrorism. The campus protest is because of Rumsfeld's role in the Bush administration during the Iraq war.
"It is unacceptable to have someone who represents the values the Rumsfeld has portrayed, in an academic setting," Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology and a leader in the petition effort, told the Times.
He also was a panelist this morning (Friday, Sept. 21) on KQED's Forum program, during which he said he strongly supports freedom of expression on university campuses but opposes designating someone as "distinguished" when that person was involved in serious human rights violations. He said Rumsfeld was the architect of the prisoner-torture practices at U.S. detention centers.
Rumsfeld's appointment was announced by Hoover Director John Raisian Sept. 7.
"I appointed him because he has three decades of experience, of incredible public service, especially in recent years as it relates to this question of ideology and terror," Raisian told the Times.
-- Don Kazak
Posted by Stanford's Shame,
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.
on Sep 22, 2007 at 1:42 pm
It's not surprising to see certain individuals come out in favor of this embarrassing (for Stanford, or anyone associated with Stanford - including alumni) Rumsfeld appointment, especially when one considers the logical end of the Rumsfeld-Bush legacy.
If that legacy had gone untouched (it was a close call), and been permitted to go unfettered, we would have experienced a serious diminishment of "individual" rights in America. We have already seen moderate diminishment of those rights.
Rumsfeld, who, in cahoots with perhaps the most reviled president in American history, and very underpinning of what we know as "human rights".
Thus, it's ironic that Rumsfeld should be put in a light where he is claimed a "victim" of censorship. That's a hoot!
Germany and other nations forbid the assembly of persons who want to reinstitute Nazism. Why shouldn't similarly enlightened persons in the United States (the majority of our citizens are ashamed of the Rumsfeld legacy) have an opportunity to permanently shut down the expression of ideas that are most fundamentally opposed to the underpinning of our most sacred and basic individual rights?
Thus, Rummy's supporters, especially those who cry out in protest against what they perceive as a limitation on Rummy's rights, find themselves in a very, very ironic position - crying out for Rumsfeld's "right" to speak, even as they have had their own rights eroded by this most unfortunate of presidential administrations.
When one points this out, most of the Rumsfeld supporters degrade to name-calling (a weak tactic), or a tired dredging up names like Chomskey, etc. - as if all those who revile what Rumsfeld has done agree with the most extreme left. Most of the people who hate what Bush and Rumsfeld have done to our nation don't even know who Noam Chomskey is.
Those who align themselves with Rumsfeld and his legacy want to circulate this convenient lie - a lie that now (finally!) seems incapable of covering up a surging truth - that truth being that American's have come around to a glimpse of the immense harm that the Bush-appointed sociopaths (Rumsfeld among them, at the top of the pile) have caused our nation, and our society. I don't use the word "sociopath" lightly.
Rumsfeld and Bush are representative of the most hideous kind of sociopathology - those who have great intelligence, with the ability to engage in a way that draws people in. It's a kind of sick charisma that has an uncanny ability to generate fear, and then tap into that self-generated fear. (Don't think that Rumsfeld and Bush are not intelligent; they ARE - they're in office because the lightweight left and more moderate voices failed to take Rummy, his boss, Rove, and the rest of that sick puppy gang as seriously as they should - - this should worry Americans a LOT, because it means we have serious blind spots in our culture - blind spots that don't perceive the special kind of evil that these nutcases have rained down upon us, and the world - and how we're just as subject to the evils of totalinarianism as any other nation that we look down on.
An enterprising entrepreneur, perhaps someone connected with Blackwater, or Halburton, should fund an academic chair just outside the Bush compound, in Texas; they can name it "Abu Girab Tower" - an appropriate base for Rummy and his fascist-leaning friends.
Yes, our culture permits the expression of ideas; it's one of America's special gifts to the world. What gets lost on those who support the dangerous ideas of a person like Bush, or Rumsfeld, or Ashcroft, is the fact that not all ideas are created equal. Evolution works its magic even in the world of memes; thus, some ideas, like the ideas of Rumsfeld, are beginning to find themselves selected out of the repertory of ideas that have weight, and thus bear serious consideration.
If Stanford were to refuse Rumsfeld's admission to Hoover, it would be doing nothing more than lending the weight of its institutional greatness to the diminishment of a dangerous person, and his dangerous ideas. Stanford would not be saying "you can't speak here EVER"; Stanford would rather be saying "sure, come give a lecture, but don't expect to use the legacy of our excellence to bolster your sociopathology". Then, Stanford could wish Rummy well, as he packs off, in exile, to Abu Grihab Tower, home of the Bush Presidential Museum and other unsavory memorabilia that Americans can visit to remind themselves how close they came to becoming something other than what we were intended to be - a free and good people, who fiercely defend human rights, instead of listening to those who would use that sacred impulse to feed their own mental illness, and line their greedy pockets.