Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rumsfeld Appointed Hoover Distinguished Fellow

Right:Iraqi-President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.

Mr Rumsfeld is the embodiment of America’s Iraq failure. Ahead of the invasion he was arrogant, telling the world the US did not really need help to implement its war. Mr Rumsfeld’s policy of “war-lite” and "partisan-heavy" left too few boots on the ground and too many cronies in high office to keep the peace. Mr Rumsfeld should have gone after the Abu Ghraib scandal but Mr Bush remained loyal.

Donald H. Rumsfeld, the former U.S. secretary of defense, who also served as White House chief of staff, U.S. ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), U.S. member of Congress, and chief executive officer of two Fortune 500 companies, has been appointed as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Don Rumsfeld has been involved with the Hoover Institution during my entire tenure as director, beginning in 1989, as a member of the Hoover Board of Overseers, as a member of the executive committee of the board, and as a significant supporter, said John Raisian, Hoover director. Don has had immense experience in public service and has much to contribute to society as a result. I am pleased that he will spend time during the coming year in thinking, writing, and advising on important matters of public policy.

Left: Tony Snow: It's an interesting thing, because I get e-mails all the time, and people say, "We hear about our death counts. We never hear about theirs. Why?"

Donald Rumsfeld: Well, we don't do body counts on other people. And we have certain rules on people we capture, in terms of exposing them to the public, Geneva Conventions and the like.

The Hoover Institution is embarking on bringing together a task force of scholars and experts to focus on issues pertaining to ideology and terror. The nations experience since September 11, 2001, has provoked new ways of thinking about national security and world peace in a new era. I have asked Don to join the distinguished group of scholars that will pursue new insights on the direction of thinking that the United States might consider going forward, said Raisian. I am delighted that he will participate in the deliberations of our task force.

But nearly 2,000 Stanford faculty, students and community members have signed an online petition calling the decision to bring Rumsfeld, 75, to the conservative think tank "fundamentally incompatible with Stanford's ethical values." Some members of the university's Faculty Senate have called for a resolution in protest.

Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary twice, from 1975 to 1977 and then again from 2001 to 2006, is a polarizing figure, and debate on the Stanford campus seems polarized, too.

"We think he has distinguished himself for all the wrong things than what the university should stand for and what America should stand for," psychology professor emeritus Philip Zimbardo told The San Jose Mercury News. "We've never protested before but this seems to be egregious."

Hoover Institution Public Affairs Manager Michele Horaney declined to comment but said Stanford faculty are entitled to their opinions.

Rumsfeld is to work on a task force on terrorism and ideology alongside other experts and scholars at the institution. It was not announced when his work at the institution would begin.

"Don has had immense experience in public service and has much to contribute to society as a result," Hoover director John Raisian said in a statement. Rumsfeld previously served on the institution's Board of Overseers.

"It is fair and to have been expected that Rumsfeld's appointment would generate protest," Wilson School visiting professor Daniel Kurtzer said in an email. "[Rumsfeld] presided over policies and military actions that are quite divisive and which have cost our country dearly in terms of human lives and material resources." Kurtzer has previously served as U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt.

The Hoover Institution has given no sign it will reverse its decision. It dismissed Stanford faculty concerns that Rumsfeld lacks the academic background to warrant a position at the Hoover Institution.

"He's not conducting research, and he doesn't have any kind of a tenured post at all, so I don't know that that's ... a huge concern," Horaney said.

"The appointment of someone with his background and experience at a university is something that is often done in academia, notwithstanding the lack of academic experience," Wilson School professor Robert Finn said, citing the example of former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, who taught in the Wilson School last year. Finn himself is a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

The strident opposition to Rumsfeld's appointment contrasts with the silence that met other fellows with ties to the Bush administration when they joined the Hoover Institution. General John Abizaid, for example, became a fellow after retiring as commander of U.S. Central Command this year.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice served as provost at Stanford for six years in the 1990s. She is also on leave from her position as senior fellow at Hoover but has said she plans to return, a move that may stir more controversy.

President Bush attempted to visit Hoover last year, but his motorcade was blocked by more than 1,000 protestors. His meeting was relocated to a site off-campus.

Left: Protests Force Bush to Relocate - Students and others face advancing riot police near the Hoover Institute. University students protest President Bush's visit to the campus Friday, April 21, 2006.

The Petition Against Donald Rumsfeld
To: Stanford University Community

We, the undersigned members of the Stanford community, strongly object to the appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as a "distinguished visiting fellow" at Stanford's Hoover Institution. 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.



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