Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stanford: To Rummy or not to Rummy?

When the Hoover Institution at Stanford University announced in September that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was being appointed to a one-year position as a visiting fellow, it sparked a wave of controversy at the prestigious California school.

Nearly 4,000 students, faculty and alumni have signed a petition to reject Rumsfeld's appointment, and over 100 students took part in a campus protest last Thursday.

Some thoughts on the matter from
our Rick Shade:
Defending The Donald
By Rick Shade

I don't really like Don Rumsfeld. That may not come as a surprise to many of you, but while I share space on this page with a lot of lefties, I'm basically an independent centrist, so someone like Rummy does not automatically make my head want to explode.

No, Rumsfeld earned that distinction slowly and surely during his six years at the Pentagon. Everything from his Neocon vision of waging war on-the-cheap, to his treatment of distinguished military men that disagreed with him, to his pissed-off grandpa press conferences, made Bush's Defense Secretary a pretty hard guy to like.

That said, I must admit I was very disappointed in the actions of students, alumni and (particularly) the participating faculty of Stanford University who recently took part in boycotts of Rumsfeld's appointment to a position at the school's Hoover Institution.

Only a handful of living Americans possess the wide depth of first-hand experience and knowledge at the highest levels of government that Rumsfeld does. The only man to hold the top defense job twice, Rummy also has the unique perspective of being both the youngest and oldest person to head the Pentagon.

How can his presence at a political think tank like Hoover be anything but a positive for Stanford -- because he was part of an unpopular administration -- or an unpopular war? If that were the criteria for academic fellowships in political science, we'd be hard-pressed to fill half the nation's positions.

American college campuses should be the most open forums available, with scholars on all sides of the issues representing their beliefs and political ideologies. While I may not agree with Rumsfeld's decisions on many issues, I would still want to hear what he had to say on behalf of his positions, and hopefully learn something in the process -- that's what think tanks are all about.

Students will voice their opinions in protest, as some should in the time of an unpopular war, but the Stanford alumni and faculty that would question Rumsfeld's conviction to his beliefs and patriotism, while robbing their students of an amazing educational resource, should be ashamed of themselves.

The students of Stanford can only benefit from this appointment. Faculty members with political agendas need to remember that and get behind it -- regardless of their personal politics. Freezing Rumsfeld out of this position would be just another brand of political extremism.


Anonymous said...

Bravo Mr. Shade!!

Frank said...

Hear! Hear! I wholeheartedly agree with your well thought out analysis of the Rumsfeld situation at Stanford University. I for one would be interested in hearing and possibly learning a thing or two from the "Ruminator" himself. A mind is a terible thing to waste.

John S. said...

Rumsfeld is a war criminal and a liar. He does not deserve to be allowed to spew his neo-con baloney to classes of college kids. If you want to know Rumsfeld's ideas and strategies, just look at the wonderful situation in Iraq -- and Pakistan and the Turkish border and Afghanistan. There have to be better options for a great school like Stanford.