Don Rumsfeld to join Stanford’s Hoover Institution

Stanford’s main embarrassment, the Hoover Institution, has publicly proven its wrongheadness by appointing Donald Rumsfeld a distinguished visiting fellow.

From SF Gate:

President Bush’s former defense secretary, who resigned in 2006 amid escalating criticism over the war in Iraq, has been appointed to a one-year stint as a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, joining fellow conservatives George Shultz and Newt Gingrich.

“Don has had immense experience in public service, and has much to contribute to society as a result,” said the institution’s director, John Raisian. “I am pleased that he will spend time during the coming year in thinking, writing and advising on important matters of public policy.”

While he’s at Stanford, Rumsfeld will participate in a task force examining national security and world peace in the post-Sept. 11 era, Raisian said.

Some Stanford faculty and students said they were outraged by Rumsfeld’s appointment, saying he lacks the academic credentials to be at the Hoover Institution and criticizing his central role in the Iraq war.

“I’m appalled,” said Stanford history Professor Barton Bernstein. “He is a profoundly immoral man. The Hoover Institution has long been a refuge for right-wing Republicans, but what makes this unusually disgraceful is Rumsfeld’s involvement in a war started for reasons unprovable, unproven and demonstrably wrong.”

Rumsfeld was unpopular in the hometown of UC Berkeley in March, when the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to support prosecuting him for war crimes.

Rumsfeld might soon be joined at Stanford by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said in recent interviews that she’s looking forward to returning to Stanford to teach in 2008. Rice is on leave from Stanford, where she served as provost for six years until she joined the Bush administration in 2005.

Putting aside (if that’s possible) Rumsfeld’s intimate involvement in an immoral and illegal war, torture, kidnapping, murder, use of chemical weapons, (during the Saddam era and the US invasion of Iraq) and other offenses, do these memorable statements qualify Rummy as an academic?

  • “I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.”
  • “We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.”
  • “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.” –on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction
  • “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.”
  • “Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.” –on looting in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, adding “stuff happens”
  • “As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”
  • “[Osama Bin Laden is] either alive and well or alive and not too well or not alive.”
  • “I am not going to give you a number for it because it’s not my business to do intelligent work.” -asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress
  • “I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it’s what I said.”
  • “Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said.”
  • “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
  • “If I said yes, that would then suggest that that might be the only place where it might be done which would not be accurate, necessarily accurate. It might also not be inaccurate, but I’m disinclined to mislead anyone.”
  • “There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.” -on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction
  • “It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” -in Feb. 2003
  • “Well, um, you know, something’s neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so, I suppose, as Shakespeare said.”
  • “Secretary Powell and I agree on every single issue that has ever been before this administration except for those instances where Colin’s still learning.”
  • “Learn to say ‘I don’t know.’ If used when appropriate, it will be often.”
  • “I don’t know what the facts are but somebody’s certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know.”
  • “I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concepty.”
  • “I don’t do quagmires.”
  • “I don’t do diplomacy.”
  • “I don’t do foreign policy.”
  • “I don’t do predictions.”
  • “I don’t do numbers.”
  • “I don’t do book reviews.”
  • “Now, settle down, settle down. Hell, I’m an old man, it’s early in the morning and I’m gathering my thoughts here.”
  • “If I know the answer I’ll tell you the answer, and if I don’t, I’ll just respond, cleverly.”
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