Students and faculty activists at the University of Minnesota are pressuring the university to rescind an invitation to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to speak on campus April 17. Her appearance is part of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ “Distinguished Carlson Lecture Series.” Protesters cite Rice’s role in the Iraq War during the Bush’s administration and Rice’s reported $150,000 speaking fee.
Secretary Rice was just one of the Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz war-prone team that was part of the ineffective George W. Bush administration, and we can’t blame her for all of their failings.
Perhaps her most memorable quote occurred when she was pushing for the disastrous invasion of Iraq. Referring to Saddam Hussein, she told CBS News that “he was far, far closer to a crude nuclear device than anybody thought, maybe six months from a crude nuclear device.” The truth was that Saddam was bluffing and had no chance for that kind of mass destruction weapon.
President Bush and his officials are often accused of lying about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in order to support the Iraq invasion. I suggest that they sincerely believed the nonsense they were promoting, being taken in by Saddam Hussein’s bluff.
If occasional ignorance disqualifies potential guest speakers, the University of Minnesota will be hard-pressed to find one.
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