At the risk of ’beating the torture subject to death’... George Shultz? Really?

Just a few hours ago, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yet again journeyed out into the forays of the Stanford student, this time to moderate a dinner-time discussion with another former Secretary of State, George Shultz, at Wilbur Dining.  The dinner is part of Shultz’s duties as the 2009 Rathbun Visiting Fellow through the Office of Religious Life, where he gives a speech in the spirit of former Stanford law professor Harry Rathbun’s Last Lecture, on a meaningful life.

And yet again, Stanford Says No to War (SSNW) was there with signage to hold her accountable for war crimes, much like her last event with Stanford students at Roble Hall that generated the now-famous YouTube exchange with a student on torture (See “Condi Unscripted,” Fiat Lux, April 29).  SSNW has every right to do this – but really, at some point one has to wonder what the point is.  I for one certainly don’t have the hours to devote to following Condoleezza Rice around in public that often.  The only explanation I can think of is that if they do this enough and follow her around everywhere, maybe it’ll eventually wear her down enough to leave Stanford.  Not that that’s all that likely, either, considering she’s talked about coming back here for years before the Bush Administration ended.

To announce yet another demonstration, SSNW sent out an e-mail on the Service for All mailing list earlier today urging students to join them in “investigat[ing] war crimes!”  But this gem is what really caught my eye:

Our goal is to spread awareness about the actions of both Condoleezza Rice and George Schultz as former high government officials and call for investigation into alleged crimes that they may have committed.

Really, SSNW?  George Shultz?  Really?

Like I said, SSNW has all the power in the world to assemble, demonstrate, make their opinions heard, etc. etc. etc., but I just can’t understand what good they think they’re doing in diluting their message by expanding it to Shultz, one of our most popular Secretaries of State who’s been a fellow at the Hoover Institution for years and years and (at least recently) hasn’t been protested against for “alleged crimes.”  More Stanford students supported SSNW when they were protesting Rumsfeld than Rice, and exactly what advantage do they receive by throwing Shultz into the equation?

I was telling friends at the dinner table tonight a perspective I once heard, how lucky political extremists are because they know they’re always right in all situations.  It sucks being anywhere in between the two extremes because you have think out all the details of every issue, their nuances, and realize the world isn’t just black and white.  While I don’t agree with SSNW on Rice, I can understand where they’re coming from, but their language and choices of words are always just so definitive.  Must be nice to be so right.  But maybe they’re losing something in always being so right, too, as it now sounds like according to SSNW that all “former high government officials” ought to be investigated for war crimes.  I’d expect the moderates in between the two political extremes to disagree.  But if not, forget George Shultz, former Clinton Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, you could be next to face the wrath of Stanford Says No to War.

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