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News :: Human Rights
Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
13 May 2006
An open letter to William P. Leahy, SJ, president of Boston College.
Dear Father Leahy,
I am writing to resign my post as an adjunct professor of English at Boston College.

I am doing so -- after five years at BC, and with tremendous regret -- as a direct result of your decision to invite Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to be the commencement speaker at this year's graduation.

Many members of the faculty and student body already have voiced their objection to the invitation, arguing that Rice's actions as secretary of state are inconsistent with the broader humanistic values of the university and the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which those values derive.

But I am not writing this letter simply because of an objection to the war against Iraq. My concern is more fundamental. Simply put, Rice is a liar.

She has lied to the American people knowingly, repeatedly, often extravagantly over the past five years, in an effort to justify a pathologically misguided foreign policy.

The public record of her deceits is extensive. During the ramp-up to the Iraq war, she made 29 false or misleading public statements concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda, according to a congressional investigation by the House Committee on Government Reform.

To cite one example:

In an effort to build the case for war, then-National Security Adviser Rice repeatedly asserted that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapon, and specifically seeking uranium in Africa.

In July of 2003, after these claims were disproved, Rice said: ''Now if there were doubts about the underlying intelligence . . . those doubts were not communicated to the president, the vice president, or to me."

Rice's own deputy, Stephen Hadley, later admitted that the CIA had sent her a memo eight months earlier warning against the use of this claim.

In the three years since the war began, Rice has continued to misrepresent or simply ignore the truth about our deadly adventure in Iraq.

Like the president whom she serves so faithfully, she refuses to recognize her errors or the tragic consequences of those errors to the young soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq. She is a diplomat whose central allegiance is not to the democratic cause of this nation, but absolute power.

This is the woman to whom you will be bestowing an honorary degree, along with the privilege of addressing the graduating class of 2006.

It is this last notion I find most reprehensible: that Boston College would entrust to Rice the role of moral exemplar.

To be clear: I am not questioning her intellectual gifts or academic accomplishments. Nor her potentially inspiring role as a powerful woman of color.

But these are not the factors by which a commencement speaker should be judged. It is the content of one's character that matters here -- the reverence for truth and knowledge that Boston College purports to champion.

Rice does not personify these values; she repudiates them. Whatever inspiring rhetoric she might present to the graduating class, her actions as a citizen and politician tell a different story.

Honestly, Father Leahy, what lessons do you expect her to impart to impressionable seniors?

That hard work in the corporate sector might gain them a spot on the board of Chevron? That they, too, might someday have an oil tanker named after them? That it is acceptable to lie to the American people for political gain?

Given the widespread objection to inviting Rice, I would like to think you will rescind the offer. But that is clearly not going to happen.

Like the administration in Washington, you appear too proud to admit to your mistake. Instead, you will mouth a bunch of platitudes, all of which boil down to: You don't want to lose face.

In this sense, you leave me no choice.

I cannot, in good conscience, exhort my students to pursue truth and knowledge, then collect a paycheck from an institution that displays such flagrant disregard for both.

I would like to apologize to my students and prospective students. I would also urge them to investigate the words and actions of Rice, and to exercise their own First Amendment rights at her speech.

Steve Almond is the author of the story collections ''The Evil B. B. Chow" and ''My Life in Heavy Metal."

This work is in the public domain.
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Condoleezza the Big Oil Skeeza
13 May 2006
Rice: "Uncle Satan (Bush) is my Sugardaddy."
Apology Accepted
13 May 2006
"Prof" Almond, you will not be missed. You are an adjunct. There are hundreds of qualified English teachers with PHD who can replace you and not give a damn if a speaker at BC supports the Iraq War or not. If BC bans James Joyce or requires 20% of required reading to be by Somali writers or some other PC absurdity, then I could see quitting. Otherwise, it's your loss. Your self-serving oration demonstrates a lack of common sense. Assume Rice is a liar. I doubt she is the first liar to speak at commencement. Or that there are no liars on college faculties. You are a sanctimonious fellow.

{I wonder if BC was going to renew your contract in any event.}

BC's students need literature professors that can apply logical critical theories to the curriculum. Your melodramatic gesture is an expression that is low art at its lowest. Your sense of what is tragic as contrasted to the Ridiculous is suspect, and thus your qualifications are dubious for the field you claim to teac.

Go. Be Gone.
I Like the New Web Design
13 May 2006
Love your new graphics! Porn on BIMC! Hot!
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
13 May 2006
I admire your courage and conviction.
condi porn
13 May 2006
riceaipacphoto.jpg
gets the zionists off
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
13 May 2006
It is telling that the only criticisms that can be levelled against Professor Almond are ad hominem in nature. I wholeheartedly salute the Professors deeply moral and principled resignation.
Ad Hominem Marriage Proposal
13 May 2006
Yes. that's right. I criticized the professor for being a wimp and a phony. He posted so he could exploit his position as a faculty person to persuade people that he was a hero for quitting (allegedly) over this Rice incident. He clearly didn't feel he could stay at BC and organize the other faculty or students on these principles that he claims mean so much to him. His timing and his "remedy", quitting, don't ring true. Wimps and phonies aren't role models. He wants to be a role model.

He flunks. He gets an ad hominem F.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
13 May 2006
I think Steve Almond is to be saluted for taking a real risk for his beliefs. This resignation is probably going to be an albatross around his neck for a long time. The people working at colleges, no matter what their party affiliation, do not like the idea of someone standing up for what he or she believes in, especially if it's contrary to the school administration's wishes. They don't like whistleblowers or dissent anymore than the NSA does. The Right's right when it talks about orthodoxy in academia, it just pictures that orthodoxy wrongly.

Besides being an adjunct Almond is a freelancer, living precariously from piece to piece. He's a short story writer too, who nets only a few thousand bucks-- less than ten thousand-- per book. There's absolutely no money in short stories. None. Instead of checks, rejection letters are the common reward. So Almond can easily be denied work and publication, without explanation, should anyone take umbrage at his stance. He's put a lot on the line. That's much, much more than I can say for the troll(s) of Indymedia.
Revolutionary Priorities
13 May 2006
Funny how reeeeevolushenerees only idolize people who failed, were beaten, or quit.

Losers like people who lose I guess.
Revolutionary Priorities
13 May 2006
Funny how reeeeevolushenerees only idolize people who failed, were beaten, or quit.

Take your pill now and go set in your chair and pretend you're capable of thinking. You know Wa doo doo, just because you imagine that some wierd thought you make up is true, doesn't make it that way. Please try again...
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
13 May 2006
So this prof quits cause Rice speaks. I suspect that no one who matters gives a shit.
Another Real Patriot. Stands Up For Truth!
14 May 2006
"Yellow Cake" Rice is a liar, conartist and RICO criminal.
BC should have NEVER invited her criminal ass to speak.
BC is condoning criminals who ignore our laws. Therefore, BC is just as guilty.
That picture is disgusting.
14 May 2006
Watching a buck-toothed dominatrix swoon as a genocidal dictator pecks her neck is about as disgusting as it comes.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
14 May 2006
@'s comments are sexist.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
14 May 2006
I imagine just about any famous political figure one could get to speak at a commencement is a liar. The real issue here is that Steve will stand up to liars who disagree with his views but not to ones who agree with them. But if he'd quit over Clinton speaking then more power to him. (Mind you I like Clinton, but also recognize he's a liar, and I'm also aware he's right of most people on these forums.)
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
14 May 2006
I meant to add that if I'm right, that makes Steve one who opposes free speech--I thought liberals liked to defend that right--but if I'm wrong, I expect to read many posts from him resigning from future positions over commencement speakers.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
14 May 2006
It's not a freedom of speech issue. Condi speaks quite a bit, and Steve isn't trying to stop her from speaking. He's trying to get the college that he works for to not give her an honorary degree and let her be the commencement speaker for the BC class of 2006. Just because I might think it's wrong to arrest stalinists because of their fucking evil beliefs doesn't mean that I'd be ok if Joseph Stalin spoke at the organization I'm working for. I'd be pissed too.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
14 May 2006
The professor is an idiot. He obviously cares nothing about her supposed lies. He doesnt want her speaking probably because she is a part of the Bush administration that so many people in this country simply love to hate...the good old America bashers. anywhoo..JJ is correct ..Im sure he wouldnt quit if Bill Clinton were speaking, or maybe a Kennedy, good old Michael Moore, or John Kerry, all of which are rediculous liers. The fact that he quit because of his beleifs could possibly have been honorable (even if the base of that is completely rediculous), but in making this letter public he discredited himself. This is obviously done to make himself out to be some kind of hero and big shot as well as some kind of morally elite riteous person, which he is clearly not by stating that he resigning because BC is allowing a "liar" to speak. This is all obviously self serving and is certainly not a "deeply moral or principaled resigniation"
Sad State of American Education
14 May 2006
"Anarchie" compares Rice with Joseph Stalin. Utterly ignorant. Perhaps Anarchie does not know what Stalin did to anarchists.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
15 May 2006
Steve clearly doesn't have the power to stop Rice from speaking, but I'm sure if he did he would stop her. Standing up for truth is one thing, as I said if he'd resign over a liar who supported his politics then he is at least consistent, regardless of what you think of the wisdom of resigning for such things.

The comparison to Stalin is not a fair one. While currently not enjoying a huge amount of support, the Bush administration still has the support of a third of the population, which I'm sure is much higher than Stalin would have had if he came for a visit.

If Steve had the power to and chose to stop Rice from speaking, he would be doing so because he disagrees with a views that larges numbers of people agree with; he would be doing what was in his power to supress views that are clearly not marginal views. That's why I refer to it as opposition to free speech.

If you want an extreme example of what I mean by marginal views, similar to your extreme example of Stalin, we can probably agree that people who think that rapists shouldn't be punished are probably a good example of an extreme minority. In that case I wouldn't consider it a supression of freedom of speech to not allow the person to speak at a college commencement. But the example of Rice clearly would be.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
15 May 2006
I say “good riddance”, to a narrow sighted and bigoted professor. It was always my assumption that professors should be “fair and balanced”, but this individual throws a lot of innuendoes and criticisms out without citations of proof provided. Nor does he call for “civilized” debate of the issues, but a disruption to ALL the graduating seniors at the university. He is only full of himself not wanting to hear, or listen to, another point of view. The typical “do it my way, or I will take my ball and go home” individual. In his case – “I resign”.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
16 May 2006
Brad, there are two issues raised by this post. One is what we think about Rice and the administration, the other is what we think about Steve's choice to resign over such things. Obviously some posts on here serve no purpose (they just make fun of Steve), but others that "attack" his motivations are perfectly valid discourse.

As for my own view on the first issue, I agree that Rice and the administration have lied, though I don't agree that Steve does a particularly good job of arguing this point. As for the second point, that's what my previous posts have addressed.

There are certainly times when "right-wing-nuts" attack the messenger in an effort to divert attention from the issues, and there are times when "left-wing-nuts" do this as well. Let's just agree that it's bad when anyone does this.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
17 May 2006
This professor has decided to "act the fool" and move on. I suspect that the fine institution of BC will have little problem replacing this part time whiner. He does make a comical little statement, doesn't he? Several schools, including many, many high schools, asked the Honorable Rice to speak but where turned down. She is a good speaker and will do just fine. Give her a break!
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
17 May 2006
Way to go Prof. Almond. It takes a big man to stand up for what he believes in. Your right up there with Ward Churchill in my book !
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
18 May 2006
Oh yeah. Almond Joy is right down there with the phony Native American pligiarst.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
18 May 2006
Censorship is alive and spreading at the BIMC!
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
18 May 2006
I applaud Almond. Saw him recently at the Newburyport Lit Fest. Read part of Candyfreak to my students today. Someone has to fight the Bush regime!!
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
21 May 2006
There is a planned action to disrupt Condi's speech.Students and others will be booing and hissing loudly so no one can hear her evil words.She is a famous liar and fraud and deserves to be publically humiliated along with the phony priests that invited her.BC administration is admitting they support Bush and Co.'s war by inviting this warmonger.BC students against the war will be disrupting this terrible insult to all peace loving people at BC.We will not be silenced.We ask all protesters to join us on campus.Stop the war now!!
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
21 May 2006
We know that she didn't lie, but what the heck? A good talking point is a good talking point. You see, we here in the leftist and anarchist community use catch phrases and talking points to commumicate. As part of a movement we cannot succumb to independent thought because our strength lies in unity and solidairty. Rice is part of the Bush administration and therefore must be castigated. This is a common theme that we must unite behind. For example, we keep chanting the mantra "Bush Lied People Died." It is sort of like "hell no we won't go" or If the glove don't fit you must acquit." We all know that the glove fitting had nothing to do with anything. We all know that Bush didn't lie. We all know that Condi didn't lie.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
22 May 2006
The following is a text of my direct response to Steve Almond following publication of his "open letter" to Fr. Leahy:

This morning, I read with regret your fitful, erroneous open letter to Fr. Leahy in today's Boston Globe online. To purport that Secretary of State Rice is a liar is not only inflammatory, it's factually incorrect. While you rehash the talking points checklist of Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Howard Dean and others, you conveniently ignore the stated facts (from the CIA and various congressional inquiries) that the intelligence claiming that Iraq was seeking yellowcake from Africa still stands today as an accurate claim. The CIA concluded that the now much ballyhooed statements to the contrary offered by bon vivant Joe Wilson in fact led the Agency to believe that Saddam was doing so. The British Intelligence sources that made the same claim stand by it to this day.

You then bemoan Secretary Rice's alleged inability to admit mistakes in the execution of the conflict. Apparently you were in a coma during the month of March when Rice publicly stated (as she has numerous times) that mistakes have been made (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4865344.stm).

OK? Enough of the dissection. You conclude that it is your hope that faculty and students will exercise their First Amendment rights to free speech when Madame Secretary comes to the Heights to receive her honorary degree. Translation? You hope they exercise a perceived right to behave badly. Fine. But you're leaving B.C. so your opinion doesn't really matter much to people who really care about the institution. While you've been off writing nonsensical prose -- it's particularly impressive that the first two words of narrative on your website are "Hey Dudes" -- Secretary Rice has been trying to make the world a better place. And she got there after overcoming racial segregation, the glass ceiling, and just about every other obstacle that all of us, including bedwetting liberals like yourself, usually find compelling.

I am a graduate and frequent financial supporter of Boston College. (I am also currently a graduate student at the university.) I recently pledged $50,000 to Boston College and wrote the first $10,000 installment check some months back. I am delighted to know as a result of your rant that you are leaving Boston College and will not see a dime of it.

Happy trails...
On the Other Hand
23 May 2006
It is good that you have donated so generously to our university. I choose, however, not to do so. The reason is that I have seen Boston College decline as a serious Jesuit educational institute to just another run of the mill university that hires sub standard "professors" and left-overs from the 1960s counter-culter or wannabe counter-culturists like Mr. Almond. Boston College was once a working class college. It is now the home of a growing population of the pseudo intelligencia.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
24 May 2006
If your leaders were John Kerry,Ted(swimmer}Kennedy,Nancy Polosi,Howard Dean -you have no legitimate argument. All you have is personal attack & lies.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
24 May 2006
Now for the rest of you: You people are a bunch of RACISTS and SEXISTS ! You hate to see a sister rise to the top. You are all just sniveling privileged white college kids with no real job living off of mommy and daddy's trust funds. You need to get some sense of reality.
Re: Condoleezza Rice at Boston College? I Quit
25 May 2006
I badly needed Condoleezza Rice's E-mail address.
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