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When last spotted, Professor S. Frederick Starr was snuggling up with Washington lobbyists employed by the Kazakh government. Starr, the one-time Soviet advisor to President Reagan who currently heads the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), is now teaming up with former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld in another venture of dubious academic integrity.
Rumsfeld, who has kept a low profile since being fired from his post as Secretary of Defense, has created a foundation whose goals include “encouraging young people to go into government” and generating “support for Central Asian republics.” One of its major grants, I’ve been told, went to fund a new CACI fellowship program for “young leaders” from the region. The first group of fellows has just arrived at CACI.
Felisa Neuringer Klubes, a spokeswoman for SAIS, confirmed that Rumsfeld had provided funding for the program, though she did not specify an amount. Accepting Rumsfeld’s financial support generated internal debate at SAIS. Some at the school apparently felt that taking money from Rumsfeld was improper, given his disastrous role in the Iraq War (“Stuff happens,” he said famously of the looting that broke out soon after the invasion) and involvement in the torture scandals.
CACI took the money, but opted not to burden the visiting academics with the title of “Rumsfeld scholars.” Even the former defense secretary recognized that his name would be radioactive.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”