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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
Chance that a civilian who died in a 20th-century war was American:
A physicist calculated that mass worldwide conversion to a vegetarian diet would do more to slow global warming than cutting back on oil and gas use.
“All I saw,” said a 12-year-old neighbor of visits to the man’s house, “was just cats in little diapers.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”