Sunday, April 24, 2005

Condoleezza Rice: Possible Case of the "Higher Immorality"

Julian Borger (“Rice Changed Terrorism Report,” The Guardian, April 23, 2005, reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered the 2004 Patterns of Global Terrorism publication which reports country level terrorist incidents withdrawn and reissued without accompanying statistics. “This year's edition,” writes Borger, “showed a big increase, from 172 significant terrorist attacks in 2003 to 655 in 2004. Much of the increase took place in Iraq, contradicting recent Pentagon claims that the insurgency there is waning.”

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has written a protest to the state department’s inspector general.

If the claims reported by Borger and Waxman are correct, then it looks that Dr. Rice provides an example of what C. W. Mills referred to as the “higher immorality.”

While Tom DeLay and his troupe in the religious circus call for removal of federal judges, it might be an appropriate time to: a) urge Dr. Rice’s degree granting institutions (University of Denver – bachelor’s & doctorate and the University of Notre Dame – master’s, and to review whether she has violated the “rights and privileges” of her degrees, and b) in the spirit of the
administration’s embrace of “values,” urge legislation for degree granting institutions receiving federal funds to establish and monitor codes of ethics applicable to its graduates and establish sanctions including, in appropriate, rescinding degrees.

When contentious business practices are matter of litigation, one of the items of interest is “fiduciary agent responsibility.” It would seem appropriate that a comparable system of accountability be applied to graduates of institutions of higher education, one which recognizes that college graduates by virtue of general education and/or specialized training “know or should know” how to report accurately and when acting in positions of public trust must faithfully give witness to such commitments.

One of the defenses of academic freedom has been that professors “expose” students to a body of information. There’s been a reluctance to suggest more, though we also have to note that there are external forces operating to make academic workers more accountable. But the question is accountable to whom?

While it is late in the day to defend the institution of higher education that masquerades much of what is wrong with this country, we might consider urging policies in the name of “values” that otherwise seem so vexing to many in the liberal and progressive constituencies. We have values that are worth fighting for as well. Its time that we did so at every level of government and politics. Lets hold everyone accountable for a change.

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