February 1, 2018

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: In Response to ‘Former Vice President Dick Cheney to Speak at Cornell This Spring’

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To the Editor:

I write to raise a broad question about why, in the words of Austin McLaughlin, president of Cornell Republicans, Dick Cheney’s “40 Years In and Out of Government” qualifies him to speak at Cornell.

During those forty years, Cheney masterminded a disastrous war based on the known lie of Iraq’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction”— a war that killed thousands of US servicemen and at least 460,000 mostly civilian Iraqis as well as completely destabilizing a once-middle class country, setting the stage for the murderous ISIS insurgency.

Interestingly, this information is lacking in the unusually long Cornell Daily Sun article that presents Cheney as a thoughtful choice because of McLaughlin’s hope that he will be a “conversation starter” as well as the fact that a former Cornell professor named a beetle after him.  (This last bit of trivia takes up three paragraphs of the article.)

In response to the implied lack of meaningful conversation at Cornell, I have an alternative “conversation” to propose: Should Cornell continue to pick up the large share of security fees related to Cheney’s visit? Cornell’s fee-paying parents ought to converse with administrators about deducting from the fees they pay this year the share that provides security for Cheney and other extremist demagogues who speak on campus based on the vapid justifications of one uninformed student.

And a demerit to the Sun for this shamefully imbalanced reporting!

Dr. Barbara Regenspan
Professor of Educational Studies, Emerita
Colgate University