Editor’s Note: Condoleezza Rice has been a longtime Washington favorite, praised for everything from her intellect and supposed moderation to her social grace and wardrobe. So there is a strong disinclination to hold her accountable for a role in George W. Bush’s torture and illegal war policies.

However, at Stanford University where she has decamped after leaving government, students and alumni demanded that the university repudiate Rice for her complicity in war crimes, as Marjorie Cohn of After Downing Street writes in this guest essay:

During the Vietnam War, Stanford students succeeded in banning secret military research from campus. Last weekend, 150 activist alumni and present Stanford students targeted Condoleezza Rice for authorizing torture and misleading Americans into the illegal Iraq War.

Veterans of the Stanford anti-Vietnam War movement had gathered for a 40th anniversary reunion during the weekend. The gathering featured panels on foreign policy, the economy, political and social movements, science and technology, media, energy and the environment, and strategies for aging activists.

On Sunday, surrounded by alumni and students, Lenny Siegel and I nailed a petition to the University President’s office door. The petition, circulated by Stanford Say No to War, reads:

“We the undersigned students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other concerned members of the Stanford community, believe that high officials of the U.S. Government, including our former Provost, current Political Science Professor, and Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Condoleezza Rice, should be held accountable for any serious violations of the Law (included ratified treaties, statutes, and/or the U.S. Constitution) through investigation and, if the facts warrant, prosecution, by appropriate legal authorities.”

I stated, “By nailing this petition to the door of the President’s office, we are telling Stanford that the university should not have war criminals on its faculty. There is prima facie evidence that Rice approved torture and misled the country into the Iraq War. Stanford has an obligation to investigate those charges.”

After the petition nailing, I cited (see video) the law and evidence of Condoleezza Rice’s responsibility for war crimes - including torture - and for selling the illegal Iraq War:

As National Security Advisor, Rice authorized waterboarding in July 2002, according to a newly released congressional report.

Less than two months later, she hyped the impending U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying, “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Her ominous warning was part of the Bush administration’s campaign to sell the Iraq war, in spite of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s assurances that Saddam Hussein did not possess nuclear weapons.

A week before the nailing of the petition, Rice made some Nixonian admissions in response to questions from Stanford students during a campus dinner designed to burnish Rice’s image on campus.

In October 1968, Stanford anti-war activists had nailed a document to the door of the trustees’ office which demanded that Stanford “halt all military and economic projects concerned with Southeast Asia.”

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Read her articles at www.marjoriecohn.com.

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