Harvard Disgraces Itself to Appease CIA Crybullies


By Bradley Manning Support Network [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 

The Washington Post reports that Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government has rescinded its offer of a visiting fellowship to whistle-blower Chelsea Manning.

Following tantrums from Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo (who withdrew from a planned speech) and Michael Morell, a former CIA deputy director (who resigned his own fellowship at the school), Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf issued a statement calling the invitation a “mistake” and denying any intent to “honor [Manning] in any way or to endorse any of her words or deeds.”

Harvard is a private university (to the extent possible in a mixed economy featuring various sorts of government funding for students, researchers, etc.). Its leaders are entitled to discriminate as they wish regarding faculty and curriculum. But the Kennedy School’s action and Elmendorf’s statement are a stain on the nearly 400-year-old university’s honor.

A ping on the ol’ irony meter:

Among those who contend that the assassination of JFK was not the act of a lone gunman, the CIA tends to move to center stage as the likely center of a conspiracy to kill the president. While Kennedy’s intent to thwart the military-industrial complex in general and the CIA in particular may be exaggerated, he nonetheless enjoys a posthumous reputation for attempting to rein the agency in.

Now, more than half a century later, the school that bears his name kowtows to that same CIA over what Julian Assange of WikiLeaks accurately deems a “cry-bully complaint” from Pompeo and Morell. It’s sickening.

Chelsea Manning is an American hero who, after an illegally long pre-trial detention and a show trial lacking even the pretense of due process, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for exposing the crimes committed by numerous actors within the US government. Former president Barack Obama deserves plaudits for his decision to commute her sentence, and condemnation for not going further with a full pardon, lavish financial compensation for the wrongs done her, and an apology and thanks for services rendered on behalf of of a grateful nation.

The Kennedy School’s motto is “ask what you can do,” presumably as excerpted from JFK’s inaugural address: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

Chelsea Manning asked herself what she could do for her country and for the freedom of man. She then proceeded to act — at great personal cost to herself — on the answers she found to that question. No person on the Kennedy School’s current list of visiting fellows is even close to as qualified as Manning to teach the mission implied by the school’s motto. Douglas W. Elmendorf’s denial of intent to honor Manning or endorse her deeds is a confession that appeasing reprobates like Pompeo and Morell comes before doing the right thing for his students.

Shame on Harvard.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

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  • “The Kennedy School’s motto is “ask what you can do,”
    You are so very right, Tom, that NO ONE on the “Kennedy School’s current list of visiting
    fellows is even close to as qualified as Manning to teach the mission
    implied by the school’s motto.” Of course there are those who will do whatever to promote the always coercion-based State, rather than the liberty of individual people who live in the geographical area claimed by that State.

    Twitter account @lizzie363 had a good suggestion for what those of us disgusted can do beyond sound off publicly:
    “Go directly to people who donate to Harvard. Alumni ect. Ask them to cut funding based on this awful act of cowardliness.”

    I’ve retweeted that idea this morning numerous times, & included the appropriate Twitter accounts for The Kennedy School of Business & Harvard University itself. Hope to reach those alumni who are displeased if not actually disgusted with Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf.

  • JdL

    I consider myself pretty cynical, but when I heard that CIA thugs were whining about Manning’s invitation, I actually expected Harvard to flip them off rather than cravenly cave. Silly me!