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College president honors "diversity" by naming center for Dick Cheney

One of the biggest pet peeves on the right is the way that America's universities worship such "socialist" principles as "diversity" and "tolerance" -- so I wonder how they feel when a university president is citing "diversity and tolerance" as a good reason to accept millions of dollars in blood money from Dick Cheney for a new campus center.

It's hard to even know where to begin with the irony here: The man who sent more than 4,000 Americans abroad to die in his unjustified crusade, responsble for the Kafka-esque detainment and torture of prisoners, some of whom were innocent, at Guantanamo and secret sites around the globe, and who did more than anyone in U.S. history to create an international climate of distrust, is being honored with a center at the University of Wyoming to foster world send Americans overseas and support foreigners studying in the United States.

Dick Cheney said his time as a student at the University of Wyoming laid the foundation for an "extraordinary career.""We hope that this center will provide the kind of support for Wyoming students to travel overseas, to travel internationally, to learn a lot of the lessons that we've learned over the years," he said.

The Cheney International Center at the university's main campus in Laramie, which was dedicated today, was funded in part with millions of dollars ($6.4 million, according to this account in the Chicago Tribune) that Cheney and his wife donated, during the time he was serving as vice president and fomenting bogus causes for one brutal war and scheming unsuccessfully for a second. The largest source of wealth for Cheney, of course, was his shares in the company ran before becoming vice president, Halliburton, the stock that soared during the Bush-Cheney years on lucrative no-bid contracts with the Pentagon and the hope for oil-service contracts in the U.S.-invaded-and-defended Persian Gulf.

Still, I'm not shocked that the University of Wyoming took these dirty dollars, but I am somewhat surprised at the defense offered by the university president:

University President Tom Buchanan defended the naming decision in a recent opinion piece in the Casper Star-Tribune, writing "tolerance and diversity cut many ways," and the new center will benefit students.

"Whether you are Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, Catholic or Protestant, gay or straight, white or black, you are welcome at the University of Wyoming. Should we subject potential donors and the purpose of their gift to public referendum? I think not," Buchanan wrote.

Perhaps, but what about subjecting to a standard of ethics and human values. You don't need a Ph.D. to know shouldn't take a man's money to advance the causes that he worked so hard to undermine as a government official. In addition to that whole Iraq thing and the matter of torture, the Cheney-Bush regime did a lot to undermine one of the very causes the Cheney Center seeks specifically to promote, which is foreign study in the United States. In fact, midway through their time in office, Yale's president begged its prominent alum Bush to change his policies:

Levin said he told Bush that the number of foreign student applications to U.S. graduate schools declined 28 percent in 2004 from the previous year, and that some students had waited so long for a visa they had to defer enrollment or forego trips home for fear they couldn't easily return.

``I laid out the problem for him and explained that foreign students are an investment in our national security,'' Levin, an economist who has led Yale since 1993, said in an interview.

Thank God that some of the students at the University of Wyoming can see through the ex-emperor's new clothes:

Protesters made up about a fifth of the crowd of about 500 and hoisted critical signs: "Shame on UW" and "We don't want your blood money."

"They violated international law. They had no respect for other countries," Jennie Boshell, a senior at the university, said of the Bush administration. "To put Cheney's name on an international center is ridiculous and it makes the university look stupid."

Another protester, Dan Depeyer, said he is studying democratization in the former Soviet republics and may well have received some of the Cheneys' money to study abroad.

"If I were ever to study in a Muslim society — say, Saudi Arabia — I wouldn't tell anybody over there I was funded by money that came from Dick Cheney," Depeyer said.

Actually, Saudi Arabia's the one place in that region where people -- well, the ruling people at least -- love Dick Cheney. I wonder if they'll teach about that at the Cheney Center.