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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a fraud. She wants to be considered a serious and skilled diplomat, an insightful analyst of geopolitics and a thoughtful scholar. She is, in fact, a hack politician and manipulator, a professional sycophant whose serial lying and deceptions helped create the worst foreign policy disaster in American history.

The mainstream media continue to fawn all over Rice, repeatedly describing her as a "distinguished" and "accomplished" woman without actually explaining why. We know she is attractive and fashionable. She loves shoes and professional football. She enjoys working out and playing classical music on the piano. She is the great-granddaughter of slaves and grew up in the segregated South.

Over and over, we hear the litany of Rice virtues, usually laced with references to her race and gender. Rather than judge her by the color of her skin, I prefer to focus on the content of her character.

How about a word or two of lasting truth about her? Just one sentence will do. Condoleezza Rice's public service is a monumental failure and has done immeasurable harm to the American people and to countless lives around the world. As we go to press, Rice is slated to deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree from Boston College. In the spirit of Christian forgiveness, maybe Fidel Castro and Muammar Qaddafi will be on next year's list of honorees. They've done less damage than Rice.

When the university announced she had accepted the invitation, one of the school's newspapers, The Heights, gushed in an editorial, "Bringing the most powerful woman in America -- and possibly the world -- is nothing short of miraculous." Praise Jesus! Jerry Falwell is now a Jesuit.

It's "miraculous" that a politician will take the opportunity to make a political speech at a forum that gets plenty of play? That's right up there with raising Lazarus from the dead and turning water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana.

But more than a few brave souls rose above the depths of The Heights' gushing and spoke the truth about Rice.

"Why honor someone who is the architect of an unjust war?" asked theology professor Rev. David Hollenback.

He and more than 200 other faculty members signed a letter and petition opposing the honor for Rice. Hollenback and Rev. Kenneth Himes penned the letter, which pointed to the "tragic war in Iraq" and made a Jesuitical point.

"On the levels of both moral principle and practical judgment, Secretary of State Rice's approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College's commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university's work," the letter proclaims.

Boston College spokesman John B. Dunn defended honoring Rice, pointing out that she is the descendent of slaves and sharecroppers, and "overcame racism in the segregated South." How original. Dunn added, "Much about her is admirable and worthy of emulation."

Much about Rice is despicable and worthy of denunciation.

I hope the protests are peaceful and respectful, but filled with righteous indignation. Rice is the antithesis of what the Jesuits and Boston College stand for. She lied to get our nation into an unnecessary war and still justifies her deceptions, spewing her wretched intellectual dishonesty.

Adjunct English Professor Steve Almond resigned in protest. He wrote Boston College president Father William Leahy, denouncing the choice of Rice as a "moral exemplar."

Almond wrote, "Like the president whom she serves so faithfully, she refuses to recognize her errors or the tragic consequences of those errors to the young soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq. She is a diplomat whose central allegiance is not to the democratic cause of this nation, but absolute power."

The disasters Rice has wrought will take generations to clean up. Some of her damage is irreparable. When she took over as secretary of state, she faced the painful justice of reaping the bad seeds she had sown during her horrible tenure as the president's national security adviser.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Rice was planning to deliver a major speech on national security issues. The al-Qaeda attacks, of course, shelved Rice's address. But why do you suppose the Busheviks still refuse to release the text of that speech? My guess is that Karl Rove has had it expunged from every hard drive in the White House.

The reason is clear and simple. In the speech, I believe, Rice made no mention of the threat of al-Qaeda and Islamic terrorism. She was going to talk about the administration's top national security priority at the time, the Star Wars missile defense shield.

Rice has always been a willing shill for the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal. Instead of being an honest broker on national security issues, she is a clever schemer, compromising the truth to please the boys.

Rice repeatedly ignored the advice of Richard Clarke, the National Security Council's counter-terrorism chief. Clarke had served in Bush the Elder's and Clinton's administrations, and was an expert on al-Qaeda. Rice shoved Clarke and his expertise aside as she focused on missile defense.

Clarke told Rice al-Qaeda was the greatest threat to our national security and advocated an aggressive strategy against bin Laden. He tried to get Rice to schedule meetings to develop an action plan against al-Qaeda. Rice never did and has been lying about her negligence and incompetence ever since.

Her Ph.D. dissertation -- forged into a book -- is most revealing. She built her "distinguished" academic reputation and became the darling of the neocons as an "expert" on the old Soviet Union. The book, "The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948-1983," helped her political career with the non-bookish Busheviks, but hardly impressed real scholars.

Joseph Kalvoda, a history professor at St. Joseph College, reviewed Rice's book when it came out in 1984. He didn't even know Rice and mistakenly referred to her as "he." But he quickly grasped the shallowness of her "scholarship."

Kalvoda wrote that Rice's "selection of sources raises questions" and critically noted that she "frequently does not sift facts from propaganda and valid information from disinformation from misinformation." Kalvoda, who was born in Czechoslovakia, found Rice's "generalizations" reflected a lack "of knowledge about history and nationality problems in Czechoslovakia." The reviewer also noticed a feature in Rice's writing that is evident in her speaking: "The writing abounds with meaningless phrases," he wrote.

Rice advised Bush the Elder on Soviet relations, insisting that the USSR would never break up, and totally misread the Soviet overtures to end the Cold War.

Over the decades, Boston College has honored a long list of saints and sinners, including slew of Kennedys, with the glaring omission, so far, of Caroline Kennedy. Her book, "The Right to Privacy," written with Ellen Alderman, is a scholarly tribute to the Fourth Amendment, which the Busheviks, including Dr. Rice, have put under serious assault.

Boston College usually gets it right in choosing people to honor. The great actor Sir Alec Guinness, philosopher Jacques Maritain, poets Maya Angelou and Seamus Heaney, biblical scholar Rev. Timothy Healy and architect Buckminster Fuller are among the truly distinguished people awarded honorary degrees. The school has also picked numerous successful and decent politicians for recognition -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan, George H.W. Bush, Henry Cabot Lodge, Tip O'Neill, Walter Mondale, Jack Kemp and Warren Rudman, along with many others. President Dwight Eisenhower's secretary of state, Christian Herter, was honored. He was a committed internationalist who founded the Middle East Institute.

Every so often, Boston College has made serious mistakes in picking those to honor. Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb and crazy cold-warrior, was a terrible choice. Teller once proposed using a thermonuclear weapon to excavate a harbor in Alaska and was Stanley Kubrick's model for Dr. Strangelove.

Disgraced pedophile-protector Bernard Cardinal Law was honored.

Barbara Bush is the tree, much more than her husband, from whom the rotten apple in the Oval Office fell. She said she "didn't want to waste my beautiful mind" thinking about the deaths and carnage her boy's war would bring. When Katrina evacuees were housed at the Houston Astrodome, Babs quipped, "So many of the people here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." She, too, got an honorary degree from Boston College.

The traditions of the Jesuits and Boston College have enriched our nation and given great gifts to the world. The warmongering mediocrity Condoleezza Rice fits nowhere in that tradition. Honoring her is a shameful mistake.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com May 23 2006