What the Hell was Leon Panetta Doing in Portland?

It’s not every day Portland is graced by the presence of a bonafide war criminal. This week, though, we were in luck. For just one day, one Leon Panetta was in town by invitation of the supposedly progressive Portland State University. If you’re unfamiliar with him, don’t feel bad. I’d rather spend my days not thinking about mass murderers, too.

Leon Edward Panetta was a congressman, serving as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, as well as head of the CIA and Secretary of Defense under the Obama administration.

As head of the CIA, Panetta oversaw the exponential expansion of Obama’s extralegal drone strike program. Nobel laureate and socialist Malala Yousafzai has condemned the lethal program for simply creating more terrorists, having killed over 2,400 people, a great number of which were civilians. More recently, Panetta’s been draping himself in a great many Israeli flags while making threats against Iran.

Presidents-Pakistan

Change we can believe in. Source.

As Secretary of Defense, Panetta was at the helm for Obama’s military strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen – killing thousands of men, women and childrenPanetta also insisted that no CIA operative who committed torture in the past or future should be charged with a crime. During his own CIA confirmation hearings in 2009 Panetta didn’t mince words in showing his contempt for the rule of law: “We just can’t operate if people feel they’re following the legal opinions of the Justice Department.

Suffice to say, Leon Panetta is a giant piece of shit.

Yet it was with much fanfare that Portland State University welcomed Panetta, who’s sat on the board of the New York Stock Exchange, as keynote speaker at their annual “business formal” Simon Benson award extravaganza. The event was even sponsored by corporate criminals Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. During the event, it was with total sincerity that PSU tweeted how “proud and honored” they were to have Panetta there to speak.

This perverse merger of academic institutions with the corporate state has been increasing for some time. More and more, universities are seeking million in funding from the private sector. Just last year, PSU added a slew of corporate heads to their foundation board, several of whom come from the fossil fuel industry in embarrassing contradiction with PSU’s green-washed branding campaign.

As Oregon’s largest university, PSU claims their mission is to “enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic qualities of urban life.” What kind of message does it send to students that a purveyor of war and imperialism is to be proudly honored?

Truthfully, students, faculty, administrators, – any Portland liberal with a shred of morality should be outraged at the University’s actions in bringing Panetta here. No such person should be welcome in our community, much less ‘honored’ with the role as keynote speaker. Praising him in such a way is outright disgusting.

Supposedly there was a planned student protest of Panetta’s appearance, but from apparently two last minute changes of venue and misleading information spread by campus security, I wasn’t able to confirm if it actually took place. Here’s hoping next time PSU brings a war-machine monster to town, people will be ready to prove why George H.W. Bush’s staff nicknamed us ‘Little Beruit‘.

See you in the streets.

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