Condoleezza Rice. Just say the name and many people are happy to tell you where they stand on her tenure as Secretary of State under the Bush Administration and torture techniques like water boarding. That's the reason war activists will protest Rice's speech planned for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts.
The former Secretary of State, who is now a Stanford University professor and fellow at the Hoover Institution, was invited by the League of Women Voters of Southwest Santa Clara Valley as part of their "Unique Lives and Experiences" lecture series. The League calls Rice "a unique woman of force, character, beauty and charm who reached one of the highest levels of power in the United State's government." Attendees will pay anywhere from $35 to $100 to hear Rice speak.
Protesters say they'll be there too, only not in admiration. The San Jose Peace and Justice Center call Rice "a notorious war criminal" who gave the okay for water boarding and other illegal acts of torture carried out by the CIA. That group, along with the Peninsula Center for Peace and Justice and San Jose Code Pink are urging members to protest the speech tonight.
If Rice is confronted on the torture issue, it wouldn't be the first time. Most notably, in April 2009, Rice was cornered for six minutes at a similar speech on the Stanford University campus by an intern with a political journal who asked her to justify authorizing torture.
"We did not torture anyone," Rice told the intern. "And Guantanamo Bay, by the way, was considered a model 'medium security prison' by representatives of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe who went there to see it."
Rice is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts downtown. Protesters plan to be there too.