Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be honored with the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual event attended by numerous conservative activists, journalists, and politicians.
WorldNetDaily columnist Brad O’Leary and American Conservative Union chairman David A. Keene will present the former Defense secretary with the award on Feb 10, according to the conference’s schedule of events (.pdf).
Conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh was presented with the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at CPAC in 2009.
Rumsfeld, who was Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, oversaw the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. He was replaced by current Defense secretary Robert Gates after a number of generals called for his resignation.
In 2005, he was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for authorizing the torture and abuse of detainees at facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ACLU claimed that the Constitution prohibited the Secretary of Defense from adopting or permitting policies of cruelty against civilians in US military custody, but Rumsfeld claimed he could not be held legally liable for the torture.
The case was eventually dismissed by Chief Judge Thomas A. Hogan of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia.
Numerous social conservative groups said they would boycott CPAC for inviting the gay Republican group GOProud to the conference. The group recently backed efforts to repeal the military’s ban on gays, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Groups such as the Family Research Council, Concerned Women For America, American Values, the American Principles Project, the Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and Liberty University have said they will not attend the conference in February.
South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Florida Sen. Marco Rubioand, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have also announced they will not be attending CPAC.
Speakers scheduled to address CPAC 2011 included Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Liz Cheney, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.