This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Being a politician with the last name of "Flake," I'm used to laughing at jokes about my name. But I never thought I'd have to defend myself against a charge that I once "praised" South Africa's abhorrent policy of apartheid.
So I was pleased that Paul Rolly issued a correction to his charge ("My recollection of events 20 years ago turned out to be a little flaky," Opinion, Sept. 21). He may have forgotten that promoting social change through a policy of "constructive engagement" with South Africa was the official policy of the Reagan administration during the 1980s. You can disagree with that policy, as many did, but equating my opposition to economic sanctions against South Africa to support for apartheid is no more accurate than equating my opposition to economic sanctions against Cuba with support for communism.
While Rolly was in the correction mode, I wish he had also issued one to a column earlier this year where he made the inaccurate (and just plain bizarre) claim that I argued in my master's thesis that apartheid was a "righteous system." Wrong topic, wrong country. My master's thesis was written on Robert Mugabe's government in Zimbabwe.
Rep. Jeff Flake
Arizona Sixth Congressional District