While our Committee to Restore Integrity to Korbel appreciates The Washington Times' coverage, it's important to note that the controversy over former President George W. Bush's nomination for humanitarian recognition has much more to do with award legitimacy and "mission integrity" for Korbel than so-called leftist opposition to Mr. Bush ("George W. Bush to get university humanitarian award despite faculty, student protests," Web, July 11).
I'm a former senior writer for Focus on the Family (certainly no bastion of leftist thought) who voted for Mr. Bush in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Subsequently, however, I was horrified to discover that Mr. Bush and his administration overturned U.S. constitutional and treaty law, including foundational American legal principles of habeas corpus and due process, along with the Geneva Conventions.
The current attempts to suddenly rebrand Mr. Bush as a humanitarian is a modern-day retelling of "The Emperor's New Clothes." Mr. Bush's PEPFAR work in Africa was compromised by the significant percentage of resources allocated to sexual-abstinence campaigns, and the results pale in comparison to the nonpartisan, nonsectarian work of the Gates, Clinton and Carter foundations. Moreover, Mr. Bush's presidential legacy remains tainted by the detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Were it not for the courage of senior-level military whistleblowers, most of the American public would never have known about the human-rights atrocities there.
The Josef Korbel School's tradition of making its award winner and the keynote speaker at its annual fundraising dinner one and the same is a practice that has left the selection process increasingly vulnerable to partisan political and financial pressures. Therefore, our committee has proposed that Korbel split the role of speaker/award winner. This would enable it to bring in a high-profile speaker known internationally (no matter how controversial) and chosen by Korbel's dean, and give the "Improving the Human Condition" Award to a true humanitarian with a solid track record, chosen by the Korbel alumni, students and faculty. This "bicameral" decision-making solution would also help prevent powerful partisan factions from dominating Korbel.
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