from alumni about Class Day 2002 speaker James Baker 52
May 10, 2002
While certainly long, and no doubt successful, Baker's career has never
been distinguished except in his disregard for human rights. A good friend
of the murderous dictator Mobutu Ssese Seko and jailed ex-president of
Argentina Carlos Menem, Baker also supported Saddam Hussein's blood-stained
regime until Hussein made the mistake of invading Kuwait, whereupon Baker
and Bush bombed thousands of civilians before imposing sanctions that
have resulted in the deaths of some 1/2 million Iraqi children. A list
of countries with human-rights violations that the U.S. supported while
Baker was secretary of state under George Bush is too long for this letter,
but I should at least mention Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, and Israel.
I was very disappointed to see that the Class of 2002 chose James Baker '52 to be the keynote speaker at this year's Class Day ceremony.
There were many people on both sides of the disputed 2000 presidential election who did not acquit themselves well, but Mr. Baker's conduct was especially egregious.
While this was a political struggle. there were some who went beyond acceptable bounds, and Mr. Baker was foremost among them. A closely contested election in which there is a great deal at stake does not give one carte blanche to do anything and everything to see that his candidate prevails.
I believe it is well documented that Mr. Baker encouraged his operatives to place pressure on vote counters, who were bullied into stopping a court-ordered recount.
I believe Mr. Baker's actions during this painful period for our nation
sullied his long and distinguished career as a public servant, and as
such make him unworthy of an honor such as serving as a keynote speaker
at Princeton's annual Class Day ceremony.
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