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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Criticism of president is illogical

The goal of constructive criticism is improvement, and individuals in leadership positions are routinely the targets of intense scrutiny. However, the criticism President Bush has recently received is anything but constructive, and some of those who are leveling the complaints are doing so simply because they don’t approve of him as the president.
While most Texas A&M students are familiar with the condemnation to which the president has been subject regarding Iraq, the latest chorus of grievances has been how he handled offering assistance to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Ironically, those most unhappy with the president’s management of the liberation of Iraq are some of those most vocal about his supposed tsunami relief shortcomings.
Some readers may hesitate in relating the two events, but looking beneath the surface will provide valuable insight into the minds of critics. Superficially, the actions of the United States in the incidents seem as exclusive as night and day: After all, one was the beginning of a war, while the other was the epitome of peace.
But central to both strains of protest is how the president made his decision and the speed with which he acted. Basically, some feel that he was too hasty in launching the Iraq invasion and too sluggish in offering American aid. In their minds, the liberation of 25 million was rushed while the donation of food and medicine to two million in the tsunami-affected region was too slow.
To state it another way, his detractors feel that Bush was both too unilateral and not unilateral enough.
His opponents claim he failed to get sufficient support from the international community before authorizing the invasion of Iraq. They seem to readily forget that some of the countries, such as France and Russia, opposed the invasion because they were profiting from Saddam Hussein’s continued reign. When Bush did what he thought was right regardless of international opinion, they saw a power-hungry man trying to go it alone. But when another leadership opportunity arose in the form of responding to a horrific natural disaster, negative comments abounded virtually without delay that the president is not doing enough, fast enough.
Critics ignore the fact that the process of helping those in need got underway almost immediately.
According to a White House press release from Dec. 26, “The United States stands ready to offer all appropriate assistance to those nations most affected.” No, Bush may not have called a press conference and jumped in front of a television camera promising to make the disaster disappear, but he was not sitting on his hands while hundreds of thousands suffered.
Bush did not seek the approval of international agencies prior to pledging support to the countries devastated by the tsunami. He did what he felt was necessary as warranted by the circumstances. When the preliminary reports stated that a few thousand people were killed, had the president offered hundreds of millions of dollars in relief, he would have been roundly chastised for being irresponsible.
For the president’s critics to consider him too unilateral in his handling of Iraq and not unilateral enough in response to the tsunami demonstrates their ideology: Whatever Bush does is wrong. Even if it is not intellectually honest, that is their position.
This animosity toward Bush may be motivated by purely political purposes. For example, some might feel that if a Republican president receives credit for doing anything positive – even if it is on behalf of the American people – it reduces the chances of a Democrat regaining the White House in the near future.
Alternatively, some individuals may just be disgruntled at the results of the last two presidential elections. People who feel like an election was stolen generally will disagree with everything the winner does, even if it doesn’t make sense to do so.
Another possible explanation is simply that critics criticize Bush to garner media attention. There’s nothing like a little denigration of the president to get on television.
Regardless of motivation, the result is disapproval – based on emotions rather than logic –that simply awaits an opportunity for the president to make any decision. As soon as he does, let the condemnation begin. Some people can’t win for losing; it seems President Bush just can’t win.

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