To the editor:
Following Sept. 11, 2001, the world was poised to offer its sympathy and support for the United States in our hour of tragedy. While the retaliation against al-Qaida was generally understood, the Bush administration quickly squandered all the goodwill. A transparent policy of deceiving the world into thinking that Iraq was somehow involved in the al-Qaida attack destroyed all sympathy. Instead, the U.S. was and still is seen as a belligerent bully lacking concern for the lives either of American military personnel or civilians of Iraq.
Now the Bush administration has repeated the blunder. Following the devastating tsunami, the need for vast international aid was immediately obvious. Instead of spending billions trying to bully the Middle East into submission, Bush could have done more for the reputation of the U.S. around the world had he recognized the problem and immediately offered significant financial aid. Instead, having broken the U.S treasury with its emphasis on tax cuts for the wealthy and a military adventure in Iraq, the Bush administration offered a paltry $35 million -- less even than Bush spent on his own coronation. It was not until Americans themselves provided huge contributions and an aggrieved world prodded him into action that Bush finally upped the U.S. contribution to a reasonable level.
Another opportunity to promote a positive U.S. image around the world was lost. You can get more flies with honey, but Bush must beat the world into submission. Show me the American values here.
EMMA L. FRANKLIN, Cape Girardeau