And for the rest of you…

01.13.05

Most of the donations that have been pouring in so far for Tsunami disaster relief have been motivated by genuine shock, empathy and desire to help.

But in case those reasons don’t seem quite cynical enough for you, if you’re American, Dubya has a selfish reason to give:

President Bush (news – web sites) said U.S. aid efforts following Asia’s killer tsunami would improve America’s image in the Muslim world.

[ . . . ]

“In … responding to the tsunami, many in the Muslim world have seen a great compassion in the American people,” Bush said in an interview with ABC News to be aired on Friday.

The president, initially criticized for a slow and limited U.S. response to the tsunami, said he was “very impressed … by how quickly we have responded” to deploy military equipment and personnel for the international relief effort.

“I’ve got to tell you, our military is making a significant difference,” he said.

Bush has been accused of many things, but genius has never been one of them. Nevertheless, you’d think at least someone on his senior staff might realize that it doesn’t look so good to use a natural disaster that has killed over a hundred and fifty thousand people as a PR opportunity.

Sheesh.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Otter 01.14.05 at 4:15 PM

C’mon, Sari, this is pretty flimsy. It’s not like the day it happened he rushed to a press conference to say “Here’s our chance to score points with Muslims!” This is an opportunity to demonstrate good will in the Muslim world and I don’t see why it should be so outrageous to briefly note that two weeks later.

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2 Peter 01.14.05 at 6:53 PM

Sari,

The United States and the Bush administration in particular, is constantly being accused by not just the arabs, but also the European Union and the world press, that it does not have a “good image” in the muslim world.

I think that he not only should say, but also has a responsibility to say publicly, to all muslims and to the powers that be in the world media (the bbc, npr, nyt, wash post, the major networks, ect) or in the halls of the EU, that this will (or hopefully will) improve our standing in the Muslim world.

I think he is saying this publicly to put those critics on notice. He is saying, “Hey, we are helping muslims, and we are not the evil ogres that our critics make us out to be.”

Does this makes sense?

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3 Shawn 01.14.05 at 7:53 PM

I agree with the above. I don’t see what was so bad about what Bush said.

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4 ikram 01.14.05 at 9:06 PM

What’s the Muslim world have to do with the tsunami?

The most affected areas were Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu, Western Thailand, Andamans, and Aceh.

Of those, only Aceh is majority Muslim, and the primary political concern of the Acehnese is not religion, it is the dominance of Jakarta/Java and their century long struggle to be independent.

The other areas are Hindu or Buddhist, and many killed in thailand were Christian tourists.

I’m not sure that GWB’s response should be considered selfish, but I do think it should be considered geographically incorrect.

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5 josh 01.16.05 at 3:58 PM

In Management 101, there’s a chapter at the end about ‘social responsibility’. The gist of it is that it’s not obligatory, but if done than it should be done right and should be publicized properly.
Tznius does not exist on this big a scale and Bush is still doing chesed at this point (with sending a carrier task force and a few other Navy ships) because he is not asking for anything material in return.

and FWIW, Indonesia already wants the Americans out ASAP.

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