In a newspaper opinion piece signed by President Bush and offered to newspapers around the globe, a White House eager to lessen anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world is trumpeting U.S. efforts to help tsunami victims in the Indian Ocean region.
``Americans join those across the globe in mourning the tens of thousands of lives, many of them children, who were lost in the recent violent tsunamis from Thailand to the Horn of Africa,'' Bush writes in the op-ed distributed by the State Department starting last Saturday.
``In consultation with key allies and with the United Nations, the United States launched one of the largest humanitarian relief operations in recent history,'' he wrote. ``Americans will do all we can to help the people of Asia confront the great challenges that face them in the aftermath of this devastation.''
M.C. Andrews, with a White House office in charge of helping to improve the U.S. image abroad, said Tuesday the op-ed has already been published in papers in Asia, Europe and elsewhere.
Also Tuesday, Clinton and the first President Bush gave an interview to a U.S. government-financed satellite television station aimed at Arab viewers and said the response to their fund-raising drive has been overwhelming.
``People ask all the time, `Will people like America better?' and the answer is, we don't know, but that's not why we are doing it,'' Clinton said on Alhurra. ``If people know that the American people are doing this because they want to do the right thing, then they will like America better. If people think we have some motive, then they won't.''
Added former President Bush: ``I hope there is a byproduct, a fallout that will benefit, because I think the American people would want that. And to suggest we are anti-Muslim is just crazy. ... If they feel reconciled by the fact that we are helping the largest Muslim nation in the world, so much the better.''
Is it churlish to point out that Clinton promotes doing the right thing, despite any rewards? And Bush Sr. focusses on gaining some reward for our largesse? Or that both Bush's seem to think words outweigh war.
Truly, the acorn does not fall far from the tree.....