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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 6, 2008 at 2:07 PM

The Bush legacy

He told us to shop

In response to the Northwest Voices letter to the editor by Lisa Harmon regarding Bush’s leadership during Sept. 11, 2001 [“He united us in tragedy’s wake”], all I can say is, come on, don’t change history, the guy told us to go shopping, for Pete’s sake.

— Mark Barabasz, Hansville

Anything but presidential

Lisa Harmon writes that President George W. Bush’s leadership in response to Sept. 11, 2001 is worthy of praise and is why we should respect him.

It’s hard to imagine a president taking any other course of action in the first few days after Sept. 11, 2001. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine even an average American, suddenly cast into that role, doing anything differently, excepting that they may have had a seven-minute head start.

Official executive response to national emergencies is largely predetermined by the military and diplomatic structures and procedures we have in place in Washington, D.C. Bush happened to be the guy sitting behind the desk when we needed someone to tell us what was going to happen next. His initial decisions were very clear-cut.

But what followed was a pattern of decisions that squandered international sympathy and our moral authority, strained our military and dragged down our economy. And after all this, Osama bin Laden is still in business.

Presidents who act presidential deserve our respect. But over the course of his administration, Bush has consistently been anything but presidential on so many levels — diplomatic, economic, moral and constitutional.

History, I’m confident, will not judge him as charitably as Harmon does.

— Gary Gibson, Edmonds

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