Saturday, April 28, 2007

Do as I say, not as I do

High school and university students, in my observation, are particularly sensitive to hypocrisy. Two of this week’s news stories must be scoring high on their hypocrisy detectors. World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, a principal architect of Bush Administration Iraq policies, has made corruption fighting the centerpiece of his program at the Bank. Now, it transpires that he used his influence to arrange a new position for his girl friend, with an inappropriately inflated salary. Dr. Wolfowitz did issue a a carefully worded apology, but has also hired a leading trial lawyer to mount a defense as he seeks to cling to his position.

Randall Tobias, named by President Bush to head the Agency for International Development in January 2006, intended to make fighting sexual trafficking the centerpiece of his administration. But his administration proved to be short-lived. This 65 year old gentleman, former corporate chief executive and Duke University Trustee was apparently linked to at least one – and possibly two – female escort services. He has resigned, for unspecified “personal reasons.”

What sort of message do these two men, imagine they are communicating to America’s high school and university students? What image of America do they imagine they are communicating to young people throughout the world.

Have they no ethical standards? Have they no sense of responsibility? Have they no shame? These two stories, and our government’s official response to them, nauseate me.


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