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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Itís good that president finds bullying offensive

The rhetoric of the Bush administration is markedly softer today than it was a few years ago when the official policy was, "It's the U.S. way or the highway."

President Bush last week said he was "taken aback" at hearing some of the loose language from the early days of his administration. The comment that made the president flinch was a U.S. threat to bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age if it didn't cooperate in the fight against terrorism after 9/11.

The comment supposedly came from Richard Armitage, then deputy secretary of state and a somewhat rogue diplomat. The language of the day helped pave the way for much of the world pulling back from their close ties to the U.S.

The president talks less often about "the Axis of Evil" these days, and acerbic U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is more muted than in the days when he commented that there is no such thing as a United Nations, only an international community led by the only superpower, the United States.

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf holds a difficult position in helping fight terrorists. So does Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The president meets jointly with both leaders this week as partners to talk about mutual problems and issues.

It's good that the president finds the "Stone Age" comment offensive, because it is a sign of growth in an administration that took office believing that U.S. might made right.

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