Sunday, January 07, 2007

SOUND OFF: BUSH'S DEFENSE DECISION

President George W. Bush waited until the day after the November elections to announce the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, his secretary of defense. I asked readers if they considered it ethical for Bush to have said prior to the elections that he planned no change, when he now admits that he was in fact planning a change even then. Most of my readers took a cynical -- or is that realistic? -- perspective.

"Pray tell, when is `ethical' applied to a politician?" asks Kathleen Parker of Huntington Beach, Calif.

"I do not see any ethical question involved," writes Dunbar Jewell of Charlotte, N.C. "One is not required to govern for benefit of the media, and is required to use one's best judgment before elections."

"This kind of tactic is unethical," writes Wendy Hagmaier of Fullerton, Calif., "and I would not do business with someone who employs these kinds of schemes."

"When politics is considered, ethics is the last thing that either party considers -- getting elected is all that is important," writes Charlie Seng of Lancaster, S.C.

"A lie by any other name still stinks," writes Jane Scharankov of East Marion, N.Y.

Check out other opinions or post your own by clicking on "comments" below or at: http://jeffreyseglin.blogspot.com/2006/11/sound-off-influencing-elections.html.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of "The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business" (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of http://www.jeffreyseglin.com, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to rightthing@nytimes.com or to "The Right Thing," New York Times Syndicate, 609 Greenwich St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y. 10014-3610.

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