Thursday, July 6, 2006 at 12:10 pm by Darryl
Jeff Schogol, a reporter for Stars and Stripes recently interviewed George Bush aboard Air Force One. One of the questions that was submitted by a reader was how many funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq Bush had attended.
None. Instead he offered this excuse:
â€œBecause which funeral do you go to? In my judgment, I think if I go to one I should go to all. How do you honor one person but not another?â€ he said.
Instead, Bush points out that he has personally met with the families of (a small fraction of the) soldiers killed in Iraq.
Still something is terribly wrong when the Commander-in-Chief is so disengaged from his actions in Iraq—so reluctant to expose himself to the ultimate brutality of warfare—that he cannot even attend one funeral.
This is the same avoidance behavior and callous attitude exhibited toward the troops through the beginning of last year by Donald Rumsfeld when he had a machine sign letters of condolance to families of fallen soldiers:
Although the charge was initially denied by the Pentagon, Mr Rumsfeld issued a statement on Thursday acknowledging the practice and promising to halt it.
“While I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members, I have directed that in the future I sign each letter,” Mr Rumsfeld said in the statement.
It is difficult to believe that Rumsfeld’s decision was anything more than a reaction to the media attention.
Back to the Stars and Stripes article:
In a question from Stripes, Bush was asked if a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be acceptable in return for a cease-fire by insurgents.
Bush called the question hypothetical and deferred comment to Gen. George Casey, commander of Multinational Force-Iraq.
Media outlets have reported that Sunni insurgents have offered such a trade-off. Bush said, however, â€œIâ€™m not sure they have or havenâ€™t. â€¦ I will tell you that whatever decisions I make will be made upon the recommendations of commanders and and with one thing in my mind: Can we win?â€
Let’s ignore those last three words. I am sure Bush really meant “How best to win,” rather than “Can we win,” because we are all aware of Bush’s previous repeated assertions that “we will win.”
The rest of this snippet further demonstrates a President out of touch with the day-to-day happenings in Iraq. The cease-fire question caught Bush unawares.
Bush missed that this question was not the same one raised domestically about a timetable for withdrawal. But without prior preparation for this significantly different question, Bush could only cue in on the words “timetable” and “withdrawal,” triggering his stock response to the wrong question (”defer to my commanders in the field”).
I wonder when George Bush will realize that this country does not need an aloof President—a President whose “best effort” seems to be doing stand-up comedy with an impersonator. What this country needs right now is a real Commander-in-Chief who can be fully engaged in extracting us from the quagmire he has created in Iraq.