Avoiding Reality

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:

“Because 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?” 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, “I’m not sure they have or haven’t. … 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?”

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.

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9 Responses to “Avoiding Reality”

  1. Jason Says:

    Has ANY president ever attended a funeral of a fallen soldier? Maybe once or twice, if that.

  2. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    I am not sure that Bush is consciously avoiding reality. It seems to me more of a case that he misunderestimates reality, and he has no strategery for that.

  3. Darryl Says:

    Jason,

    “Has ANY president ever attended a funeral of a fallen soldier?”

    Johnson—yes.
    Nixon—no.
    Ford—probably not.
    Carter—yes (those killed in the hostage rescue attempt).
    Reagan—yes (Beirut & USS Shark victims).
    GHW Bush—unclear (a NY Times article mentioned attendance in passing).
    Clinton—yes (USS Cole victims).
    GW Bush—no.

  4. Mark Centz Says:

    It;s telling that he deferred the withdrawl-for-ceasefire question to a general. That’s a clear policy issue, a political choice, one that generals should advise on but be made by the elected civilian authority. Passing the buck again. or rather the hot potato.

  5. Mark Centz Says:

    Sheesh. “Withdrawl” is Texan for “withdrawal”

  6. huxley Says:

    “‘How do you honor one person but not another?’ he said.”

    He really abandons the aww-shucks folky persona when it means doing something he doesn’t want to do. “Honor” one person, indeed …

  7. KJKeefe Says:

    I read a story about a mother of one of the dead, who had been invited to the White House to meet Bush. The parents of each of the fallen soldiers were kept in separate rooms, so they couldn’t talk to each other. Bush breezed into the room with his entourage and said “Ok, who we honorin’ today?”, showing that he didn’t even bother to try to remember the names of the dead or of the parents before he entered the rooms. (Can you imagine President Clinton doing such a thing? Of course not; but then, he didn’t have to remember the names of hundreds of dead soldiers, because few died on his watch).

    The most galling point though, is: Bush continually refers to his presence at the funeral of the soldiers he kills as an “honor” to the dead. THIS AWOL LYING COWARD ISN’T FIT TO TIE THE SHOES OF THESE BRAVE SOLDIERS, LET ALONE TO CONSIDER HIS PRESENCE AS AN “HONOR” TO THEM AT THEIR FUNERALS.
    I weep for our nation, and its fallen heroes.

  8. honey Says:

    GWB is a pathetic, cowardly, ignorant bitch. Too strung out on too much money and too much privilege to ever interact with reality.

    He’s as sociopathic as Steven Dale Green.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  9. jackie Says:

    if he didnt show up for his last turn as a ’soldier’..why should be assume he would attend a funeral of a soldier that he is responsible for being killed..?
    please….mark centz…like willie nelson said:he aint no texan, he isnt a cowboy, so everyone quit trashing texans and cowboys…(willie IS a texan like I am…forest gump(bush) is not and has never been a texan…in fact..we have a texan expression to explain him and his type…’all hat ….and no cattle’……….

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