Our President abroad
The stunt of landing in Iraq at the dead of night to not eat with our troops says two things about Iraq, neither of them good. Yes, he only served food, he didn't eat any.
One, Iraq is still so scary dangerous that Air Force One (and the not mentioned strike package/fighter escort) had to land in blackout conditions. Oddly enough, the power was down across most of Baghdad as well, making for a fun final night of Eid, which is more or less the Muslim Christmas (although that's a cheap analogy). Bush was so afraid he might be attacked, his trip was granted the secrecy usually given the movement of commanders planning major operations. The flak teams were probably having lamb and relaxing and missing the kill which would have won the war for them. While they're probably kicking themselves, they have to chuckle at the fear Bush has of them.
Two, Bush still has no answers on how to deal with Iraq other than "we're gonna get them terrarist sums uh bitches". The one game plan which isn't working. So he sneaks in, pats a few soldiers on the back, happy to see anyone from home, and sneaks back out. Does he stop at Walter Reed? Invite some local Waco-area families who lost kids in Iraq over to the ranch for pecan pie? Nope. See, only the healthy soldiers were needed for this photo op. Any reminder of sacrifice was a bad thing. And it kind of hard to get the right visuals when you have soldiers struggling to eat with a hook where their hand used to be.
And like all Bush trips, there was the inevitable screwup
Soldiers said they were impressed to see the commander in chief in Baghdad days after a cargo plane was struck by a shoulder-fired missile.
"It was a display of confidence in our ability to protect not just us, but him," said Pfc. Telo Monahan, 20, of Woodinville.
But other soldiers grew angry that their departure from the airport was delayed for an hour, while they waited for Air Force One to leave. Finding the door barred, about 50 troops got into a shouting match with the soldier blocking their exit. The streets of Baghdad were too dangerous to delay their departure any longer, they shouted.
"Do you have any idea how many IEDs are on this road?" one soldier who didn't give his name shouted, referring to improvised explosive devices or roadside bombs. "I have to get back to my base. I don't want to lose a soldier because the president wants us to sit here."
Remember when Clinton was excoriated for tying up traffic while he got a haircut on Air Force One at LAX, a story later proven to be untrue? Well, in this case, soldiers could have died waiting for Air Force One to leave. But you won't hear anyone protesting that. Apparently, a drive from Baghdad to the airport isn't safe. Six months after our occupation began. And that one little fact cannot be negated by a drive by visit from the commander in chief.
posted by Steve @ 11:43:00 AM