I have no problem with Bush going. It is good for morale. It is traditional for Presidents to visit the troops on Thanksgiving in time of war. His dad did it during the First Gulf War. What I despise is the obvious use of it as a means of Public Relations. The purpose of this event was to change public opinion if favor of George Bush. This really was not about the troops. If this was about the troops, then I think Bush would have made an effort to see a whole lot more than just one small group at the airport.
What adds insult to injury to this is Bush's weekly radio address. Bush tells us of the efforts of citizens to support the troops:
The courage of our soldiers and their families show the spirit of this country in great adversity. And many citizens are showing their appreciation by helping military families here at home.Why do civilians need to help the troops in the field? Why isn't the military taking care of their own soldiers and the immediate families of those soldiers?
Members of the VFW have started an Adopt-A-Unit program, so veterans and their families can support military units in Iraq and Afghanistan. Volunteers from a group called Rebuilding Together have repaired homes for military families while their spouses are deployed.
Citizens interested in finding volunteer opportunities to support our military should visit the USA Freedom Corps website at usafreedomcorps.gov.
I also want to point out this statement from Bush:
I'm pleased to report back from the front lines that our troops are strong, morale is high and our military is confident we will prevail.Yes, I think Bush can state the troops are strong. What I don't think he can say from first hand experience that morale is high. Bush spent time with troops at one location for a couple of hours. Secondly, no troops is going to say anything to Bush other than that their morale is high. The troops know better and the military brass knows to filter who meets Bush.
I am just disgusted by how this trip is being trumpeted by the media and by Conservatives as something important or substantial. Nothing has changed. The situation of our troops has not changed at all. Iraq is not any better off than it was before. It was a nice symbolic gesture of the President to take this significant risk to fly into Iraq for 2+ hours. It might be more valuable for Bush to spend his time making it safe for him to spend the night in Baghdad.
UPDATE: Roger Ailes (the good one) comments and they sting.