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November 28, 2003

A Meal of Bitter Herbs

Imho, Bush going to Iraq was probably one of the best and bravest things any President has done in a generation, if not longer.

Here's how some others on the Left responded to it;


OK. You know you're all thinking it.

President Bush is a chickenshit.

I'm surprised they didn't ship that yellow-bellied coward to Iraq in a submarine.


Too bad some of those 600 soldiers couldn't come home with Bush. Given the chance, I bet most of them would've leapt at the chance. Instead, they get to stay behind and take incoming on behalf of the president's reelection bid.


Count me as one who thinks that Bush's little trip is, on balance, a "good thing." I mean, it's better than him not doing it. But, what's with the press acting like, as Hesiod says, Bush grabbed a machine gun and personally stormed a building filled with armed insurgents?

He didn't meet with any locals. He didn't meet with the governing council. He flew into a heavily fortified military base and then flew out again.

FoH Skippy

we can't help but wonder if awol's trip wasn't a spur of the moment thing to blow hillary's pr out of the water.

but then, we're cynics by nature.

Indymedia One

I hear things...I hear the rat from Crawford snuck off to stage a psy - op some-fuckin'-where even more dusty, ratshit and misbegotten than buttfuck Texas.

Indymedia Two Like a Cowardly THIEF in the Night!

Oliver Willis

I honestly think it was a pretty good thing, unusually, on his behalf. Yeah, you could view the "surprise" element as political, but the danger involved in transporting any president into a warzone such as Iraq far outweighs that.

Wonder if he found any WMDs there? Just asking.

MEANWHILE: Senator Clinton visited the real front in the war on terror


Four mortar shells hit a U.S. military compound Friday in the northern city of Mosul, killing a soldier from the 101st Airborne Division, the military said.

Apparently someone didn't get a transcript of George Bush's nipple- hardening speech.

Matthew Yglesias

Scanning around the web, it seems to me that too many of my liberal colleagues are willing to give the president credit for today's little stunt supporting the troops. Consider, however, whether you think that the leaders of the Democratic Party would have been wildly opposed to taking a little Thanksgiving-time trip of their own to pose with the troops for photo ops. Seems to me that they would love to have done that. But they weren't invited. And not only were they not invited, but the planning for the trip was kept secret so that they couldn't protest at not being invited. Result: Many photos of GOP supporting troops, zero photos of Democrats supporting troops. Very good outcome for the president.

Meanwhile, what the troops need is not a visit from the commander-in-chief, but a commander-in-chief who knows what he's doing. Similarly, the president doesn't need to spend a couple of hours with the soldiers, he needs to figure out what the hell is going on in Iraq and what he's going to do about it.

Steve Gilliard (scroll down)

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.

Juan Cole

Instead, the President had to sneak in and out of Iraq for a quick and dirty photo op, clearly in fear of his life if the news of his visit had leaked. He did not even get time to eat a meal with the troops. He was there for two hours. He did not dare meet with ordinary Iraqis, with the people he had conquered

Emerging themes, gathered from the above as well as a number of other sites/discussions.

1. It wasn't as brave as when Clinton went to Kosovo.
2. It was a response to Hillary's trip to Iraq
3. President Bush was a coward for landing at night.
4. President Bush was a coward for staying only two hours.
5. Johnson went to Vietnam, look what it did for him.

More as I notice them.

Update: Andrew Sullivan has a couple of reactions (direct links do not work, for some reason--scroll down), as do A Small Victory and Little Green Footballs. Finally, there's a media roundup here, (courtesy USS Clueless), and a whole 'nother lefty link list at Ballooon Juice.

Posted by Bigwig at November 28, 2003 12:53 PM | TrackBack
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One of your quotes says Bush didn't meet with any Iraqi governing council. If that's so, then WAPO p.47 today was a pack of lies, and the photo there was just photoshop.

Posted by: Jim at November 28, 2003 09:41 PM
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