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November 27, 2003
Chickenhawk? I Think Not

President George Bush flew into a hot zone in order to spend Thanksgiving in Iraq:

President Bush made a Thanksgiving Day visit to Baghdad, appearing before delighted soldiers taken completely by surprise. After appearing before some U.S. troops in Baghdad and the Iraqi Governing Council, Bush left Baghdad at about 8 p.m. Iraq time, or noon EST. Air Force One stayed on the ground for just two-and-a-half hours, the White House said.

I can't tell you how outstanding it is to see a commander-in-chief spending a family holiday with the troops that he has, wisely or foolishly, put into harm's way. Obviously, this visit could not be announced to either the troops or the press before it was made. Here's how the troops found out:

Iraq's U.S. civil administrator L. Paul Bremer told the soldiers he wanted the most senior person in the room to read the president's Thanksgiving proclamation and asked who was there to do it.

Then Bush emerged, misty-eyed and wearing a U.S. Army exercise jacket. As soon as the soldiers spotted him, the room erupted in cheers. He told them he had arrived for a warm meal.

"I can't think of a finer group of folks to have dinner with," he told the troops.

The folks at the Democratic Underground are not pleased:

We can never underestimate Bush and Co. This will play *very* well on TV - not just Faux - it's breaking on all the networks. They're playing it up that Bush risked a great deal by flying into a hot zone (they're rehasing the SAM attack on the DHL plane from the weekend). All sounds very Bruce Willis (puke) ballsy. We can wail and gnash our teeth about how pathetic this is, but Bush scored some major points here. It's quite different that the aircraft carrier fiasco (where there was NO danger at all) - there actually was some danger here. It's high time that dems realize exactly what we're up against and act accordingly.

Perhaps it's time for them to understand that politics is not everything with this president. Bush is leading in all polls against all candidates without even airing a single ad, despite the months-long tirade his opponents have launched against him. Bush did not need to make this trip, and in fact the trip may not have been advisable from a national-security perspective. The fact that he did it anyway speaks volumes about his character and his motivations. We hear a lot from Democrats about supporting the troops; if this is the tenor of the reaction we see from this event, it will speak volumes about the character of the opposition. (Thanks to Eye on the Left for the story and the quote.)

UPDATE: Give a cheer to Senator Hillary Clinton; she spent Thanksgiving with the troops in Afghanistan.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 27, 2003 2:47 PM

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