- "To President Bush, America's soldiers are nothing
more than props for his never-ending campaign."
- In what could be generously interpreted as a tribute
to the late, great Bob Hope, President Bush visited the troops in Baghdad
on Thanksgiving Day. The president was not accompanied by Playboy bunnies,
nor did he make Bing Crosby jokes, but the trip did lend itself to photo
opportunities, as did Mr. Hope's appearances abroad. For President Bush,
who is most happy in campaign mode, it always comes down to photo
- On May 1, the president donned a flyboy costume and
aboard an aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner,
producing video footage the Republican Party hoped to use in the 2004
campaign. Unhappily, the exposure of the administration's ill-conceived
invasion plan and the mounting death toll of American soldiers meant that
the carrier footage ended up in a John Kerry campaign ad long before it
could be used by the president. The president's cameo appearance in
with the president costumed this time in an Army jacket, may generate more
successful campaign footage, or at least White House political director
Karl Rove hopes it will.
- To President Bush, America's soldiers are nothing more
than props for his never-ending campaign. They were props on May 1 and
they were props on Thanksgiving Day. An appearance at the funeral of one
of the soldiers who has died in a war that has increased the terrorist
threat against America, not diminished it, would be far more meaningful.
So would an appearance to greet the coffins coming back from Iraq, ending
an unprecedented policy forbidding the media from filming the arrival of
America's war dead. Of course, footage like that would not make for jolly
White House political propaganda.
- It is worth remembering that while the president enjoys
being photographed with soldiers he passed on an opportunity to become
a soldier himself, ducking out to the National Guard -- and then going
AWOL from the guard. If he is now truly concerned about the welfare of
America's soldiers he will devote his time to persuading foreign nations
to join the cause in Iraq while Iraqis labors to set up their own
That would be of more help than a brief campaign appearance.
- The May 1 campaign appearance produced the Flight-jacket
George doll, and perhaps the Thanksgiving photo op will give us
George delivering a plate of turkey. The turkey can symbolize his Iraq