George Bush showed something resembling empathy at his attendence at Ft. Hood memorial services and the far Right swoons, Missing George W. Bush
A couple of days ago I heard the news that George and Laura Bush paid a private visit to the wounded soldiers at Fort Hood. They specifically requested that the base commander not inform the media of their visit. They came. They comforted the wounded soldiers and the Fort Hood community for a couple of hours. And then they left. And they never had their pictures taken saluting the troops or holding their hands.
[ ]…It hurts to hear about an American President who cares deeply and sincerely about wounded soldiers and soldiers murdered in a terrorist attack and know that he is not the American President.
[ ]…But at least you always knew that Bush loved America and that he loved Americans. You knew that he valued America’s allies even if he didn’t always do right by them. You knew that his values were American values. – (Some more conservative tripe in the same price range here – Thank you former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush)
Just as Bush and Cheney suffered from cognitive dissonance about their behavior and policies, their genuflecting devotees continue to suffer from the same allergy to reality. Bush was the only modern era few presidents that did not attend the memorial services of any fallen soldier or Marine. Its understandable that neither Bush or Cheney could feel any empathy for those that actually saw combat since both of them went out of their way to avoid active military service in another war they supported, Vietnam. Maybe the Right loved and misses the trashy story Bush told about giving up golf in remembrance of those that died in Iraq( another lame lie). Or maybe Bush’s conservative apologists miss the way Bush and Cheney treated the military – as always with conservatives pay attention to what they do not what they say,
Soldiers in the field, say veterans who have been there, have a lot more on their mind than whether or not the President has been photographed with a flag-draped coffin. But for those vets’ rights activists who have not only noticed but begun to demand answers from the Bush Administration, the President lost the benefit of their doubt by his actions over the past six months. “I was really shocked that the president wouldn’t attend a funeral for a soldier he sent to die,” said Pollack, who is board president of Veterans for Common Sense. “But at the same time I’m not surprised in the least. This Administration has consistently shown a great deal of hypocrisy between their talk about supporting the troops and what they’ve actually done,” he added.
“From the cuts in the VA budget, reductions in various pays for soldiers deployed . . . to the most recent things like those we’ve seen at Fort Stewart, where soldiers who are wounded are not being treated well, the Administration has shown a blatant disregard for the needs of the soldiers.” Pollack was referring to 600 wounded, ill and injured soldiers at a base in Georgia who were recently reported to be suffering from terrible living conditions, poor medical treatment and bureaucratic indifference. During a recent stop at Fort Stewart, President Bush visited returning soldiers but bypassed the wounded next door.
“Bush’s inaction is a national disgrace,” said one Gulf War I vet, speaking off the record. “I’m distressed at the lack of coverage — amounting to government censorship — of the funerals of returning U.S. service members.
“Bush loves to go to military bases near fundraisers,” he continued. “The taxpayers pay for his trip, then he rakes in the cash. Soldiers are ordered to behave and be quiet at Bush events. What a way to get a friendly crowd! The bottom line is that if Bush attended a funeral now, it would highlight a few things: 1) There’s a war going on, stupid; 2) There are bodies flying home in coffins censored by the Pentagon; and 3) Bush is insensitive to families and veterans.”
It was not just Bush and Cheney, but the Republican leadership which controlled Congress that treated the military like old dogs with mange. The Missing Bush writer does not miss the reality, but the fantasy fetishist version of the Bush White House. Bush and the conservative movement sent off American troops to die, be wounded and maimed for a lie about WMD and fairy tale connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda. Its impossible to love one’s country and send your countrymen to die for one’s delusions. Bush and the neocons were the abusive parents of love of country. They beat it till it literally bleed and still cannot understand why they’ll held in such contempt.
President Obama simply stuck out his hand and asked for my name as he stepped toward me amid a bone-chilling drizzle in the Gardens of Stone.
This was Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery. I wasn’t there as a reporter, but to visit some friends and family buried there when Obama made an unscheduled stop – a rare presidential walk among what Lincoln called America’s “honored dead” – after laying a Veterans Day wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
What I got was an unexpected look into the eyes of a man who intertwined his roles as commander in chief and consoler in chief on a solemn day filled with remembrance and respect for sacrifices made – and sacrifices yet to be made.
I’m sure the cynics will assume this wasjust anotherObama photoop.
If they’d been standing in my boots looking him in the eye, they would have surely choked on their bile.
His presence in Section 60 convinced me that he now carries the heavy burden of command.
I had stopped at Arlington to see the resting place of Ken Taylor, Ed Lenard and Dave Sharrett. Ken and Ed survived their service, in World War II and Korea, and died as old men. Dave did not leave Iraq alive. He was 27.
Obama arrived just before noon at the serene Section 60, where many of the dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried together – and where many more heroes will undoubtedly be laid to rest before this President leaves office.
It’s a section typically bustling with those visiting loved ones. Every time I go there, more and more graves have been dug into the earth.
The President and First Lady Michelle Obama emerged from their armored limousine hatless in the frigid downpour and took a slow stroll into the soggy rows of white marble headstones.
They stopped first at the grave of Medal of Honor recipient Ross McGinnis, an Army private who threw himself on a grenade in Iraq three years ago to save four buddies.