The Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin highlights comments made recently by President Bush to a group of military bloggers. Blogger “N.Z. Bear” reported that Bush told the group he wishes he could be serving in Iraq — except that he’s too old:
Responding to one of the bloggers in Iraq he expressed envy that they could be there, and said he’d like to be there but “One, I’m too old to be out there, and two, they would notice me.”
Maybe Bush was just making idle chit-chat. But this would not be the first time the president has appeared unaware of the hardships his war has caused hundreds of thousands of American troops — while expressing a misguided sense of bravado.
He certainly hasn’t ever put himself in harm’s way. The president who avoided serving in Vietnam as a young man has made only three visits to Iraq since declaring that major combat operations were over more than four years ago. All three of the visits were unannounced and featured extensive security. Bush’s total time in country? Less than 15 hours.
The Bush team has frequently expressed a “misguided sense of bravado” in comparing their efforts with those of soldiers on the ground. Tony Snow once claimed Bush is “on the frontlines” of the Iraq war “every day.” Similarly, First Lady Laura Bush claimed “no one suffers more than the President and I do.”
President Bush once suggested that Americans here at home are making a similar sacrifice to those of soldiers on the ground. How? “They sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible image of violence on TV every night.”