But the White House is trying to gloss over the troop death marker. President Bush held no public events on the issue today, although he briefly thanked the “courageous people willing to serve” while at the State Department today. Moreover, in an interview with ABC News today, Vice President Cheney expressed gross callousness about the 4,000 dead troops, implying to Martha Raddatz that the troops volunteered for duty.
Who, in Cheney’s eyes, is hurting even more than the troops and their families? George W. Bush:
The president carries the biggest burden, obviously. He’s the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm’s way for the rest of us.
The White House has frequently expressed a “misguided sense of bravado,” as Dan Froomkin put it, in comparing its efforts to that of American soldiers. Some lowlights of its detachment:
– “Believe me, no one suffers more than their President and I do when we watch this.” [Laura Bush, 4/25/07]
– “The President is in the war every day…on the frontlines.” [Tony Snow, 6/14/07]
To this day, Bush seems ignorant of the horrors of war. Earlier this month, he told troops in Afghanistan that “confronting danger” was, in his eyes, “romantic.” Bush has even said he would love to serve in Iraq, but unfortunately he’s “too old.”
Where does this detachment come from? Bush himself explained in February 2007:
I can only tell you what people on the ground, whose judgment — it’s hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to give you an assessment, firsthand assessment. I haven’t been there; you have, I haven’t.
Silent Patriot responds:
I can only speak for myself here, but I reckon that many of the brave young men and women who volunteered after 9/11 did so with the expectation that they would be hunting down those that actually attacked us that day; not that they would be put in an impossible situation (in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack on us) where they are expected to mediate a religious civil war that has raged for thousands of years.