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Bush makes secret visit to Iraq

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I gotta give the commander-in-chief a for his trip to visit the troops on Thanksgiving. It's one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk.
post #2 of 21
I think it was awesome that Bush did that. It takes a true Commander-In-Chief to do something like that for the troops.
post #3 of 21
I think the trip points out that the situation in Iraq is a lot serious than what has been said and being said by politicians in USA, Britain and Australia. It quite obviously highlights that the rebuilding of Iraq is taking the backseat to counteracting the guerilla warfare that is occurring.

I do think the visit was well intentioned and one that was sorely needed to boost morale among troops especially since more troops have died after the war was declared over than during the initial conflict.
post #4 of 21
Been interesting if airforce one had come under attack by enemy forces though. They did douse their lights upon landing, bet that was exciting!
post #5 of 21
Call me a cynic, but I think this was directly related to the increasing discontent in the US about Iraq, and GWB's perceived lack of emotional involvement in the mounting casualties. On 9/11, he was flying around the US willy-nilly trying to figure out where to land, which makes sense in terms of keeping the government in place. So he then flies into a war zone in the middle of the night putting our government at any real risk? I don't think so. I'm sure this boosted the morale of the troops, but I believe that at its root, it was a stunt, just like his airplane landing on an aircraft carrier in the gulf. All of the helicopters shot down by the insurgents have occurred during the day, because they need to see their targets.

At the same time as he was making his utterly secret visit, Hillary Clinton (whom I don't particularly like) and one of the senators from Rhode Island went to Afghanistan to visit with our troops there, in a trip that people knew about in advance. Given that someone tries to kill Hamid Karzai, the current President of Afghanistan on a regular basis, and has come close a few times, I think their trip was probably a bit more dangerous than what Bush did.
post #6 of 21
I am Canadian, not a fan of Bush, was opposed to the war in Iraq, and I believe that a lot of US foreign policy is overwhelmingly driven by how well it plays at home. However, I think that this was an awesome thing to do, stunt or not. The troops must have really had their spirits lifted by that visit, and they deserve it.
post #7 of 21
It was a thumb in the eye of the terrorists: the guy that they hate most, right in their own back yard!
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucia
Call me a cynic, but I think this was directly related to the increasing discontent in the US about Iraq, and GWB's perceived lack of emotional involvement in the mounting casualties. On 9/11, he was flying around the US willy-nilly trying to figure out where to land, which makes sense in terms of keeping the government in place. So he then flies into a war zone in the middle of the night putting our government at any real risk? I don't think so. I'm sure this boosted the morale of the troops, but I believe that at its root, it was a stunt, just like his airplane landing on an aircraft carrier in the gulf. All of the helicopters shot down by the insurgents have occurred during the day, because they need to see their targets.

At the same time as he was making his utterly secret visit, Hillary Clinton (whom I don't particularly like) and one of the senators from Rhode Island went to Afghanistan to visit with our troops there, in a trip that people knew about in advance. Given that someone tries to kill Hamid Karzai, the current President of Afghanistan on a regular basis, and has come close a few times, I think their trip was probably a bit more dangerous than what Bush did.
I agree. With the current budget deficit, it would have made a lot more sense to visit the troops following his UK visit, but he was obviously looking for a photo-op. No points from me!
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
I respectfully disagree. It makes a very positive statement to our soldiers that Bush was willing to be in their midst on Thanksgiving Day rather than just as a stop-off after another trip.

Would you rather your s/o stopped and bought you flowers when he was in a flower shop anyway, or that he went out of his way to make the trip especially for you?
post #10 of 21
Is it possible that even one well-intentioned gesture by this man cannot be taken as such? I realize that he is a pretty disliked person here, but honestly I am a bit dismayed that him taking a risk like this (which, I'm sorry, does not compare to senators making the same journey - he is the PRESIDENT!) to spend time with the troops instead of being safe, warm and happy at home on Thanksgiving. Was it a political move? Maybe, I can't possibly know his true motives. But I also think it is POSSIBLE that he did this with honest intentions of showing his appreciation to the troops over in Iraq.
post #11 of 21
During the '91 Gulf War, the elder Bushes spent Thanksgiving with the troops in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and on ships in the Gulf. I don't recall such a hue and cry, then.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by valanhb
Is it possible that even one well-intentioned gesture by this man cannot be taken as such? I realize that he is a pretty disliked person here, but honestly I am a bit dismayed that him taking a risk like this (which, I'm sorry, does not compare to senators making the same journey - he is the PRESIDENT!) to spend time with the troops instead of being safe, warm and happy at home on Thanksgiving. Was it a political move? Maybe, I can't possibly know his true motives. But I also think it is POSSIBLE that he did this with honest intentions of showing his appreciation to the troops over in Iraq.
I couldn't agree with you more, Heidi.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by Deb25
Would you rather your s/o stopped and bought you flowers when he was in a flower shop anyway, or that he went out of his way to make the trip especially for you?
I'd much prefer the former, actually, because the latter is wasting fuel and further polluting the environment. I think the same about Air Force One. And why didn't Bush also visit the troops in Afghanistan, since he was in the general area? Didn't their morale need boosting? Or was it because Afghanistan gets very little media coverage nowadays?
post #14 of 21
Can i just say.... i really do think this was just a publicity stunt...if this guy is as compassionate as he likes us to believe.... then when is he actually going to DO something about the rebuilding of Iraq??
Aswell as the simple basics such as much needed medicine, food etc??
post #15 of 21
Wow. Thats all I have to say.

I can't believe there are people here who are bashing him for what he did. What he did was way above the call of duty. He could have easily stayed in Crawford Texas and enjoyed a meal w/ the family. But instead he flew 12 hours one way to greet and serve our troops, and spend time w/ them. Not to mention boost their morale.

A publicity stunt? I think not, presidents don't risk their life for a publicity stunt. And as far as Afghanistan goes, just because he didn't go there doesn't mean those troops were forgotten. Thats like saying why didn't he stop in Germany, or Saudi, or Italy? His mission was Iraq,and that is what he did.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally posted by dtolle
And as far as Afghanistan goes, just because he didn't go there doesn't mean those troops were forgotten. Thats like saying why didn't he stop in Germany, or Saudi, or Italy? His mission was Iraq,and that is what he did.
But American troops are not dying on a regular basis in Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Italy, as they still are in Afghanistan. The troops there are complaining about a lack of personnel and materiél, which would have been readily available if Bush hadn't decided to go on a wild goose chase for WMD in Iraq. He has, IMO, really let the troops in Afghanistan down, not to mention the people there, so he owed them a visit.
As far as presidents (not) risking their lives for publicity, think back forty years - Kennedy was advised not to ride in a convertible.
post #17 of 21
I believe as an American, Americans should support the President of the United States, especially when he does something as noble as giving up a holiday to fly overseas to be with our troops. I think everyone would agree here that it would be physically impossible for him to visit ALL the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc on a one day trip. That wouldn't be possible, even if he tried.

Why can't everyone just take it at face value? He made a tremendous effort to boost morale...and I think it was fantastic.


Just as a side note Jcat, technically speaking, the death toll in Afghanistan pales in comparison to what has been taking place in Iraq. And if Bush had to 'choose' which troops needed the boost, I think he was 100% correct in choosing the Iraq ones....there is no doubt there. Just look at the numbers. Its obvious.
post #18 of 21
If it wasn't a publicity stunt, why did he tell a whopper that's been disproved about some British Airlines pilot supposedly spotting Air Force One and thus allegedly putting the "ultra top secret mission" in jeopardy? Why did he fake a pose with a turkey as if he was going to serve it? Why was it Bush-mouthpiece Fox News "journalists" (I use that term loosely) who were told about this "ultra top secret mission" rather than CNN? (Yeah, if I wanted to keep a secret, I'd certainly make sure Fox News reporters were trusted with it!)

I mean, I'm sure it was a morale-booster for the troops, which is great. But that was certainly not the only reason Bush went in there. Make no mistake -- Bush needed to send an image that he cares about the soldiers he's put in harm's way to help his and his cronies' financial welfare.

If he's really interested in reaching out to our soldiers, I bet the grieving families of the soldiers who've died would have appreciated a Presidential appearance at any one of their loved ones' funerals. Alas, Bush doesn't want to be associated with the soldiers killed while fighting to keep Iraq safe for Halliburton, so he has yet to show up at a single funeral or memorial service (unlike Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton) and even forbids any coverage of flag-draped coffins being removed from airplanes (similar to Vietnam War coverups).

Oddly, he has found time for dozens of political fundraising events over the past couple of months.

Support the President of the United States? Only when we next have one who's worthy of the honor.
post #19 of 21
Um, he DID serve the troops, not just fake a pose with the turkey. As for who he told or brought with him, why should he bring CNN or MSNBC? Why would he bring "journalists" that always spin whatever he does into a negative light? Because that is what YOU think is the truth? I'm sure HIS version of the truth is closer to what Fox News reports.

As for the funerals, he obviously can't attend all of them. I would hope you all can agree that he has some other pressing duties, like running the country for instance, that would prevent him from attending all of them. So how do you choose which soldier is more important? He has visited with families of soldiers who were lost. But he does this privately, sets aside time during his visits to bases where the press is not allowed in. But I'm sure that is just a publicity stunt too, right? Because obviously the man is simply incapable of actually caring for the troops, for their morale, or for the grieving families - or, for that matter, for the wellbeing of the US as a whole.
post #20 of 21
Thank you Heidi. I agree 100%.
post #21 of 21
I'm not going to knock Bush for not attending the funerals of those killed in action, because I believe that would be sending the wrong message to the groups out to kill as many U.S. troops as possible. They obviously believe that if they kill enough soldiers, the U.S. will withdraw (I'm thinking about Lebanon and Somalia). If footage of him attending funeral services were to be broadcast around the world, they'd probably think that public opinion in the U.S. was forcing him to do so, and the number of suicide bombings, etc. would soar.
However, I don't find it "noble" of him to forego his holiday - isn't that what he asked of thousands of soldiers?
I very strongly disagree that Americans should "automatically" show respect for the U.S. president. No citizens anywhere should automatically respect their president, prime minister, chancellor or monarch. Respect must be earned, particularly in cases where direct, honest democratic elections have not taken place. Look at where I live - the world would have been far better off if most Germans in the 1930s hadn't felt that they had to respect Hitler as their elected chancellor. Saddam Hussein was supposedly the "elected president" of Iraq (with 99% approval ratings!). If you carry that thinking further, the U.S. would still be a collection of British, Spanish and French colonies. Probably the most important part of our American heritage is that we think any leaders should be held accountable for their actions.
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