Damned if he does

Damned if he does

I told you that the anti-Bush pundits would have their long knives out on Sunday, attacking bush for his Thanksgiving Day trip to Baghdad. Boston Herald columnist Beverly Beckham hits all the predictable points:

  • “Only then you think, it took trickery to get to Iraq – and deception. And the compliance not just of government officials, but of the press. Tell and it’s off, Bush said. Don’t tell and you get to go. And you get an exclusive. And you get to take pictures.”

  • “It’s a great stunt, isn’t it? And we love stunts and holidays and Kodak moments that make us feel good. So what if only a select group of press went? So what if this group kept mum. Who wouldn’t? Who would tell and ruin such a surprise? So what if George W. spent a day under the radar? The end justified the means”

  • “They are nice pictures, though, George W. smiling and holding a roasted turkey, addressing the troops, shedding some tears. They’re nicer pictures than close-ups of the young people, now in combat, who signed up for National Guard because it was a way to make a few extra bucks. Nicer pictures than some grainy home movies of kids, now adults in jeopardy, who joined ROTC to reduce their college tuition.”

I wrote a letter to the editors of the Herald. Here it is:

I told my family on Thanksgiving that President Bush would have until Sunday before the pundits began finding fault with his visit to the troops in Iraq. I was right.

Beverly Beckham’s Sunday column hit all the anti-Bush talking points. She accuses him of deception and lies and of subverting the press into his “lies.” Someone should tell Beverly that it’s called operational security. If the president’s plans were leaked to the public, every lunatic in the Middle East would be making his way to Baghdad airport, putting not just the president in danger, but also the troops, Iraqi civilians, and yes, even the reporters accompanying the president in danger.

As for Beckham’s worrying about “young people, now in combat, who signed up for National Guard because it was a way to make a few extra bucks” and “kids, now adults in jeopardy, who joined ROTC to reduce their college tuition,” the US armed forces are not a vocational training or tuition reimbursement program; they are the military forces of the nation who are to be prepared to go into combat at a moment’s notice. Anyone who didn’t know that signing up could entail being sent to war was kidding themselves. Of course, I give our servicemen and women more credit than Beckham does. Despite the hardships, I believe they know that they are doing what they have been trained to do. And I believe they are grateful to President Bush for his confidence in their ability to watch over him during his time in Baghdad and for putting his own life on the line to show them, on behalf of America, that he is grateful to them.

But then, for some people, no matter what Bush does, it’s the wrong thing. I guess that’s true for Beverly Beckham, too.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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