The Echo Chamber
Friday, May 02, 2003
  10:28 AM

Of Course it Was a Photo-Op...



President George W. Bush walks the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln after landing there aboard an S-3B Viking, as the carrier steamed toward San Diego, California, May 1, 2003. From the deck of the carrier, Bush was to address the nation to say that all major combat in Iraq has ended. Bush will spend the night on the carrier, which is stopping off in San Diego before heading for its home port in Everett, Washington. The Lincoln has been at sea for nearly ten months. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)


...but it was the coolest photo-op of all time.

Professor Reynolds, with whom I almost always agree, criticised this as "Third World." Certainly one of the secrets of our success as a nation has been civilian rule of the military. We do not have military coups. The leaders of less developed countries find it necessary to wear military uniforms and give themselves a rank, but not our Presidents.

An aside...why is Gaddafi merely a Colonel? If you are going to appoint yourself a rank, why not The Great Grand Poobah General?

My answer to Reynold's criticism is first that the citizens of this country (at least the ones that are paying attention) are not confused about the status of President Bush. He is a civilian. That flight suit didn't have a rank. This is about a President embracing the military for a job well done. I think this is a much needed antidote to the open contempt that the former President showed the military.

Second, as one of Reynold's readers suggests, this communicates a powerful message to the third world. The Arab street may not listen to a word he says, but they'll see these images. As John Wayne said in "Big Jake", "This ostentatious display might save some poor miscreant's life - maybe our own."

Lastly, didn't it look like he was having the time of his life? This, of course, should be a small consideration for a President, but to see the President joyfully embracing the troops after being weighed down by the burden of war should lift the spirits of the entire nation. And I think that is worthwhile.


President George W. Bush addresses the nation in an sunset speech on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln May 1, 2003. 


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