White House Scams Media Again Over Bush Surprise Trip to Baghdad
The White House just demonstrated its ongoing ownership over the mainstream media in this country when it got NBC and other networks to break in on their holiday coverage with the breathless “news” that Bush took a secret trip overnight to visit the troops in Baghdad for Thanksgiving. According to the stenographed media accounts, Bush made the secret trip without telling his wife or parents, and only dropped in to visit 600 troops at Baghdad International Airport before heading home quickly. In other words, another “stop and go” for media purposes.
NBC called such a visit on Thanksgiving “unprecedented” and “extraordinary.” The AP’s Terence Hunt said it was the first visit by an American president to Baghdad, which bears little relevance unless you consider that we would have no reason to visit Baghdad in the last twenty years except to say hi to Saddam. And Bush would have had no reason to visit Baghdad unless he hadn’t invaded and occupied the country. Extraordinary security was required according to the media, because it was perilous for Bush to visit a war zone six months after he declared major combat operations over in Iraq.
But while the media slavishly covers this for maximum White House benefit, they conveniently forget that Clinton visited another war zone on Thanksgiving only four years ago, and he was able to travel into a war zone only five months after the US-arranged coalition secured the liberation of Kosovo. My how quickly they forget. The big difference was that Clinton was warmly received by a large contingent of troops in Kosovo, but more importantly was also warmly received by the natives prior to the event, who thanked him for their liberation.
Bush was unable to visit with the locals today, for obvious security reasons, and instead had to settle for a staged event in front of 600 troops that gave (from the look of the NBC video) a relatively subdued response.
Unprecedented and extraordinary indeed.