This has to be the worst part of an otherwise good job with a great salary and decent perks:
The grieving room was arranged like a doctor’s office. The families and loved ones of 33 soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan were summoned to a large waiting area at Fort Bragg, N.C. For three hours, they were rotated through five private rooms, where they met with President George W. Bush, accompanied by two Secret Service men and a photographer. Because the walls were thin, the families awaiting their turn could hear the crying inside.
President Bush was wearing “a huge smile,” but his eyes were red and he looked drained by the time he got to the last widow, Crystal Owen, a third-grade schoolteacher who had lost her husband in Iraq. “Tell me about Mike,” he said immediately. “I don’t want my husband’s death to be in vain,” she told him. The president apologized repeatedly for her husband’s death. When Owen began to cry, Bush grabbed her hands. “Don’t worry, don’t worry,” he said, though his choking voice suggested that he had worries of his own. The president and the widow hugged. “It felt like he could have been my dad,” Owen recalled to NEWSWEEK. “It was like we were old friends. It almost makes me sad. In a way, I wish he weren’t the president, just so I could talk to him all the time.”
Bush likes to play the resolute War Leader, and he has never been known for admitting mistakes or regret. But that does not mean that he is free of doubt. For the past three years, Bush has been living in two worlds—unwavering and confident in public, but sometimes stricken in private. Bush’s meetings with widows like Crystal Owen offer a rare look inside that inner, private world.
Last week, at his ranch in Texas, he took his usual line on Iraq, telling reporters that the United States would not pull out its troops until Iraq was able to defend itself. While he said he “sympathized” with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, he refused to visit her peace vigil, set up in a tent in a drainage ditch outside the ranch, and sent two of his aides to talk to her instead.
Privately, Bush has met with about 900 family members of some 270 soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The conversations are closed to the press, and Bush does not like to talk about what goes on in these grieving sessions, though there have been hints. An hour after he met with the families at Fort Bragg in June, he gave a hard-line speech on national TV. When he mentioned the sacrifice of military families, his lips visibly quivered.
Read the whole thing.
Jesus Christ, absolutely gut wrenching. thoughts and prayers for everyone affected by Iraq.
The part about the walls being thin and the families being able to hear each other grieving? Holy shit that hit me hard.
I’m glad Crystal Owen and others are able to find some comfort in meeting the President.
And yeah, this no doubt nullifies the pay and perks.
Losing a child must surely be the most gut-wrenching pain a parent can ever endure. If something happened to my daughter, I’m not sure I would even want to carry on living. She is the centre of my entire universe. Bush obviously takes the loss of a soldier pretty hard as well.
Wow, thats some amazing PR, ain’t it?
From Rove’s ass to your ears, and those with the taint of the Kool Aid soak it up like its nourishment.
Yeah, we’re all heartbroken. Heartbroken at the relentless and shameful manipulation by a White House that will stop at nothing, that will stoop to anything.
How long ago was it that we had a dust-up in the media about the fact that the administration didn’t want the public to see photos of flag-draped caskets coming back from Iraq? The subject was too sensitive, the feelings of families “too private” for public viewing. Why, they asked, would the press and the president’s opponents want to “exploit” these photos?
Now, as the public’s support for the war tumbles, and as reporters gather to interview a small crowd of anti-war demonstrators outside the Crawford ranch, we have this maudlin and self-serving story which precisely and deliberately exploits the grief that goes with death in war, and paints the president as a weepy and caring soul.
The manipulation is palpable, and I reject it out of hand. There aren’t enough f-words for me to describe what I think about the sudden access that gave Newsweek this story, and the shameless and unrelenting handling of the press that goes with this presidency.
The Bring It On president sounded tough and resolute when his PR agents thought that was working. Now that he Brought It On and the public is leaving him, they want him to appear connected and empathetic. “So sorry.”
Yeah, we’re all sorry now, Mr. President. Sorry that we are stuck with you.
To the title of the thread: Tough job? Then quit.
Clearly, the President does meet with families of the fallen and there’s no doubt these meetings are probably tough on him. I think they’d be tough for any president. So, lets drop the conspiracy crap for a day. Cindy Sheehan, while a grieving and angry mother is not the end-all be-all to meetings with the President, there are plenty of other people whom the President has met. Not all these meetings were bad, some of them–dare I say it–were probably fairly solemn and real experiences, tough for the President, tough for the families.
The crass manipulation is even tougher on citizens.
The same pinheads who said that showing pictures of caskets was supporting the enemy are now weeping large salty tears over this “story”. Excuse me for wanting to throw up.
KC, I ask that you examine the timing of this obvious (to myself and ppGaz at the least) propaganda and ask yourself where all this heartfelt sympathy lay at the beginning of the war or even throughout 2004? There was a screaming absence of sympathetic elected Republicans, and it can be argued that that absence exists still.
Cindy Sheehan isn’t a flag carrier, she’s just a symbol at a time when Liberal/Democratic apathy seemed its highest. Her currently plight only highlights what the left has been saying for years, none of its new. I don’t care if Cindy is a diehard republican or if she’s apolitical, her feelings have been shared by true compassionates for a long time.
Yet another Jeff
Bush has met with 900 families and 270 soldiers since the war. I’d say this heartfelt sympathy has been going on a long time. This is one of the first times though the media has covered it. But just because the media hadn’t covered it before, don’t assume it hasn’t been happening
And has it occured to you that the reason the media is covering this is because the Cindy Sheehan situation has brought up the question of how Bush treats grieving families, and therefore the media would look into that more than usual?
You, I could swear I remember liberals and Democrats bitching about the fact that the President hadn’t attended any military funerals and that he seemed indifferent to the fact that people were losing sons/daughters/husbands/wives in Iraq.
Now that those accusations have proven to be TOTAL BULLSHIT, you clowns complain when it’s show he IS meeting with these parents and family members and that he’s NOT indifferent to what is going on.
You’re all a bunch of major fucking phonies.
Prove it. Prove that he’s sympathetic. His inability to show sympathy and his constant rightious indignation shows that you’re the one projecting, not Democrats.
Prove he’s met with families, 900 is not 1800. What about the other half?
And can I remind you of Rummies signature machine?
Proof my ass. This is propaganda, and once again your Kool Aid and fecal matter stained lips show where your impartial loyalties lie.