Obama At Dover Air Force Base: Tribute or Photo-Op?

Liz Cheney discussed the question with John Gibson, Thursday on his radio show:

Video via Gateway Pundit

It’s too awful to think that the President would be so base and cynical as to use the death of  these brave and worthy men to prop himself up.  One is inclined to hope that he only had the best of intentions.

But one wonders.

Via The Mudville Gazette I noticed that The New York Times had originally reported in their article, Obama Visits Air Base to Honor Returning Dead:

The images and the sentiment of the president’s five-hour trip to Delaware were intended by the White House to convey to the nation that Mr. Obama was not making his Afghanistan decision lightly or in haste.

That line was changed to this:

The image of the commander in chief standing on a darkened tarmac, offering a salute to one of the soldiers, highlighted the poignancy of a decision he is facing.

Greyhawk noted that the President’s approval ratings on Afghanistan have been in free fall:

How to turn the situation around? Some say more troops, some say change strategy, others say withdraw – but someone in the White House got the bright idea that now would be a good time for a photo op.


“This week alone, about two dozen soldiers have died in attacks and accidents.” But while the remains of 15 soldiers and three federal agents arrived at Dover while the president was there, only one family elected to participate:

The other families chose not to, officials said, under a new Pentagon policy that lifted an 18-year ban on media covering the return of U.S. service members killed in action if families provide permission.


…someone ensured no angle on this story was left unexplored in the global coverage of this event.

From Ireland:

President Barack Obama has attended the removal of fallen Irish American hero Dale Griffin.

As originally reported by IrishCentral.com, Obama’s decision to attend the removal of American soldiers at Dover Air Base draws a clear line in the sand between this administration and the Bush administration.

President Bush refused to allow filming of soldier’s coffins returning and was never present when the bodies were flown back.

Last night President Obama broke with that policy in a poignant fashion as he attended the removal of 18 soldiers at Dover.

And so on and so forth along those lines from England, Australia, as well – the point being, Bush banned photographers, and stayed home, while the valiant Obama has poignantly flown to Dover to meet the fallen soldiers upon their return to our shores.

Needless to say, the nutroots have picked up this theme, and run with it, as Uncle Jimbo has noted at Blackfive:

FireDogLake Buttheads clueless about Bush and our war dead

I never cease to be amazed by the sorry haters on the left and their inability to understand the military, respect, dignity and the difference between a gesture and a heartfelt gesture. They are busy hating on George W because he failed to go to Dover and get photo-opped like our current Commander in Chief. Now first of all I will give Obama credit for gong to Dover, but as soon as it became a photo op it was cheapened as Matt noted. Anyone smell the stench of Axelrod and Emanuel? Well the brain-addled, land apes at FireDogLake are calling out the former CinC for not being so blatant. Admire their bile.

This is what a president does.

US President Barack Obama has paid his respects to 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan, the first time he has honoured the fallen in this way.

NPR notes that,

The dramatic image of a president on the tarmac was a portrait not witnessed in years.


Let me help you with that you pathetic, whiny little bitch. Turning a solemn occasion into a photo op that becomes about you is not respectful, it is sorry. President Bush knew that and chose to show his respect in private to the people who really matter, the Gold Star families.

The charge that President Bush didn’t care about fallen troops,  just because he didn’t have himself  photographed during the deeply private and solemn moments with their families is disgusting and obscene.

Last December, after the completion of Bush’s two terms, The Washington Times finally published an exclusive story about the former President’s dedication to the troops, something he never felt the need to publicize:

For much of the past seven years, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have waged a clandestine operation inside the White House. It has involved thousands of military personnel, private presidential letters and meetings that were kept off their public calendars or sometimes left the news media in the dark.

Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country.


But the size and scope of Mr. Bush’s and Mr. Cheney’s private endeavors to meet with wounded soliders and families of the fallen far exceed anything that has been witnessed publicly, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the effort.

“People say, ‘Why would you do that?'” the president said in an Oval Office interview with The Washington Times on Friday. “And the answer is: This is my duty. The president is commander in chief, but the president is often comforter in chief, as well. It is my duty to be – to try to comfort as best as I humanly can a loved one who is in anguish.”

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching – balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin – that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

“I lean on the Almighty and Laura,” Mr. Bush said in the interview. “She has been very reassuring, very calming.”

Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.

Read the entire thing.

That was what a President does.


See Cassandra at Villainous Company for more on the Bush front. Have a box a tissues nearby.


32 thoughts on “Obama At Dover Air Force Base: Tribute or Photo-Op?

  1. Remember when he was supposed to visit the military hospital when he was doing his European campaign stop… er… I mean trip? He decided not to go when he found out the cameras couldn’t follow.

    And, quite frankly, if this wasn’t a photo op, he wouldn’t have dragged a bunch of press along with him to Dover. He would have quietly gone and returned, and there wouldn’t be a damn photo of *him* at all.

    My theory is that this trip was so “poignant” and “profound” that he’ll use it as his excuse to pull out of Afghanistan…


  2. Obama At Dover Air Force Base: Photo-Op or Tribute?

    I say both.

    I think he WENT there for it to be a photo op, but it takes a very evil sort of callous to not understand the wonder of how well the military treats their dead. I think he WENT there thinking it would just be a photo op, but I can’t believe he is that callous, I hope I am right, if he can be that callous, then this nation is well and truly effed.

    Him trying to affect a salute is offense though, and I think mudville hit it right “and salute to the camera.”

    My opinion? too late buddy.

    One of the most difficult duties I ever had while I was in the Marines, 10 years ago (before any wars) was being in honor guard, cuz I happened to be one of the people who had blues, and since I had more shiny stuff than most, I was sent more often (3 times) for burials.

    It was TORTURE! to go through the ritual, the form, and to not break down crying.

    There I was burying a man much better than I, and I had to be stone, solid, no emotion. Part of the explanation is that, it is for the family to see that he died without regret, and to see his brothers as solid as he was in the face of death, but to see how the family reacted to us, ESPECIALLY during the flag folding, and to hold POA, and not react, was AGONY!

    I did well and was called on a few more times after my first, but, I’d rather face war than face that again. I was pulled off because of my reactions, and the honor guards tend to be relatively short lived positions.

    I feel sorry for, and am proud of, the chaplains. They had to face that a whole hell of a lot more times than I did.

    Obama did it once, can he do it again?

    This time he only saw a convoy of coffins, can he watch the full ritual?

    It really is, it REALLY IS agony.


  3. just finished the last quotation.

    That’s what you do.

    To lend comfort to those who suffer, you become a “dummy” not an idiot, but a lifeless representation that others might use as they please.

    They can hurt you, if that is what they must, they can hug you if that is what they wish, and you can respond, or you can be nothing, less than human, a lasting and living target for hatred.

    Bush is a Good man, he accepted every option the families might require.

    You know how hard it is to be nothing for a reason?

    It’s pretty damn hard.


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  5. There was a man from our area (Ohio) who was missing in Iraq and I know that Bush was in contact with his parents the whole time he was missing. If he was in our area, he would try to meet with them in person. That’s why I still defend Bush to this day. I can’t see Obama doing that at all.

    Douglas – I can’t imagine how you did that job but I admire you for doing it. Thank you!


  6. I’m a twelve year veteran of the US Air Force and nothing makes me sicker to my stomach than to see this guy salute. If he wanted brownie points with the military, he should have stood with his hand over his heart.
    Although I never had to do what Douglas did I saw enough coffins and wounded come back from Vietnam to last a lifetime.
    I can only imagine what his waffling on Afganistan would do to the re-enlistment rate if our economy was better.


  7. “… the President would be so base and cynical as to use the death of these brave and worthy men to prop himself up.”

    Oh please! As there is nothing in the man to stand on its/his own, he will use anything, and anyone to prop himself up. He wants two things, and two things only, adulation and power. Everyone around him is just a mean to those ends, not ends in themselves not to be so used. He is repulsive and malignant!


  8. 11 out of 18 okayed the media coverage before they found out obama was coming. After they found out only 1 family allowed for the body transfer to be filmed by the media.so 1 family subjected all the other familys to media harassment. The media is respectful? No they were their for personal gain and no other reason. They were not their to honor or mourn the fallen soldiers. There was a media ban on the reciving of fallen soldiers from Dover for almost 2 decades. There is a difference between showing the cost of war and disrespectiong someone’s dead remains. To put it bluntly, What is coming is home are unprepared remains of men in ice crates with a flag draped over them and their is a silent solute for no other reason than to simply honor the soldier and not for the public to make a spectical out of it. it is suppose to be a humbling event. The media takes away from the whole purpose of the ceremony. Their is a difference between showing the cost of war and disrespectiong someone’s dead remains. To tape a funeral of a fallen soldier with the permission of the family members is one way to show the cost of war with out disrespecting the fallen soldier.


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  15. Wasn’t there one of the political wonks who made the observation that “At least Bush knows how to Salute?” some time ago?

    I wanna say it was Barnes, Also think Barnes also said “something about republicans, even if they didn’t serve, they know how to salute.”



  16. Cindy,

    It was an honor, thus the name, it’s just a very hard job to perform, especially if you are a fool like me.

    A true believer.


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  19. Obama shows his sorry face again..only this photo-op with soldiers WHO TRULY GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR OUR COUNTRY….I forgot it is Halloween when people pretend to be what they are not!


  20. I’m not special, trust me, I am not, because of my service. I was a borderline horrible Marine, but I WAS a believer, in fact still am, but I wasn’t right for the Corps, and The Corps made a point of educating me on that fact :).

    But for about 5 years, I stood there, 17 times I was “mobilized” which adds up to “standing there.” 3 times I went on float, which consists of floating there. I stood for 5 years, and while I don’t think there is anything special about it, I know that 298.5 million people have not had the balls to just stand there.

    If you weren’t in, or a family member of someone who was, it’s impossible to understand.

    For a time (a long time actually) after I got out, I lived with my mother.

    Before cindy Sheehan, there was a woman from chicago who’s son died in afghanistan, and it was replayed over and over again in the local news she said, DIRECT to the camera “George bush (sniff, no tears, but she whiped her eyes anyways) KILLED (again sniff, without tears) MY SON!!!”

    I turned to my mother, who HATED the fact I joined, she still hates that I joined, but she knows better than to judge my motivations, and said “would you ever do that If I had died in combat?”

    “FUCK NO! You would come back from the dead and kick my ass!”

    I have a good mom.


  21. to pick up the point.

    See, most people don’t understand the military, especially those like me who are true believers (I failed in follow through, but I was DEFINITELY a true believer)

    See, People who have professional positions, and have degree’s THINK they understand what it is to serve. That’s just stupid.

    See, many people go to college/university and then go onto something else.

    College/university is a deconstructed salad that they assemble as they please, and they CONTINUE throughout their lives to assemble their college/university experiences as it suits them.

    When you are IN, especially if you are a true believer like I was/am.

    You ARE!

    I wasn’t taught how to fix stuff, which I was, so that I can do as I please, that is how a collegiate would think, but I’m not a collegiate, I was Marine, I WAS!

    It’s not a collection of experiences, all service, all true believers, but more so for the Marines, (no offence it’s just the truth) You don’t take, you give, and even more than that, you ARE!

    Your existence is about something so much better and greater than you, I’m a pretty bright guy, and very arrogant in many ways, but when I was in?

    When I was in, only the religious faithful compare to the wonder I was a part of while I was in. Some tall skinny guy with a pretty suit was defending a nation, defending a concept.

    random thing, I joined, weighing about 138lb’s, I came out of boot weighing about 182 lbs. I was beautiful. I left weighing about 210, still beautiful.

    back to being in.

    I accomplished a great many things in just 5 years because I believed. I have 2 regrets in my life, one of them is personal, but the GREATEST regret of my life, is not going to war.

    Not because I wanted to be a badass, Or because I want to kill people, but rather, because I remember that day, I can’t remember when it was, that I fired a shot downrange for rifle quall, and I realized, “I might have to shoot an actual person.”

    That’s a very hard realization, When you not only notice but accept that you will surrender your own humanity for the benefit of others, by KILLING another person? It’s startling.

    I know how hard it was for me to know that I would kill another man, and it hurt, and I WOULD kill him to protect my nation, and it HURTS for me to know that.

    THAT is part of why leaving hurt so much. because someone else must do the thing that I knew was so painful. No human, no REAL human can take a life and feel nothing of it. While I never actually did it, I know that I could, and would. But I walked away, and I left the effort to others. I should not have done that, it served neither me nor them.


  22. Do those of you who criticize President Obama need to be reminded who initiated this war needlessly? Do you realize that President Obama is faced with having to clean up Bush’s mess? Do you even understand what really happened and the real truth behind this war?

    Without the photo op, how would you have known if it was a tribute or not? Do you even know why President Obama was there in the first place? Halloween or not? Some of you really don’t know what is truly going on, especially since you are evidently sitting in the comforts of your home, while we are being mortared day in and day out. Please just don’t comment about things you have absolutely no knowledge of…it is what it is.


  23. @Valerie –

    Apologies, I was under the impression the liberation of Afghanistan was initiated because of a few “winged bombs” being misdirected into American property “mistakenly” killing thousands.

    Beating you to the punch, yes, we all know who got behind, trained and armed the Taliban (including OBL), we did, but when an underling goes of the reservation, aren’t you supposed to squash ’em?

    Enlighten us.


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