In a carefully crafted and disgraceful form of devious propaganda, the Bush administration has tried to create the false appearance that everything is going wonderfully in Iraq. Now the administration has even gone as far as to use the troops, whose lives are on the line, as a propaganda tool having no other purpose than to rally Republicans around his troubled presidency.
The president spoke via a video link. His event planners cherry-picked 10 Army soldiers and one Iraqi soldier. The soldiers were told what topics the president would ask about, and officials watched them rehearse their presentations before going live. The soldiers did not disappoint the dishonest Bush propaganda team. Each one praised the President, the war, and the progress in training Iraqi troops. Several spoke in a monotone, as if determined to remember and stay on the script.
It quickly became obvious that this was staged since Bush can’t face the troops, the American people, or the truth. What is he scared of? That one of the troops might ask him a real question?
Of course he is.
They might ask him why the National Guard has spent two years fighting in a foreign country when they have no business doing anything except guarding the American homeland. They might ask him to present an actual plan to win in Iraq that doesn’t consist completely of “stay the course” sound-bites. They might ask him how he justifies years of massive stop-loss orders on wary troops, many of whom just want to go home and resume their lives. They might ask him how he justifies sending the reserves to Iraq, thereby depriving America of the police, firefighters, and medics we needed to respond to Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters.
After the utter disgrace of this taxpayer-funded charade the deceit and cover-up began without delay. Before he realized the rehearsed session was caught on TV, Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the soldiers were not told what they could or could not say. Another official, Allison Barber, later said the soldiers were told only about broad themes Bush wanted to discuss, not specific questions, however, before the session began, she was captured on video asking one of them, ”Who are we going to give that [question] to?”
Barber also explicitly cautioned that if something unscripted happened, to immediately give the microphone to one of the officers. Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita, issued a statement saying, “On behalf of these fine young men and women, we certainly regret any perception that they were told what to say. It is not the case.”
But subsequent footage of the event before it began proves that these officials are lying. Now military officers are upset that “military people would be coached as to how to talk to the President”, said a senior military official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “It’s against everything that people in uniform stand for.”
But George Bush wouldn’t know that. When it was his time to “support the troops” in Vietnam he decided his time was better spent working on a political campaign. He certainly doesn’t believe strongly enough in the mission in Iraq to encourage his own family members, both of which are of fighting age, to join the war effort. So it is only natural that Bush would not want to face the same troops, whom he is requiring to make a sacrifice, that neither he nor his family is willing to make. And he certainly does not want to face the truth — that would require coming to terms with the fact that his decision to start a war of aggression against the disarmed country of Iraq is going to have negative consequences on the future of America, which can only be corrected with a “regime change” at home.