The Bush Photo-Op: The Rest Of The Story

Ken AshfordBush & Co., IraqLeave a Comment

A soldier appearing in the Bush photo-op conference (discussed here) gives the soldiers’ side of the story on his blog:

Yesterday, I was chosen to be among a small group of soldiers assigned to the 42ID’s Task Force Liberty that would speak to President Bush, our Commander-in-Chief. The interview went well, but I would like to respond to what most of the mass-media has dubbed as, "A Staged Event."

First of all, we were told that we would be speaking with the President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, so I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us NOT to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President.

We were given an idea as to what topics he may discuss with us, but it’s the President of the United States; He will choose which way his conversation with us may go. . . We had an idea as to who we thought should answer what types of questions, unless President Bush called on one of us specifically.

Well, that’s all well-and-good, but it sounds like he is justifying the staged photo-op, rather than denying it.  And it overlooks one fact: the White House had told reporters it would be freewheeling with no screening.  Clearly, it was not, and this soldiers’ account confirms it.  If officials selected who got to talk and Bush got to choose his questions and the people who got to talk him had advance warning it’s hard to say that its unscreened and unscripted.

But my favorite line from the soldier’s blog post is this:

We practiced passing the microphone around to one another, so we wouldn’t choke someone on live TV.

I don’t know what they’re training our soldiers to do these days, but if there is a significant risk of them choking each other with a microphone while passing it back and forth, maybe we shouldn’t be giving guns to these guys.