Scrapbook

Scrapbook Bush's Baghdad Surprise THE WEEKLY STANDARD closed early last week because of Thanksgiving, and thus we missed the chance to applaud the president's trip to visit the troops in Baghdad....

...The email excerpted below from a captain in Iraq who attended the dinner is eloquent on the meaning of the trip to the soldiers serving in Iraq...
...The most ludicrous manifestation of this was the Washington Post's attack of the vapors over the fact that the turkey held by the president in the photo to the left was "roasted and primped...
...I was absolutely stunned...
...There were 600 seats available and all the units in the division were tasked with filling a few tables...
...This, they intoned, "opened new credibility questions" for the White House...
...He then looked at Sanchez, who just smiled...
...Then, from behind the camouflage netting, the President of the United States came around...
...It was a great moment, and I will never forget it...
...It was just unreal...
...Yet this has now happened to Robert Bartley, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, who was chosen to receive the nation's highest civilian honor by President Bush last week...
...We salute a master of the trade...
...Soldiers were hollering, cheering, and a lot of them were crying...
...Ours is a better country because Bob Bartley decided to become a journalist and over the last three decades shaped the nation's most important editorial page...
...That was my first clue, because Bremer's been here before and his personal security detachment is not that big...
...Let's Help the New York Times (cont...
...Bremer then said that we should probably get someone more senior to read the speech...
...He then paused and said that the senior man present should be the one to give it...
...The citation records the indisputable: that as "a champion of free markets, individual liberty, and the values necessary for a free society," Bartley "has helped shape the times in which we live...
...3) Finally, and this may require an internal probe at the Post, we hear that members of the White House press corps have been known to write out in advance those impromptu-sounding questions they ask the president at his televised news conferencesójust so they will look more commanding and professional when they're on camera...
...He mentioned that the President had given him this Thanksgiving speech to give to the troops...
...Then Brigadier General Dempsey got up to speak, and he welcomed Ambassador Bremer and Lieutenant General Sanchez...
...1) White House sources tell us that the president's remarks to the troops may secretly have been drafted not by the president himself, but by a paid team of speechwriters...
...The mess hall actually erupted with hollering...
...We'll be publishing selections in upcoming issues...
...Not only for the obvious, but also because I was only two tables away from the podium...
...Only to get on a plane and spend another 17 hours flying back...
...I smiled and said "God bless you, sir...
...2) When the president appears on formal occasions like the State of the Union, it only looks like he's reciting his speech from memory...
...There are more ideas where those came from, but it's safe to say the Post is right: New credibility questions are popping up all over...
...There he stood, less than thirty feet away from me...
...They weren't kidding...
...There was not a dry eye at my table...
...Thinking This Over In America, as we know, any kid can grow up to be president, but who would have thought that a journalist could grow up to earn the Presidential Medal of Freedom...
...Then he stepped down and was just mobbed by the soldiers...
...I made my way through the line, got dinner, then wolfed it down as he was still working the room...
...This man was actually enjoying himself...
...He slowly worked his way all the way around the chow hall and shook every last hand extended...
...He worked his way over the course of about 90 minutes towards my side of the room...
...As he passed and posed for photos, he looked me in the eye and said, "How you doin', captain...
...When he stepped up to the cheering, I could clearly see tears running down his cheeks...
...The cheering went on and on and on...
...To which he responded "I'm proud of what you do, Captain...
...Keep them coming (scrapbook@weeklystandard.com...
...In fact, using something called a TelePrompTer that he can see but we can't, he's reading his lines...
...Here was this man, our President, came all the way around the world, spending 17 hours on an airplane and landing in the most dangerous airport in the world, where a plane was shot out of the sky not six days before...
...Bob Woodward may personally want to take charge of this project...
...It was the most surreal moment I've had in years...
...I chose not to go...
...Soldiers were grumbling about having to sit through another dog-and-pony show, so we had to pick soldiers to attend...
...You could tell he was really enjoying himself...
...Every soldier who wanted a photo with the President got one...
...Then moved on...
...Bremer thanked us all and pulled out a piece of paper as if to give a speech...
...Talking Turkey The president's Thanksgiving Day trip was such a triumph, it sent the media into a deep funk...
...to adorn the buffet line" and not actually eaten...
...So we thought we'd provide some more story ideas for the Post's vaunted investigative team...
...It wasn't just a photo opportunity...
...We were seated in the chow hall, fully decorated for Thanksgiving when aaaaallllll kinds of secret service guys showed up...
...We knew there was a dinner planned with Ambassador Bre-mer and [Lieutenant General] Sanchez...
...The building actually shook...
...I didn't really care about getting a picture with Sanchez or Bremer, but when the division's senior intelligence officer asks you to go, you go...
...But about 1500 the G2 [division intelligence officer] . . . came up to me and with a smile, asked me to come to dinner with him, to meet him in his office at 1600 and bring a camera...
...He delivered his speech, which we all loved, then he looked right at me and held his eyes on me...
...Thanks to all the readers who have been cc'ing The Scrapbook on their unpublished letters to the editor of the New York Times...
...Troops bounded to their feet with shocked smiles and just began cheering with all their hearts...
...Just to spend two hours with his troops...
...They devoted 886 words to the story...

Vol. 9 • December 2003 • No. 14


 
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