« Unacceptable Media?? | Main | Getting Out Of The Bunker »

Bush Meets With Many Mourning Families

Just in case you needed a break from the Cindy Sheehan media blitz.

Aug. 22, 2005 issue - 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.

Lets take a moment to appreciate the fact that our nation's leader has taken the time to meet with the family members of 270 of the 1,853 soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq. Which means that Bush has met with the families of 14.5% of all the soldiers who have died. Including Cindy Sheehan and her family. And not including the multitude of wounded soldiers he's met with.

Has any American leader ever done more? I don't know for sure, but if there has been Presidents who have done I can't imagine there are many of them.

And you know what makes these gestures by the President all the more appealing? The fact that he rarely politicizes them. A lot of politicians would make a really big deal out of missing with the families of fallen soldiers, yet with Bush we hardly ever hear about it.

Bush critics will wave this off as meaningless gestures, but are they really?

Do you think they're meaningless to the family members who sit down with the President to mourn?

By Rob Port of Say Anything.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bush Meets With Many Mourning Families:

» Everyday Thoughts Collected linked with Another Great Post at Wizbang

» SobekPundit linked with Sheehan's Selective Recall Problem

Comments (19)

Or, given the last line you... (Below threshold)

Or, given the last line you quoted, does anyone truly think they're meaningless to the President?

(The answer, of course, is yes, but still...)

Yes, as in, NO, they are no... (Below threshold)

Yes, as in, NO, they are not meaningless to these families, nor the nation. And along those lines, where's the media focus on all these families? Instead, the AP is reported to be churning out "three stories daily" about Cindy Sheehan, with nary a peep, an interview, a photo, a quote, from the many, many families who have lost loved ones, who have still living loved ones, in military service for our country.

If I ever wondered why the Left was concertedly "anti war," I need look no further than communist propoganda in theory and practice to understand the motive. Sadly, the mostly-Left media still finds Cindy Sheehan's mental and emotional illness more interesting than thousands of families who grieve and love, sincerely.

I dunno, but I do know that... (Below threshold)

I dunno, but I do know that I don't know President George Bush firsthand nor well enough to know what he does or does not find "meaningless," but I think I find the first-hand observations of others who do know him to be believable, and they say that he greatly regards (as in, finds to be meaningful) the service of America's military personnel.

That hit news magazines all... (Below threshold)

That hit news magazines all took off the flushed Koran story caught their attention. The fact that lied in an effort to hurt the Bush didn't matter but the drop in revenue certainly did. Enjoy it while it lasts.

"Has any American leader ev... (Below threshold)

"Has any American leader ever done more?"

Read Lincoln's biographies, where the mothers of stricken soldiers were shown to the Oval Office, to meet with the President and recieve his personal condolences.

To meet with this President, one must be first be on the President's itinerary, and also pass muster through the local GOP as so this President should not be embarressed.

"Has any American leader ever done more?"

Yes, most American leaders have done more, at least if it doesn't interfere with the mountain biking and the fund raising.

"Has any American leader ever done more?"

Yes, the Governor of my state has gone to the funeral of every Oregon National Gaurd soldier that has died in this conflict. Bush has been to none.

"Has any American leader ever done more?"

The question should be, "Has any American leader done less?"

The count will be shorter that way.

Well there's no secret in w... (Below threshold)

Well there's no secret in where littleboy is coming from.

Yes that's it -- the President should insinuate himself into the funerals of every deceased soldier, creating a media spectacle and imposing on the private grief of family members, instead of showing himself in a private and personal way to those who would welcome his presence.

What is it that makes peopl... (Below threshold)

What is it that makes people like Scriptfox and Littleboy so hateful? Is it years and years of schooling drummed into them - "Don't hate" - against which they are rebelling? Is the Ritalin dehumanizing them beyond any sense of decency and compassion?

As AD said in an earlier thread - they're trying to wear down Pres. Bush with a thousand cuts. He is a very strong man who can sit through hours of consoling grieving people. What an unkind cut to then accuse him of no sympathy.

I think its the conspiracy ... (Below threshold)

I think its the conspiracy theory nature of today's world as well as the need to blame someone else. Remember how the manchurian candidate's point of view changed. It used to be an anti-communist pro-US government movie. The new one is an anti-corporation pro-individual anti-conspiracy.

Again, liberal media and hollywood "elites" and all the kiddies who worship (not to mention all the women and girls and hippies) who watch shows like "queer eye" and "home makeover" and "celebrity cribs" who think those people obviously have a touch of reality, and all corporations are evil, just think of the word "business" and think of the hate and evil that it can drum up in your mind.

Sorry for the uncharacteristic ramble on my part, I just felt it was the best way to demonstrate what is going on.

littleboy is living up to h... (Below threshold)

littleboy is living up to his name. He must have missed the part in the article where they stated that there was no screening of families. Either he didn't read the article and prefers to make things up to suit his beliefs or he did and prefers to make them up anyway. Even if he didn't read it his story would still be the same. Little boys like to play make believe. He should be sent to bed without his supper. There's some decent kid somehwere out there going hungry tonight that might grow up to be somebody.

Yes, Henry, Bullwinkle, Wav... (Below threshold)

Yes, Henry, Bullwinkle, Wavemaker and -S-, it's a sad thing to observe. Henry, what an interesting observation on the changing theme of that movie's remake. Even though communism fell and the USSR was disbanded, its poison lingers.

To meet with this Presid... (Below threshold)

To meet with this President, one must be first be on the President's itinerary, and also pass muster through the local GOP as so this President should not be embarressed.

Evidence? Put up or shut up. How did Cindy Sheehan meet Bush in '04, as a known Democratic activist?

Maybe Pres. Bush met with M... (Below threshold)

Maybe Pres. Bush met with Mizz Sheehan because of something curageous and noteworthy that her SON did, not anything of what SHE was. Remember, it was HE who chose to be in the military, it was HE who chose to re-join when his time went up. It wasn't HER sacrifice to make. He made a conscious free decision as an American Citizen with full rights and responsibilities to have the ultimate responsibility: to defend the nation to his death. Lo and behold, he did. May god bless him and his sacrifice and all other family members who hold him in the highest regard, as well as the members of his unit left behind "over there" who lost their comrade-in-arms.

As to something wavemaker s... (Below threshold)

As to something wavemaker suggests (and, by the way, hello, Henry, long time no read), I think it is the absence of media-thumping, media-hyping grandstanding by President Bush that the Left is so wrankled by. People don't dance like that (President Bush does not), the Left accuses them of not caring or other frantic barbs.

Because barbs they are: the Left just has not taken the very idea that the country is at war seriously, still perceiving it as some sort of arbitrary purchase, like a choice of new cell phone or an IPod, as if it was a consumer choice by a shopping-around Executive, willful to the point of corrupt selfishness (some consumer action is that and everyone knows, but few admit it, as to indulgence as motive for most well-fed consumers).

After hearing that Joe Trippi is 'advising' Cindy Sheehan, seeing photos of the supposedly casually positioned Sheehan being primped and madeup by a stylist before the camera rolls...I believe what it is is that this sort of use of media, media as war weapon, is what the Left expects from Bush. They don't get it, they up the demands, up the taunts, expecting a response in kind.

With David Duke and Joe Trippi and Al Jaseera and Michael Moore now parallel in support of Sheehan, and the media can't hold them to task for the substantial issues they each and all promote and how, it's no wonder the disenfranchised just pile on, in some follow-the-non-leader mindset towards unhappiness. This is an issue of "look at their peers" to find the levelling point, for the rest of us.

Unfortunately, the Left regards media grandstanding (Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda, Moore, Trippi, etc., all these are people who rely on the chest-beating media moments) as 'normal' and anyone not doing so, remaining sincere, reserved even, mindful...it's, well, threatening to the Left. Otherwise, their threatened behavior exudes downright insecurity.

Ridiculing President Bush because of this one woman's counselled emotional disturbance is pitiful. As is Sheehan's disturbance itself.

The way I see it, is that e... (Below threshold)

The way I see it, is that even if a President, Bush included, met with every family who lost a loved on in the war, someone would claim that it was all politically motivated.

To put this into context, ask a few other relevant questions - did President Clinton come to NY after the 1993 WTC attacks to meet with victims and their families? Why not? It's not like he put them in harms' way to defend this nation against all our enemies.

President Bush has met with families, and will continue meeting with families, regardless of what goes on with Sheehan.

Most families will be thankful for the opportunity - regardless of how they view Bush. Why do I say that? Because they're meeting with the President of the US. Not many folks get that opportunity. And if you want to psychoanalyze whether Bush appreciates those meetings, that's between you and your DSM-IV, because most people who come out say that he's quite responsive and thoughtful in handling questions - many of which surround the circumstances of their loved ones' deaths which are details that are not passed on by the DoD.

Yes, Cindy Sheehan has gone... (Below threshold)

Yes, Cindy Sheehan has gone too far. Surrounding herself with those far left protesters has only hurt her cause. Had she simply sat on the side of the road with a sign, she might have actually had a chance for an audience with W. But that does not diminish her grief or her right to do what she's doing.

I have no doubt that W finds meeting with grieving families emotional. Visiting with any grieving person is an emotional experience. So the man's human. Big whoop. That's not exactly proof of his righteousness.

He sent men and women to war with little or no clear excuse except that Saddam Hussein's "a bad man". So is Castro....is he next? You ask, "Has any American leader done more?" Well, no. But then again, none of the last half-dozen presidents have taken action that resulted in the deaths of over 1800 Americans. Until now.

And -S-, why are you so quick to play the Nazi card with anyone who's against the war? Voicing one's opposition sounds not only very American, but also very Christian.

"Had she simply sat on the ... (Below threshold)

"Had she simply sat on the side of the road with a sign, she might have actually had a chance for an audience with W."

Her second audience with W. Hey, he's only been able to meet with 15% of the families, why should she get a secound bite at the apple.


1994,1996,1998,2000,2002,2004...Read 'em and weep, Chomsky

littleboy,How many... (Below threshold)


How many families did Klinton meet with?

And to the comment that the families are screened by the local GOP -- utter nonsense. What a moronic statement. I escorted the family of a soldier to one such meeting and afterwards they told me that a few people has expressed their thoughts of being against the war and Bush listened to everything that they had to say. Not one of the people there had any contact or screening through the local GOP.

You are an idiot. Go take a nap.

From the front page of the ... (Below threshold)

From the front page of the Chicago Tribune web site.

Bush should not meet with 'Peace Mom'

Hi, Mesablue, thanks for th... (Below threshold)

Hi, Mesablue, thanks for the link. That guy should have stuck with his title. By the end of the article, he's implying Pres. Bush ought to meet with her for PR reasons, to diffuse the situation so she'll pack up and go away.

I think security is more important than PR in this case. She's never going to accept his sincerity about her loss or his steadfastness on the war. So why does she want to meet with him up close and personal?






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy