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Were our honored fallen used?

Obama wouldn't do such a thing... would he? And the press wouldn't comply now... would they?

Let's go to the Associated Press:

Standing in the pre-dawn darkness, President Barack Obama saw the real cost of the war in Afghanistan: The Americans who return in flag-covered cases while much of the nation sleeps in peace.

In a surprise midnight dash to this Delaware base, where U.S. forces killed overseas come home, Obama honored the return of 18 fallen Americans Thursday. All were killed in Afghanistan this week, a brutal stretch that turned October into the most deadly month for U.S. troops since the war began.

The dramatic image of a president on the tarmac was a portrait not witnessed in years. Former President George W. Bush said the appropriate way to show his respect for war's cost was to meet with grieving military families in private, as he often did, but he never went to Dover to meet remains coming off the cargo plane. Obama did so with the weight of knowing he may soon send more troops off to war.

For all the talk of his potential troop increase -- maybe 40,000, maybe some other large figure -- Obama got a grim reminder of the number that counts: one.

His name was Dale R. Griffin, an Army sergeant from Terre Haute, Ind. He was the last fallen soldier to come before Obama. And his remains were the only ones of the 18 to be honored in full view of the media. An 18-year ban on such coverage, dating to the 1991 Gulf War and strengthened by Bush, was relaxed this year under Obama's watch, allowing families to decide whether cameras can document the return. Nearly two-thirds have said yes.

The president led a team of officials onto the gray C-17 cargo plane carrying Griffin, and then back off, where they stood for several minutes in a line of honor.

It was not quite 4 a.m. The sky was black and a yellowish light came from poles flanking the flight. The only sounds were a whirring power unit on the plane and the clicking of cameras. A blue vehicle carrying members of Griffin's family pulled up.

The president then saluted as six soldiers in camouflage and black berets carried Griffin's remains down the ramp and into a waiting white van.

On a clear fall night, the president had zipped to Dover on a 40-minute helicopter ride from the White House. He immediately sat down privately with all the family members in a base chapel.

He had to make amends for dithering... in the eyes of far too many... mission accomplished.



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Comments (36)

Now we know the REAL reason... (Below threshold)

Now we know the REAL reason they wanted the press access.
"Never allow a good crisis to go to waste"

He's not honoring fallen so... (Below threshold)

He's not honoring fallen solders, he's counting future ACORN registered voters!

(I know I'm a sick puppy)

O. D. S.<... (Below threshold)
liberal troll:

O. D. S.

This has been one of the de... (Below threshold)

This has been one of the deadliest months since the conflict began and I cannot begrudge Obama for making this appearance. I will believe this is a sincere appearance and I hope it is symbolic that he is willing as CIC to carry this burden he inherited from the previous administration.

However, regarding AP itself, it is not a surprise that they get in the inevitable comparison to Bush. If the AP wants to play that game then I would counter that meeting with individual families after the initial shock of the loss of a son or daughter has worn off is tougher than a public appearance and meeting collectively with families who are still in shock at the return of the fresh remains of their loved ones.

I don't think it is worth debating Obama's intentions in this. He is the CIC and I think this appearance reflects his duty. The more important thing is to see how he will respond as CIC in trying to make sure this month is not repeated.

I'm tired of Obama posing. ... (Below threshold)

I'm tired of Obama posing. It's all about the photo op, and what looks good for the camera.

Yes, it's nice you went, sir, to see the people who you affect so directly. I would have been gratified to see you looking solemn, or regretful, or simply standing at attention or with your hand over your heart. I might still have thought you posing for the camera, but I'd have thought you were (at least moderately) sincere.

But you saluted. You - a civilian. Yes, you're the CinC - but you never served a day in your life.

Civilians don't salute, sir - and in my cynical heart of hearts, that gesture for a nice little photo op that shows how much you 'care' transformed something that would have earned you a modicum of respect into a staged mockery.

Shakespear was wrong. Not all the world's a stage, and the men and women merely players. These dead won't get up and go about their lives after you and your photographers depart, satisifed you got some good shots which prove how much you 'care' about the military.

I hope like hell, sir, that you were impressed by the responsibility you have towards those under you in the military - and lost sleep over thinking what the right thing is to do by them, and the country. They respect the office of the President, and respect and love the country to the point they'd put their bodies in harm's way to protect it.

It would be nice, sir, if you could become a leader that they can respect outside the office of the President.

JLawson, those comments sho... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

JLawson, those comments should have been made several years ago. Oh pardon me, they were, but was blown off as the un American lefties doing their hate talk. Got it. ODS, huh?

I'm far less charitable tha... (Below threshold)

I'm far less charitable than Dave. I don't think that Obama does ANYTHING without a political motive. It's a harsh call, maybe, but I believe that Obama is first and foremost a political creature who serves himself first and views absolutely everything through a political filter. I have seen little from him since his election to contradict this opinion. I wish it wasn't so, but my view is that he is a president for Democrats, not the entire country.

I always respected the dignified way that Bush handled this privately and with respect for the families involved instead of treating it as a photo op.

I recall the media wet their pants about wanting to show the caskets coming off the planes when Bush was in office and it was good for lefty politics, but you don't see that any more now that the Dems are driving the bus.

Meanwhile, Obama dithers - at least until the state elections are over next week. Mustn't ruffle feathers before an election.


Hammer, what are you TALKIN... (Below threshold)

Hammer, what are you TALKING about?

Hammer, you blithering fool... (Below threshold)

Hammer, you blithering fool -

Did you even READ what I wrote with the slightest intent to understand it?

I understood it JLawson. W... (Below threshold)

I understood it JLawson. While I won't go so far as to say it was wrong for him to salute (he is the Commander in Chief whether he ever served in the past or not) I wonder why it simply couldn't have been reported that he went for the purpose of paying his respects. It's the timing here. After 10 months in office suddenly now he goes to honor the return of our fallen. It's purposeful because this is a time when the country feels he's allowing too much precious time to elapse while coming to some decision about Afghanistan.

I can almost hear Axlerod now: "Mr. President, people are getting antsy waiting for your decision. I think it would be a good time for you to dash off to be there when the caskets arrive. If you get dressed real quick, we can still make it and the pictures will be in the paper by tomorrow."

As the daughter of a soldie... (Below threshold)

As the daughter of a soldier killed in Vietnam, the wife of former military policeman, the sister of a career infantryman, the mother of a soldier on deployment status...I AM SICKENED BY THIS PHOTO.

Either send the troops needed or pull them out, BUT STOP PRETENDING. There is an American in that coffin, who stood and gave all for this nation...and all Obama can do is go for a photo op...I still remember when he wouldn't wear an American flag on his lapel, and when Michelle never was proud of HER country.

Oyster -Unfortunat... (Below threshold)

Oyster -

Unfortunately, when it comes to Obama I have little confidence in him doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do. If he doesn't see a political advantage in it, he's not going to do it.

And I'm starting to even think it doesn't matter whether it benefits the Democrats or not - it's all about how it benefits HIM. How HE looks, how HE is perceived by the masses. And the folks propping him up are making sure he doesn't miss something that'll make him look good.

I'd sure like to have confidence in him doing the right thing because it's the right thing to do - but that's a pretty subjective measurement, isn't it? What I think is the right thing to do isn't what Vic or JC would think is right.

Time will tell, but in the long run I don't think Obama can maintain his image. It's going to collapse faster than Carter's did in '78, and he has nothing BUT his image to fall back on...

Bobdog wrote,"I'm ... (Below threshold)

Bobdog wrote,

"I'm far less charitable than Dave. I don't think that Obama does ANYTHING without a political motive. It's a harsh call, maybe, but I believe that Obama is first and foremost a political creature who serves himself first and views absolutely everything through a political filter."

I confess that in the deepest regions of my awareness I probably believe exactly what you have written. However, on the surface I just can't or don't want to believe that Obama is so cold/callous/profane that he would use even the dead for a strictly poltical photo-op.

It could be that I will never learn.

O.D.S.?Oral Diahre... (Below threshold)


Oral Diahrea Slurper? Or is it Spitter?

Post something I can argue with. Insensuality is not in vouge.

Obama had all the authority... (Below threshold)

Obama had all the authority and power he needed to say "no cameras." But in order to boost his image with military personnel, he chose otherwise.

Obama promised more government transparency. Well, this is about as transparent it gets, kiddies.

GW Bush and his wife visite... (Below threshold)

GW Bush and his wife visited Walter Reed and Deleware with no camera's present. Now look at this narcissistic empty suit and you can tell he just doesn't get it. ww

Bush did this numerous time... (Below threshold)

Bush did this numerous times, he just didn't EXPLOIT the soldiers who had given all to protect our country. Unlike this publicity WHORE...

The AP fails to mention tha... (Below threshold)

The AP fails to mention that 17 of the 18 families told Hussein to "got to hell" and get his phony, fraudulent photo op someplace else.

Just a clarification, as CI... (Below threshold)

Just a clarification, as CINC, POTUS is to be saluted by military members and he may return that honor. For him to render honors is very appropriate in this situation.

I'm torn between thinking, "Well done Sir." and "You're doin' it wrong!" I would have been much more impressed without the photo op.

Although I rarely agree wit... (Below threshold)

Although I rarely agree with things the C-in-C has been doing, in this case I think what he did was very respectful. I am not surprised that his aides or the grossly complicit media would make hay of it, however.

In the end, President Obama did go to Dover and did see a fallen soldier taken off the plane from his trip home and he saluted, just as any one of us would likely have done, having served or not.

"Lawson are you just stupid... (Below threshold)
liberal troll:

"Lawson are you just stupid or completely deranged?"

Turns out he's both, actually.

Got that right.... (Below threshold)
Steve Green:

Got that right.

Once again, Unreconstructed... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Once again, Unreconstructed Democrat, you sway me with your eloquence and forceful logic.

Help me, however, to understand why the COiC allowed press photographers there. Perhaps to give the grieving families autographed photos of Himself as souvenirs?

The liberals just don't get... (Below threshold)

The liberals just don't get it. They are smitten. They don't understand the post or the comments. Go home boys, your toast just isn't done yet.

The publicity whore...I like that. ww

He can blame himself for th... (Below threshold)

He can blame himself for the deaths of all those young people. If he had sent the additional 30,000 troops as requested 3 months ago, this would never have happened. Obama is a "media whore" and can take the blame for anymore deaths in this "good war" as he paraphrased it. What a disgrace to my counry.

Im conflicted by the pictur... (Below threshold)

Im conflicted by the picture.

On one hand, the fallen soldiers deserve to be shown the dignity of a salute from thier president.

On the other hand, I dont feel that Obama deserves to salute them.

Unrepentant Democrat -... (Below threshold)

Unrepentant Democrat -

I know what he is. I was in the Air Force active duty under Nixon, Carter and Reagan, and in the AF Reserve under Bush, Clinton, and Bush. I was probably in the military before you were even born - which is a wierd thought to throw out, but time's got a way of passing whether you want it to or not.

I can also recognize a photo op when I see one. Notice just how neatly that pic is staged? Maybe he was actually respectful and it was only shot once instead of having several takes to get the timing right - but I'll bet he had a slew of photographers spread out at all angles, and only the best shots were distributed.

And I'll tell you what, seeing you think my attitude is somehow 'insane' - I'll suggest you go over to The Mudville Gazette and drop your pearls of wisdom on THEM - lot of active duty and retired folk there, and quite a few of them also don't particularly appreciate Obama using the dead for a photo op. Maybe you can find others that'll heap abuse upon you - it seems like you thrive on such 'proof' you're right.

Some excerpts from the site -

"This bastard has as little use for the military as Clinton did. He used this dead serviceman as a prop to try and convince the gullible that he actually cares about the military who sacrifice so much for the nation. Sorry, this man's not buying it. I know too much about this liar."

"Obama's having the time of his worthless life; junkets, AF-1, golf, date nights, WH parties - and 'best' of all, dismantling the very foundation of this once-great country.

And why the Scots-Irish of the DoD sit by like catatonic zombies while Obama campaigns on the graves of our fallen soldiers, that's the mystery, and the insult."
"I do not appreciate the President's actions. Can, or should, he be there every time a fallen member is brought home? Why does any one service member or group "deserve" his personal attention and honor more than another?

President Bush's decision to not attend ceremonies at Dover or funerals was because due to the requirements of the office he could not guarantee he could show the same respect to all fallen members. What he could, and did, guarantee, though, was to make time in his schedule to personally meet the NOK for any who desired.

He also managed to meet with his commanders in the theater a bit more frequently than every seventy days."
"Considering the timing, its hard not to be cynical and see a political motive in Obama's visit to Dover. Charges of dithering on making a decision about Afghanistan, while getting in 22 rounds of golf in 9 months have been making the guy look pretty bad. It has also been coming out that Bush gave up the game when the shooting started, as he did not want a family to see photos of him on the course on the day that they received news of their loved one's death. It appears to me that considering the timing, and how unusual this type of gesture is from Obama, the visit was pure damage control."
"FbL - "Do you honestly believe the most media-savvy president ever would have done it if no families had agreed?"

I think that question was answered way back when Obama took his triumphal campaign march through Europe, where he actually cancelled his visit to Landstuhl, when he discovered he couldn't drag a photographer along. He decided to pass the time in his hotel gym instead.
You see - that's the real problem. ALL the guy knows is how to influence the media. He's sharp, he's photogenic, and with the right speech in the teleprompter he's eloquent as anything. He's like a model that's been in front of the camera since she was 12 - she knows how to look pretty with the right handlers and makeup, but there's little to nothing inside the shell.

And he's way, way above his pay grade in this job.

Also - only one family out of the 18 on that plane assented to the remains being photographed with Obama.

Obama Visits Returning War Dead - NYTimes.com

The family of an Army sergeant, Dale R. Griffin, 29, of Terre Haute, Ind., agreed to have the transfer of his remains photographed. The other families chose not to, under a new Pentagon policy that lifted an 18-year ban on news coverage of returning service members killed in action, but only if the families provide permission.
By the way - I suppose you figure that insults and foul language somehow get your point across better - but it really seems pretty clear that if you couldn't use language like that, you'd barely be able to post at all.

Unrepentant Democrat -... (Below threshold)

Unrepentant Democrat -

You might also want to check out the opinions at Blackfive.Net. I'm sure they'd appreciate your particular style of commenting also.

If you have read any of my ... (Below threshold)

If you have read any of my past posts on this blog, you should know that I am no fan of this president. I actually detest everything he espouses.

But the guy left the WH at midnight and waited on that tarmac until 12:30 until the plane showed up, prayed over those coffins, saluted all of them and then met with the families. He didn't even get back to the WH until 3:30 or 4 am. Can we not give him some credit here? I am sure Obama was told all of the reasons as to why he should not have this session photographed -- people would call him a publicity whore, etc. But the families gave their consent and that's good enough for me.

I watched it on TV and you could tell the entire episode weighed on the President. So you can either be a cynic and call him names or be glad he gave a shit about the 18 people who gave their lives for all of us. I want a President at Dover welcoming home our fallen, press or no press, cameras or no cameras, it was the right thing to do. And I hope he spends more time with our troops, even ones who come home in metal box.

Dee -I hope like h... (Below threshold)

Dee -

I hope like hell it weighs on him. I WANT him to understand that this job isn't simply a steppingstone to the next level, whether it be world emperor or UN head - that it's not about what perqs he can provide to which cronies or how much he can promise out while making sure his pockets are lined.

By the way, only 1 family out of the 18 consented to having their son's coffin photographed w/Obama.

1. Out of 18.

If it had been none - you think he'd have even gone? No photo op, no reason - right?

Tell me - do you give Bush the same sort of credit for meeting privately with the families of military dead for the last 7 years as you do this publicity hound who went to meet ONE plane?

"Can we not give him some credit?"

Not on this. If he hadn't SALUTED, then I might have. But that salute was a contrived bit of theater as artificial as anything else about him, and it looks as false as fifty-dollar bill printed on tissue paper in a cheap inkjet and as out of place as a pink tutu wrapped around a 500 lb bomb.

But you may be right - it could be this staged photo op got to him, and has impressed on him that HE isn't the President so he can have parties and go on dates and fly everywhere he wants on AF-1. It may have gotten to him deep-down and made him realize "Dear Christ - I'm in way over my head and the stupid political games I've been playing didn't do a damn thing to get me ready for this."

It may have.

But I wouldn't bet on it.

Hope Barry got his photo op... (Below threshold)

Hope Barry got his photo op. Did they make sure they got his best side? Wouldn't want that casket in the way of a great shot of Dear Leader. After all, this occasion was all about HIM.

He is a media whore, plain ... (Below threshold)

He is a media whore, plain and simple. Any opportunity to get his mug in print or on the "telly". He only looks out for himself. Playing golf, dating his wife, playing games on the WH lawn, denouncing our country, he LIVES for that, ALL ON OUR DIMES. He needs to be impeached or have the sh*t kicked out of him so he gets the idea about what he is doing to the rest of us. He could care less about anything but himself. He is not nearly as cute as he thinks he is. He is arrogant and selfish. I could go on and on, but I think we all get the picture.

I'd like to think Obama was... (Below threshold)
Jim R.:

I'd like to think Obama was being sincere, but he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt.

The liberals will always wo... (Below threshold)

The liberals will always worship the .

(Yes, that's an O, just scaled to represent the size of the man's conscience).

Contrast the behavior of the . with his predecessor. Which one:

* Refused to do things that could suggest he was using any military issues as photo ops;

* Met personally with every next of kin of a fallen soldier, and did so privately, no cameras or press, and spent time doing it (more than a few moments);

* Met personally with his generals and DOD senior staff regularly;

* Made politically difficult decisions regarding prosecution of a war, and did so regardless of what was said of him in the press: and

* Made regular visits to military hospitals, again, without fanfare or press.

When the . begins to act in *that* way, consistently, I'll respect him as a person.

But not before. And not because of one instance that smacks of a photo op.

Put it this way.

17 out of 18 families refused the . for a reason.

Dare you to suggest that those 17 families were "ODS" sufferers...have at it, champs.

From the article..."... (Below threshold)

From the article...
"The only sounds were a whirring power unit on the plane and the clicking of cameras."

That says it all. He was there to honor himself.

What a travesty for that sc... (Below threshold)

What a travesty for that scounrel OBAMA to be there saluting one who has died so he can spread his lies






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