Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Myth of the "War President"

From today's Washington Post:

With Long Sojourn at Ranch, President on His Way to Surpassing Reagan's Total

WACO, Tex., Aug. 2 -- President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of -- 33 days away from the office, loaded with vacation time.

The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening for five weeks of clearing brush, visiting with family and friends, and tending to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.

The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford -- nearly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president's travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents' compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush's time away from Washington even further.

And the violent backdrop to his loafing:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A roadside bomb blast killed 14 Marines and a civilian interpreter Wednesday as they rode in a vehicle near Haditha, Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

The military said the bomb struck the amphibious assault vehicle about 1 mile (about 2 kilometers) south of Haditha, along the Euphrates River about 135 miles northwest of Baghdad. The military said one Marine was wounded.

On Monday, six Marine sniper team members were killed in a firefight near the same city and a Marine was killed in nearby Hit. Twenty-one Marines have been killed in the region in three days. The number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war stands at 1,820, according to U.S. military reports.

One would think that our almost 2,000 war dead would expect their Commander in Chief to work as hard as they did prior to their deaths in Iraq. Bush feels as little responsibility to them as he does to the public at large, so he's again jetting off to the pig farm to play on his bicycle and pretend to clear brush while the war that he started rages on with no end in sight.

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