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The McCain Hassle

April 2nd, 2007

After writing the prior piece, I was reminded of something I’d read a few months back: a letter from a U.S. Marine to his friends and family back home. In what Time Magazine called “The Secret Letter Home,” the Marine wrote down a list of “Most” this-or-thats in his experiences in Iraq. One of them:

Biggest Hassle — High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and “battlefield” tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their preconceived notions of what’s going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they’ve been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.

And something struck me about McCain’s PR visit to Baghdad that should have occurred to everyone but clearly hasn’t: that McCain’s visit was not only a purely political showcase to revive his popularity after having made a serious gaffe, but as a result has distracted our troops from their real work and possibly even put them in danger–not to mention that is has cost taxpayers plenty as well.

The same happened with Bush’s fake visits to Louisiana and Mississippi after Katrina hit, a political visit to a place where serious work is going on. The result after Katrina: serious rescue work was halted to provide for the politician’s PR piece, and people almost certainly died as a result. McCain has likely had the same effect in Iraq. Did those 100 soldiers, three helicopters and two gunships have nothing better to do that day? One can only imagine American troops in Baghdad today engaging in a firefight, wondering where the hell their air support was. Was a soldier in Iraq maimed or killed today because his much-needed support was in the Green Zone babysitting a vain political hack?

We’ll never know for sure. But it’s not hard to imagine.

Good work, McCain.

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  1. Vicky Young
    April 3rd, 2007 at 06:45 | #1

    Only recently I’ve begun to find myself wondering about the friendly fire that killed Pat Tillman and how exactly that came about. Having a celebrity in your midst in the middle of a war zone puts the entire Company at risk. There is no comparison between Iraq, Germany and Elvis Presley in the 1950’s.

    I’m not willing to state specifically what I’ve wondered about.

    My son is in Fallujah. I’m glad he’s not a celebrity. While he’s there I hope the politicians looking for photo ops and media coverage stay home where they belong.

    Vicky Young
    Sunrise FL

  2. Luis
    April 3rd, 2007 at 11:24 | #2

    Thanks for commenting, Vicky. My hopes go out to you that your son will continue to be well, and will come back home safe, and soon.

    As I’m not sure what your specific concerns are, I can’t address them. However, in case it’s helpful, here’s a page with a number of articles that give very detailed information on the incident.

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