A couple of days ago I heard the news that George and Laura Bush paid a private visit to the wounded soldiers at Fort Hood. They specifically requested that the base commander not inform the media of their visit. They came. They comforted the wounded soldiers and the Fort Hood community for a couple of hours. And then they left. And they never had their pictures taken saluting the troops or holding their hands.
When I heard the news, I felt this pain that hasn’t gone away. It’s a pain that I have been feeling fairly often since last November.
It hurts to hear about an American President who cares deeply and sincerely about wounded soldiers and soldiers murdered in a terrorist attack and know that he is not the American President. It isn’t so much that I miss Bush personally. I had a lot of criticism about his policies – particularly in his last two years in office after he effectively abdicated his leadership of global affairs to Condoleezza Rice and the permanent bureaucracy in Washington.
But at least you always knew that Bush loved America and that he loved Americans. You knew that he valued America’s allies even if he didn’t always do right by them. You knew that his values were American values.
You can’t say any of that about his successor. And it hurts. It hurts that Barack Hussein Obama’s first statement about the massacre at Fort Hood was so emotionally cut off from what happened. It hurts that he thought the most important thing to say about the massacre is that we mustn’t jump to conclusions about the motivations of the terrorist who killed his fellow soldiers despite the fact that he was screaming Allah Akhbar as he shot them. It hurts that Obama and his wife treat soldiers like losers who all suffer from PTSD and that the greatest service he can render them is to provide them with free psychiatric care and send them home from Iraq and Afghanistan without first securing victory.
Maybe I’m over-emotional, but I can’t get Bush’s visit out of my head. Obama will go to Fort Hood today and say something arrogant about himself. And all his fans in the media will extol his eloquence. And maybe he’ll get his picture taken holding out a limp wrist to shake hands with a wounded soldier. Or maybe we’ll see Michelle in a sleeveless dress embracing the wife of one of the slain soldiers.
With everything going on in the world today, it is all but impossible for me to feel safe in a world where the President of the United States is a man who would never think of flying to Ft. Hood to be with wounded soldiers – not even with the entire national press corps in tow. And so I wake up in the middle of the night, with this pain, and I feel like crying when I think of how George and Laura felt so horrible about the massacre that they paid a quiet, private visit to the post to comfort the wounded warriors.
For all that he disappointed me, I miss George W. Bush. I really do.