Hugs and Kiss-Offs


Twilight in Baghdad, but cheery and bright in Bush’s own private Idaho


Tech. Sgt. Brian Davidson/U.S. Air Force

Stringing us along: It’s twilight in Iraq (above) as U.S. airmen put up seven miles of barbed wire at Baghdad International Airport. Things are brighter in Nampa, Idaho, where Bush eschews protection for his close encounter (below) with military mom Tammy Pruett.


Paul Morse/White House

Continuing his hunt for weapons of mass distraction, George W. Bush‘s handlers captured an Idaho auditorium for him today — at least long enough for the POTUS to get a hug from a military mom not named Cindy Sheehan.

But more than two years since Bush declared, “Mission accomplished!,” the Baghdad airport still hasn’t been secured. Neither has the road from the $1 billion U.S. embassy in Baghdad to the airport. And neither has Baghdad, where bloody shootouts all day today shattered the lack of calm:

Dozens of insurgents wearing black uniforms and masks launched the boldest assault in Baghdad in weeks, attacking Iraqi police Wednesday with multiple car bombs and small-arms fire that killed at least 13 people and wounded 43.

The violence came as politicians struggled to end a stalemate over the country’s draft constitution.

Nothing to worry about. The Pentagon announced today that things are going great. Thanks to colleague Jarrett Murphy for alerting me to one of the best quotes to emerge from the Bush regime.

Shockingly, Bush didn’t utter it. The Pentagon spokesman of the moment, Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venable, told the press today in D.C. that two more infantry battalions are being sent to Iraq for added security during the upcoming elections. Venable explained:

“Political progress in Iraq is on track, and this deployment is in support of continued progress… We are reinforcing success.”

Bush’s personal handlers took the opposite tack today: They deployed the POTUS to his reinforcements.

Call it “mission accomplished”: Bush got a hug from a military mom. Tammy Pruett has four kids serving in Iraq, and here she is hugging our president. That beats Cindy Sheehan‘s one dead son all to hell. “Reinforcing success.” That’s what the Bush regime’s all about.

Back in Baghdad, airmen from the 447th have been working in the 120-degree heat on another kind of reinforcement: Stringing barbed wire to protect the flight path at Baghdad International Airport. Here’s a number: We’re putting up more than 36,000 feet of wire to protect people and planes at the airport.

Just another mission accomplished that will make our frantic Saigon-like exit go more smoothly when we finally go.