Thursday, August 25, 2005

Love me, love my policies

The accounts are only anectdotal, but from this Salon story on Bush's meeting with the families of fallen soldiers one impression stands out: Bush appears genuine and caring to those who support his actions but put off and disengaged when confronted with even the slightest suggestion that there might be a better way:

Some families praised Bush. "He was very personable," Sherri Orlando said in a telephone conversation from Fort Campbell, Ky., where she works in the Fort Campbell public affairs office. Orlando's husband, Army Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, was killed when a group of Iraqis opened fire on him and fellow soldiers on a road near a mosque in Karbala, Iraq, in October 2003. "He was very sincere. He was very sympathetic. It was delightful meeting with him."

Bush met Orlando and others at a museum on base. "He expressed his condolences," she said. "To me, it happened so quickly. You are kind of at a loss for words. I told him that my husband believed in what he was doing and he supported the mission over there."

Roxanne Kaylor met the president at the White House on Memorial Day in 2003. Her son, Army 1st Lt. Jeffrey J. Kaylor, had been killed in a grenade attack in Iraq in April 2003. She described Bush as "gracious" but disengaged and unresponsive when pressed with uncomfortable questions. "He held my hand," she said. "I turned to him and I said, 'Jeff was a great person. It is too bad he had to die so early in life. I hope his death was not in vain.' He just stared at me. He said nothing. He just stared at me. He did not let go of my hand."

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