The horror of the war became apparent this week when President Bush announced that he had given up golf out of solidarity with the families of dead soldiers. It is truly Apocalypse Now meets Caddyshack.
The President did not take this major step until 2003.
“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”
Bush said he made that decision after the August 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, which killed Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. official in Iraq and the organization’s high commissioner for human rights.
“I remember when de Mello, who was at the U.N., got killed in Baghdad as a result of these murderers .taking this good man’s life,” he said. “I was playing golf — I think I was in central Texas — and they pulled me off the golf course and I said, ‘It’s just not worth it anymore to do.’”
It was like listening to Col. Walter E. Kurtz himself:
I’ve seen horrors … horrors that you’ve seen. . . . It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face … and you must make a friend of horror. . . . [after describing atrocities] And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized … like I was shot … like I was shot with a diamond … a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God … the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men … trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love … but they had the strength … the strength … to do that. I . . .
Across the country, middle-aged men in plaid are bowing their heads in solemn recognition. What is curious is why all those shots of the President at play like his many photographed biking moments. It may be confusion with the term Gulf states.
In fairness to Bush, this was not meant to be the measure of his personal commitment to the families, but once again a wiser man would have left the golf-sacrifice a private observation.
Of course, the best way of being pro-widow is to make fewer to them, but then again, I don’t play golf.
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