vendredi 13 janvier 2012

Cranky, Troop-Snubbing Obama?

Getting play on some web sites is a scene in new book about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, "The Operators" depicts President (then candidate) Obama as being aloof and cranky while visiting the troops in Baghdad.
After the talk, out of earshot from the soldiers and diplomats, he starts to complain. He starts to act very un-Obamalike, according to a U.S. embassy official
who helped organize the trip in Baghdad.
He’s asked to go out to take a few more pictures with soldiers and embassy staffers. He’s asked to sign copies of his book. “He didn’t want to take pictures with any more soldiers; he was complaining about it,” a State Department official tells me. “Look, I was excited to meet him. I wanted to like him. Let’s just say the scales fell from my eyes after I did. These are people over here who’ve been fighting the war, or working every day for the war effort, and he didn’t want to take fucking pictures with them?"
The book is authored by Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, whose article The Runaway General resulted in the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan. A later investigation by the Pentagon cleared McChrystal of any violation of military conduct. Hastings has been accused of poor sourcing and taking comments out of context for dramatic effect.

So that said, color me skeptical about his story on Obama blowing off the troops. He quotes a single unnamed State Department official who voices disappointment with the President.

"He didn't want to take pictures with any more soldiers." Sounds like he posed, at least, for some. How many? Did he have someplace else he was supposed to be? Was he complaining about having to pose for pictures or about the lack of time he had to do it? Who knows? But the story reads like a cheap shot.

He may not be the biggest fan of the military whose ever sat in the Oval Office but he seems to understand his duty to be gracious towards and respect the troops.

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