Bush greets 2 Marines, gives them kisses
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush stopped on the White House South Lawn to pose for a photograph with two Marines who served in Iraq — and planted a kiss on the head of each.
After climbing down from his Marine One helicopter, Bush walked toward the White House, then stopped and approached the Marines, one of whom was in a wheelchair. The president greeted Lance Cpl. Patrick Pittman Jr., of Savannah, Ga., and Lance Cpl. Marc Olson, of Coal City, Ill.
Bush directed aides to turn Pittman’s wheelchair around. Instead, Pittman stood next to the president for the photograph. They were joined by Olson’s mother, Pinky Kloski.
Bush had a few words for the two Marines as they stood on either side, then kissed each on the top of the head.
Kloski said the two were injured while serving in Ramadi.
Earlier in the day, the president had traveled to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to speak about the military and strategy during his tenure as commander in chief. — The Associated Press
Democratic pundits and WordPressers may have a field day with this picture, but I think it’s quite extraordinary. When was the last time an American president actually kissed a soldier, or anyone, as a sign of deep gratitude and compassion? Say what you will: Bush is trying to salve his bruised legacy of sending thousands into harm’s way and death to fight a war that shouldn’t have been waged or authorized. He, by a level of dishonesty, got us into the current mess in the Middle East and will leave it to the next president to lick the wounds and repair our tattered PR with the rest of the world. He’s simply making a last push, a final claim to his legacy.
But discard the conjecture for a second. What male in American society kisses another male, unless, perhaps they are related, as in a father to son, or homosexual? I may hug my closest, lifelong male friend, but kissing them goes a step too far, and we both know it. While it may be commonplace in other European or Asian societies, it is not commonplace here, and to take it a step further would be taboo. For Bush to kiss a veteran as in this picture speaks to something else.
Many would disagree with me (Many, in fact, think he’s one of those most heartless presidents we have ever had.), but I think, a) he is aware that he has made mistakes, b) that he is human (and this pretty well assumes that he will make mistakes) and c) that he is sincere on many levels. I think he sincerely loves his country, loves freedom and is truly grateful for the service of the men and women he has sent into battle. I think he mourns (and probably holds a level of guilt) for those who have suffered death or physical maladies on his watch. And this kiss finds its impetus here. Again, believe what you will, that he isn’t the smartest cracker in the cabinet, that he is actually a terrorist himself or even that’s he’s calculatingly headstrong on policies that have proved to be errant, but at the core, for all his miscomings, I think he’s sincere, and I think that is evident in this photo.