When Barack Obama visited Iraq, the photo ops showed him surrounded by cheering, grabbing, hugging, loving military personnel. I found this a bit peculiar, because (a) the military overwhelmingly supported the Republican ticket in the last election and (b) a bit of unscripted documentary evidence indicates that, as far as the military is concerned, Bush was beloved, while the verdict is still out on Obama:
Although I didn’t say so at the time on this blog, I sent a question to an email group to which I belong, one heavily populated by military experts, and asked how it was that Obama received such as rousing welcome. The question sort of died aborning, with no one getting back to me. However, the answer may lie in a story out of Iraq stating that Obama’s team carefully selected only those military personnel who supported him. This rumor apparently has some legs, and no one from the administration has rebutted it.
One of the mil bloggers on the email list pointed out that Bush’s people also made sure there was a happy crowd surrounding him. The difference, of course, was that the crowd surrounding Bush, a microcosm of the entire military, fairly accurately reflected the feelings of the larger organization. The military liked Bush. This recent crowd surrounding Obama is reflective of the beliefs of the individual troops — they support him — but creates a falsehood regarding the whole military institution. It is, in essence, the photographic equivalent of a Potemkin Village meant to deceive, not just one queen, but the whole world.
I also heard through the same email string that troops who appeared at the photo op, even those who are pro-Obama, were required to check their weapons first. Perhaps the administration is afraid that there may be some random, undifferentiated right-wingers amongst the troops, ready to commit acts of terrorism (or do I mean man-caused disasters?). It’s always bad news when the Commander in Chief is afraid of his own troops — including the troops that profess to like him.