Let’s play wack-a-meme
: Following Bush’s trip to Iraq, Adam Nagourney in the NY Times quoted the Dean, Kerry, and Edwards camps using it as a limp launching pad for continued criticism of the Iraq war and then replayed this meme:
The trip came at a time of rising criticism of the president for not attending the funerals of the returning war dead. It also came in the same week that Mr. Bush met with families of 26 soldiers killed in Iraq, and thus appeared to be a concerted effort by the White House to deal with a political problem.
And so I was wondering how many other presidents attended funerals of soldiers killed in the line of duty.
Well, click and ye shall find: Donald Sensing links to John Cole, who links to this good homework from the History News Network:
Lyndon Baines Johnson: …attended two funerals for soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. The first funeral was for Captain Albert Smith, son of White House correspondent Merriman Smith, which was held February 28, 1966. The second was for Major General Keith R. Ware, held September 17, 1968. LBJ had met Ware while visiting Vietnam.
Richard Nixon does not appear to have attended the funerals of any soldiers killed in Vietnam….
Jimmy Carter: According to the New York Times, Jimmy Carter attended a memorial service for the soldiers killed in the failed rescue of America hostages in Iran in 1980.
Ronald Reagan attended memorial services on several occasions for American soldiers. In 1983 he attended a service at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in connection with the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, which cost the lives of 241 people. In 1987 he attended a service at Mayport Naval Station in Florida for the sailors killed on the USS Stark.
George H.W. Bush does not appear to have attended any funerals for American soldiers. (The NYT, citing Marlin Fitzwater as a source, indicated that the president did attend several such funerals. But no details were provided.)
Bill Clinton attended a service in October 2000 in memory of the 17 sailors killed in the attack on the USS Cole.
After the terrorist bombing the Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City he publicly grieved with the families of the victims at an event that was regarded at the time as a turning point in his presidency.
So let’s wack that gopher back into its hole.