Why Bush Stays Away

During wartime, a President cannot take on the role of Mourner in Chief

President Bush's secret visit to Baghdad dramatized his commitment to the war and the troops. But it has not put to rest criticism that he has been unwilling to pay the proper respect to those who fought and died. "It's absolutely appropriate to be honoring our soldiers overseas in battle on a day like Thanksgiving," said Chris Lehane, a top adviser to presidential candidate Wesley Clark. But that's not sufficient. "It is more important to honor them every day," including "to appropriately honor the heroes coming back in caskets."

As dead American soldiers have come back from Iraq, Bush has been...

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