Political move or not, Bush#039;s trip to Iraq commendable

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 29, 2003

Is lying OK under some circumstances? It's the proverbial question pondered by parents and parochial schoolers alike.

We all know lying about "big stuff" is wrong, but what about little white lies?

You've heard such lies before: does this make me look fat?

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How does a person answer that? Do they REALLY want to know the answer?

Many, many Americans say they find it quite OK to lie so long as the deception doesn't hurt anyone else.

For example, it's OK to tell a little fib if that fib helps keep you safe, right?

The old saying, "what they don't know, won't hurt them," came to mind on Thursday as news surfaced that President Bush had secretly traveled to Iraq.

On the surface, Bush's secret trip was simply a way of saying "thanks" on the American holiday created for just such an event.

And like many Americans, I was genuinely surprised and happy to see Bush make the long, dangerous journey.

However, the same couldn't be said for a number of national media folks. It seemed TV reporters were bent on stirring the political pot and playing up the fact that Bush and others with the White House told a few white lies for the sake of the president's security.

Why, exactly, they felt the need to do this wasn't clear.

Almost without fail, they reported Bush's trip with the footnote that it came with "mixed" reviews by people back in the states.

Perhaps they thought it was purely a move to gain political points for Bush. Or, perhaps, they thought it a waste of taxpayer money.

Regardless of whether or not Bush sought political points for the effort, criticizing him for risking his own life to enter an obviously still unstable region, doesn't seem fair.

Bush's effort was almost the ultimate Thanksgiving for troops. Short of bringing their own families overseas, who better to thank the American troops in Iraq than their commander in chief?

That's exactly what some members of the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne experienced on Thanksgiving Day.

Imagine the stories some of those soldiers will have for their grandchildren.

"Yes, that's right. President Bush served me a turkey dinner back in 2003."

Rather than always looking at the political angle on things, wouldn't it be nice if everyone - from politicians to TV newscasters - looked only at the act, not at the potential reasons behind the act. Just like the white lies many of us tell each day, not every act has a dark, ulterior motive.

One should judge Thanksgiving Day celebrations not by the amount of food consumed but rather the amount of thanking one does.

And for that's exactly what Bush did on Thursday. For his gratitude and courage, Americans should give thanks, too.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to kevin.cooper@irontontribune.com.