George Bush giving out Medals of Freedom like they were Emmys:
Trumpeting America as liberator, the White House conferred the highest civilian honor yesterday on three men intimately involved with the decision to invade Iraq or the troubled aftermath of the invasion.
President Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tommy Franks, the now-retired Army general who led the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; former CIA director George Tenet, who told Bush it was a “slam dunk” that Iraq still had weapons of mass destruction; and L. Paul Bremer, who presided over the first 14 months of Iraq reconstruction.
Past recipients have included Mother Teresa, Mr. Rogers, Rosa Parks and Pope John Paul II.
The big difference was, that Mother Teresa, Mr. Rogers, Rosa Parks and Pope John Paul II didn’t show up to accept their awards by piling out of a tiny car and hitting each other with pies.
Credit writer Ann Gerhart for harshing their mellow:
“My hunch is that George Bush wasn’t using the same standard when honoring Tenet and Bremer that was applied to previous honorees,” said David Wade, a spokesman for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who lost last month’s presidential election to Bush. And Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, said yesterday he “would have reached a different conclusion” on Tenet. “I don’t think [he] served the president or the nation well,” Levin said.
The president heralded Tenet for being “one of the first to recognize” the growing threat to America from “radical terrorist networks.” He made no mention of the failures outlined by the 9/11 commission that forced the administration to overhaul the nation’s intelligence operations.
He praised Franks for his Iraq war plan, which utilized “a force half the size of the force that won the Gulf War” to reach Baghdad in less than a month, “the fastest, longest armored advance in the history of American warfare.” Bush did not note that more Americans have died after the toppling of Saddam Hussein than during that initial charge.
Bremer, Bush said, “worked day and night in difficult dangerous conditions” to rebuild Iraq and help leaders chart the country’s political future. “Every benchmark . . . was achieved on time or ahead of schedule, including the transfer of sovereignty that ended his tenure,” the president said. He did not add that the transfer was hurriedly arranged two days early because of fears insurgents would attack the ceremonies.
In Iraq yesterday, U.S. military officials announced combat deaths of two Marines, bringing the toll to 10 Marines in three days. A suicide bomber blew up seven people and wounded at least 13 at a Green Zone checkpoint in Baghdad. Military brass announced that the U.S. military would have a record high of 150,000 troops on the ground in the nation through the Jan. 30 election and “a little bit after.” In Mosul, gunmen killed a provincial council member, and soldiers discovered eight more bodies of Iraqis, bringing to more than 150 the number of likely victims of insurgents targeting Iraqi police and security forces in that city in the past six weeks.
Never mind all that. Look! Shiny medals…oooooooooooo.