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Author Topic: Bush, Webb have chilly moment over Iraq war
trollface
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Ok, so it was "quite polite" not "perfectly."

I don't want to speak for Richard, but I believe that he means that if Webb is the kind of person that feels that he must tell the truth in all kinds of situations, then him deflecting the question off onto another topic could have been a politer response than saying what he really meant.

quote:
And I still don't see how you can think that.
Because bringing up touchy subjects as casual conversation is rude.

quote:
No. Brusque is still not necessarily rude.
It can certainly see it without the aid of a telescope, though, can't it? And it's certainly far from "polite".

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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pinqy
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Again I ask, how is inquiring about the son "touchy?" There's a HUGE difference between not wanting to talk much about him in interviews, though Webb has talked politely about him in interviews, and a casual inquiry. It's ridiculous that so many people seem to think Webb doesn't want anyone to ever mention his son.

pinqy

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Again I ask, how is inquiring about the son "touchy?" There's a HUGE difference between not wanting to talk much about him in interviews, though Webb has talked politely about him in interviews, and a casual inquiry. It's ridiculous that so many people seem to think Webb doesn't want anyone to ever mention his son.

pinqy

You do know that you are coming across as an insensitive jerk, don't you? And it's surprising because we would expect some compassion from you towards parents whose children are serving in Iraq.

If Bush was just making polite small talk by asking about the son in the military (and ignoring everyone else in Webb's family) it would be a bit of a slap in the face for Webb to think that his child, whose life is in danger simply because of where he is, is the topic of small talk. War is serious stuff, and you know it. Under those circumstances, it is tacky as hell to expect a father to smile and respond with a polite but meaningless "Fine, thank you," to a "How's your boy?"

On the other hand, there are honest answers. One variation would be to tell the Commander in Chief how the son is doing -- which may or may not be well. Maybe he's not doing well. Maybe he's suicidal. Maybe he's homicidal. Or not. But Bush didn't know when he made the son a topic of small talk.

Another answer is the completely honest "Alive, last I heard." That would have gone over even better than the comment about bring all the troops home, I'm sure.

Anyone inquiring about someone whose life is in danger is stepping on "touchy" ground, especially if the one inquiring is the guy who is responsible for the war which the parent is known to oppose. And in that case, it really doesn't matter whether the kid enlisted or not, because Bush was talking to the parent (a decidedly not peace activist sort of guy) not the kid.

But again, when the parent, caught off guard by the question, responds with a non-answer, the inquirer should back off, not "chastise" the parent and demand an answer to the allegedly polite inquiry. (If it was a polite inquiry, it ceased to be when it was repeated after that snarky "That's not what I asked.")

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Christie
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
But again, when the parent, caught off guard by the question, responds with a non-answer, the inquirer should back off, not "chastise" the parent and demand an answer to the allegedly polite inquiry. (If it was a polite inquiry, it ceased to be when it was repeated after that snarky "That's not what I asked.")

I know others have mentioned this but I'd be angry if someone treated me like this and I'd be even angrier that they seemed to go out of their way not to mention my spouse or other children. It seems pretty clear that Bush had an agenda, pehaps in his own mind, a benign agenda - but regardless, singling out one child of several to focus on was surely not a coincidence. I'm going to give Bush some credit for knowing exactly what he was doing.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Again I ask, how is inquiring about the son "touchy?" There's a HUGE difference between not wanting to talk much about him in interviews, though Webb has talked politely about him in interviews, and a casual inquiry. It's ridiculous that so many people seem to think Webb doesn't want anyone to ever mention his son.

pinqy

You do know that you are coming across as an insensitive jerk, don't you? And it's surprising because we would expect some compassion from you towards parents whose children are serving in Iraq.

I can't read your mind Sara. I'm sure that in your head this response has some bearing to what I wrote, but I can't fathom it. Obviously you disagree, but why and how are unstated. I have no clue what you think is insensitive or jerkish about my post. There is a difference between a formal interview and informal chit-chat at a reception. There is a different dynamic between host/guest and reporter/candidate. That Webb would want to avoid a lot of questions about his son in interviews does not mean he's adverse to people inquiring about his son's well-being. From his response to Bush, we can infer hostility towards Bush but that does not mean he's opposed to anyone asking the question. But my impression from what you have said is that you think that Webb would be hostile towards almost anyone asking how is son was.

quote:
If Bush was just making polite small talk by asking about the son in the military (and ignoring everyone else in Webb's family) it would be a bit of a slap in the face for Webb to think that his child, whose life is in danger simply because of where he is, is the topic of small talk.
That makes zero sense. I know many people serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know people whose children are serving. I've never met anyone who responde with hostility to a casual inquiry about their friends or family over there.


quote:
War is serious stuff, and you know it. Under those circumstances, it is tacky as hell to expect a father to smile and respond with a polite but meaningless "Fine, thank you," to a "How's your boy?"
You're the only person I've ever met who considers it tacky. I was in Kuwait during Desert Storm and people would as my folks all the time how I was. They appreciated the concern. RangerDog in this very thread didn't think the question itself was tacky.

quote:
On the other hand, there are honest answers. One variation would be to tell the Commander in Chief how the son is doing -- which may or may not be well.
Which he refused to do. That's tacky.


quote:
Another answer is the completely honest "Alive, last I heard." That would have gone over even better than the comment about bring all the troops home, I'm sure.
You're talking like being sent to Iraq is a death sentence. It's not.

quote:
Anyone inquiring about someone whose life is in danger is stepping on "touchy" ground, especially if the one inquiring is the guy who is responsible for the war which the parent is known to oppose.
I disagree. First, Jimmy Webb's life may or may not be in danger. I don't know what unit he's with or what his MOS is. There's a general danger, to be sure, but as of Nov 06 there were approx 152,000 troops in Iraq. From Jan-Nov there were 748 dead. That's less than half a percent. Add in the wounded and the percentage goes up to 5%. [edited to correct bad math] There are other fields, such as construction, mining, fishing, that also have high fatality rates[end edit] Is it tacky to inquire as to the well being of a son or daughter in one of those fields?


quote:
And in that case, it really doesn't matter whether the kid enlisted or not, because Bush was talking to the parent (a decidedly not peace activist sort of guy) not the kid.
Bush is responsible for the war. He is not responsible for any individual joining the military.

quote:
But again, when the parent, caught off guard by the question, responds with a non-answer, the inquirer should back off, not "chastise" the parent and demand an answer to the allegedly polite inquiry. (If it was a polite inquiry, it ceased to be when it was repeated after that snarky "That's not what I asked.")
Why do you think Webb was caught off guard?

pinqy

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Again I ask, how is inquiring about the son "touchy?" There's a HUGE difference between not wanting to talk much about him in interviews, though Webb has talked politely about him in interviews, and a casual inquiry. It's ridiculous that so many people seem to think Webb doesn't want anyone to ever mention his son.

pinqy

You do know that you are coming across as an insensitive jerk, don't you? And it's surprising because we would expect some compassion from you towards parents whose children are serving in Iraq.

I can't read your mind Sara. I'm sure that in your head this response has some bearing to what I wrote, but I can't fathom it. Obviously you disagree, but why and how are unstated. I have no clue what you think is insensitive or jerkish about my post.



While obviously I can't read Sara's mind either, I rather think she's talking about your general behaviour through the whole thread rather than merely this one post. So far on this thread you've ignored perfectly polite questions that have been made of you, demanded other people provide citations to disprove your arguments and impugned the intelligence of the people with whom you're arguing.

In your efforts to illustrate what is and what isn't courteous, you appear to have gone out of your way to show us exactly what isn't courteous. I don't know why you've done this, and it did strike me as somewhat out of character, but maybe if people repeatedly object to your discourtesy there's something to it?

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:

I can't read your mind Sara. I'm sure that in your head this response has some bearing to what I wrote, but I can't fathom it. Obviously you disagree, but why and how are unstated. I have no clue what you think is insensitive or jerkish about my post.


Apparently you aren't aware of it. My apologies for the false assumption.

I am aware that you can't read my words; I wouldn't expect you to read my mind, though you seem to have tried and failed miserably every time.

quote:
That makes zero sense. I know many people serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know people whose children are serving. I've never met anyone who responde with hostility to a casual inquiry about their friends or family over there.

For the life of me I don't understand how "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," is a hostile statement. And don't bother trying to explain it to me, no one will ever convince me that it is. It is a simply statement of fact which anyone familiar with Webb (as Bush & Co. are) knows to be true. It is a non-answer to a personal question, an approved answer as per Miss Manners. Only a Bush Apologist desperately trying to justify Bush's arrogance will call that response "hostile".

quote:
You're the only person I've ever met who considers it tacky. I was in Kuwait during Desert Storm and people would as my folks all the time how I was. They appreciated the concern. RangerDog in this very thread didn't think the question itself was tacky.

But you were "fine" and the people asking your parents were concerned, they weren't just making small talk. But you didn't read my post correctly; I said the expectation of a particular answer is tacky, not the question.

quote:
quote:
On the other hand, there are honest answers. One variation would be to tell the Commander in Chief how the son is doing -- which may or may not be well.
Which he refused to do. That's tacky.

No, it's not. Just because someone asks you what you consider to be a highly personal question does not mean you are obligated to answer it. Did anyone teach you manners? Did you learn nothing from the Miss Manners' quotes in this thread?

quote:
You're talking like being sent to Iraq is a death sentence. It's not.

Pulled another one out your ass. No, I'm not talking like that but sure as hell too many of our troops have died there and every parent who has a child there lives with the fear that their child might.

quote:
quote:
Anyone inquiring about someone whose life is in danger is stepping on "touchy" ground, especially if the one inquiring is the guy who is responsible for the war which the parent is known to oppose.
I disagree. First, Jimmy Webb's life may or may not be in danger. I don't know what unit he's with or what his MOS is. There's a general danger, to be sure, but as of Nov 06 there were approx 152,000 troops in Iraq. From Jan-Nov there were 748 dead. That's less than half a percent. Add in the wounded and the percentage goes up to 5%. Construction, fishing, mining, transportation, all have much higher fatality rates than the US military in Iraq. Is it tacky to inquire as to the well being of a son or daughter in one of those fields?

Well, there you go with the "tacky" again, and I already pointed out that you misread the original comment that contained it. But getting back to "touchy," I know many people who don't inquire about family members of acquaintances because, for issues like age or physical health, the topic is "touchy". Just a week ago, someone asked me how my parents are and was appalled when I responded that they both had died. I wasn't upset, but the person asking the question was. Some people don't ask because it's "touchy", the original word in this context.

quote:
quote:
And in that case, it really doesn't matter whether the kid enlisted or not, because Bush was talking to the parent (a decidedly not peace activist sort of guy) not the kid.
Bush is responsible for the war. He is not responsible for any individual joining the military.
So what? That doesn't mean that a parent can't be angry about Bush's War and how it's been waged. If Bush (and you) fail to recognize that, it's simply another example of the Bush (and Bush apologist's) arrogance.

quote:
Why do you think Webb was caught off guard?

pinqy

Because Webb made every effort to avoid Bush only to have Bush seek him out. Because Webb doesn't read minds and would have no clue what Bush wanted to discuss. Because, it would seem to me, that Bush wouldn't casually bring up anything related to the war with a man who was elected in part because he opposed Bush's War. Do you think Webb should have anticipated what Bush was going to ask and script an appropriate response in advance?

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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pinqy
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Sara, have you ever once admitted that you could ever be unclear in your posts? It could well be that I only remember these occassions, but my impression is that if anyone ever has a different interpretation of your words than what you meant, it's always their fault. Like in this case where I outright ask you to explain further what you meant because it's clear I'm not getting your meaning, yet you refuse.

pinqy

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
Sara, have you ever once admitted that you could ever be unclear in your posts? It could well be that I only remember these occassions, but my impression is that if anyone ever has a different interpretation of your words than what you meant, it's always their fault. Like in this case where I outright ask you to explain further what you meant because it's clear I'm not getting your meaning, yet you refuse.

pinqy

I see no need to "admit" that I could be unclear in my posts any more than I need to "admit" I may be unclear in what I say in RL. The default is that everyone will be unclear at times. When that occurs, the proper response is to politely ask for clarification. That is not accomplished by twisting one's words, making a statement, attributing it to the speaker and adding a question mark.

While I find it amusing and ironic in light of your earlier exchange with trollface that you have now accused me of ignoring a question, I must admit that I don't know what question I have ignored. I thought I answered all your questions, if not directly, indirectly; I apologize if I missed one.

ETA: Nor do I see where you have asked for a clarification. Please point me in the right direction.

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Dara bhur gCara
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:

While I find it amusing and ironic in light of your earlier exchange with trollface that you have now accused me of ignoring a question,

Or indeed while he's continuing to ignore me.

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pinqy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara Claus at home:
I see no need to "admit" that I could be unclear in my posts any more than I need to "admit" I may be unclear in what I say in RL. The default is that everyone will be unclear at times. When that occurs, the proper response is to politely ask for clarification. That is not accomplished by twisting one's words, making a statement, attributing it to the speaker and adding a question mark.

This is what I'm talking about. I've never twisted your words. I've restated what it seemed your position was. My question marks were used to ask questions. When I write "So your position is....?" I'm asking if that is your position. Yet it's hard for me to recall any time where you took the trouble to say "no, what I'm saying is...." instead of accusing me of twisting your words without any clarification of what you really mean.

quote:
While I find it amusing and ironic in light of your earlier exchange with trollface that you have now accused me of ignoring a question, I must admit that I don't know what question I have ignored.

There's a difference. I did not respond to all of Trollface's posts and he accused me of intentionally ignoring him. You have responded to my posts, quoted me, yet not addressed the points I was making. If I was unclear, you could ask. If I continue to ask a question, it's because I'm not understanding your answer. In my previous post I wrote:
quote:
Again I ask, how is inquiring about the son "touchy?" There's a HUGE difference between not wanting to talk much about him in interviews, though Webb has talked politely about him in interviews, and a casual inquiry. It's ridiculous that so many people seem to think Webb doesn't want anyone to ever mention his son.
You quoted me and replied:
quote:
You do know that you are coming across as an insensitive jerk, don't you? And it's surprising because we would expect some compassion from you towards parents whose children are serving in Iraq.
I still don't know what that has to do with what I wrote. Perhaps you meant it in a general way, as Dara suggested, but it's still unclear as to what prompted that response.

quote:
I thought I answered all your questions, if not directly, indirectly; I apologize if I missed one.
I have asked several times why people seem to think that Webb is touchy about being asked how his son is. You have asserted that it is touchy to ask about a child in a combat zone, but since that is not my experience I wonder why you think that way. And why you think that Webb in particular is touchy about it. I don't think you've adequately addressed those questions.

pinqy

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by pinqy:
This is what I'm talking about. I've never twisted your words. I've restated what it seemed your position was. My question marks were used to ask questions.

I explained the proper way to ask questions eariler, I don't think I should have to repeat it. Statements with question marks at the end are not* questions.

quote:
When I write "So your position is....?" I'm asking if that is your position. Yet it's hard for me to recall any time where you took the trouble to say "no, what I'm saying is...." instead of accusing me of twisting your words without any clarification of what you really mean.

When you state "so your position is...." and then misrepresent my position, the answer, if I assume you mean that as a question is "No." That style doesn't ask what my position is it just asks me if what you have twisted my words to mean is what I meant. That is a piss poor way to communicate.

quote:

There's a difference. I did not respond to all of Trollface's posts and he accused me of intentionally ignoring him. You have responded to my posts, quoted me, yet not addressed the points I was making. If I was unclear, you could ask.


I didn't ignore all your posts, and with the exception of the other day when I just couldn't take it anymore, I responded to all of them. I believed I was responding, I believed I understood you (with the exception of the times we specifically asked what you meant), I believe you were clear if illogical and insensitive so I had no reason to ask you for clarification.

quote:
If I continue to ask a question, it's because I'm not understanding your answer. In my previous post I wrote:
quote:
Again I ask, how is inquiring about the son "touchy?" There's a HUGE difference between not wanting to talk much about him in interviews, though Webb has talked politely about him in interviews, and a casual inquiry. It's ridiculous that so many people seem to think Webb doesn't want anyone to ever mention his son.
You quoted me and replied:
quote:
You do know that you are coming across as an insensitive jerk, don't you? And it's surprising because we would expect some compassion from you towards parents whose children are serving in Iraq.
I still don't know what that has to do with what I wrote. Perhaps you meant it in a general way, as Dara suggested, but it's still unclear as to what prompted that response.

Bad form on my part, I suppose. I should have set aside the comment about appearing to be an insensitive jerk with [aside][/aside].

quote:
quote:
I thought I answered all your questions, if not directly, indirectly; I apologize if I missed one.
I have asked several times why people seem to think that Webb is touchy about being asked how his son is. You have asserted that it is touchy to ask about a child in a combat zone, but since that is not my experience I wonder why you think that way. And why you think that Webb in particular is touchy about it. I don't think you've adequately addressed those questions.

pinqy

If that's the case, then you don't agree with my response but you cannot say I didn't respond. I believe my response absolutely addresses those questions more than adequately.

ETA: I really wish you would use the default [ qb] instead of [ b]. The board is moving so slow for me even using the Preview post option is a chore.

*ETA: not

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Sara at home
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FWIW, pinqy, you don't ask questions, you make statements then demand that people respond as though you asked a question.

Funny that it seems so difficult for you to form a question.

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Simply Madeline
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Why Webb may have been 'touchy'.
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trollface
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Well, I think that does make Bush's second statement, at the very least, rather rude.

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seriously , everyone on here , just trys to give someone crap about something they do !! , its shitting me to tears.

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DesertRat
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It would not be proper of me to comment on tyhe political aspect of this. I will however say from a personal perspective, whenever you ask a a parent about such a sensitive topic as a child who's gone to war, you have to be prepared for any answer you get... it's not quite the same as asking "How were the kids at soccer practice yesterday?"

People shouldn't ask "innocent questions" about such potentially loaded issues, and then be surprised when they recieve something more than an empty polite answer.

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Mistletoey Chloe
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I think that's nicely put, DR. And when you add in a) that the person asking the question is the person responsible for the troops being over there in the first place and b)is also a person who has tried to get laughs out of sending soldiers to die under false pretences, and c) the person being asked has very recently heard that his son came close to death over there, I would be more surprised by a conventionally polite answer than the one Webb appears to have given.

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Sara at home
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In view of the information in SM's link, you can't blame a father for wanting his son home. The best response is to want everybody's child home, not just one's own.

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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pinqy said: "I have asked several times why people seem to think that Webb is touchy about being asked how his son is. You have asserted that it is touchy to ask about a child in a combat zone, but since that is not my experience I wonder why you think that way. And why you think that Webb in particular is touchy about it. I don't think you've adequately addressed those questions."

Let me try to explain this in simple language.

pinqy, you don't think that it is touchy to ask about a child in a combat zone. We get that. Well, asking you to explain why you don't think it is a touchy subject would be just as stupid as your asking others to explain why they think it is, so I won't do that.

Probably, asking a person about a child in a combat zone would not be a touchy subject between friends when the person asking sincerely cares about said child. In the case of the Bush/Webb conversation, however, they are not friends, and I seriously doubt that Mr. Bush sincerely cares about Mr. Webb's son.

As for the majority of us taking part in this thread thinking "Webb in particular is touchy about it," it might just be because he didn't talk about it while campaigning, he has been quoted as saying he didn't want to discuss his son, and it appears that he thinks none too highly of either Mr. Bush or of the war in Iraq.

But, as usual, I digress from my main point, which is that you don't think it is a touchy subject, while others do. How in the heck can you provide an explanation for the way you feel about something? The last time I checked, opinion was subjective. Has that changed? Did I not get the memo? What?

Someone in another thread gave this example:
A says, "Tabasco is hot."
B says, "Tabasco is not hot."
Get the picture? I thought so.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
RangerDog
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I think the fact that he went out of his way to quietly (not in front of others) ask about Jimmy after knowing about Jimmy's *brush with death* speaks volumes. Mr. Bush has his faults, and I am not blindly supporting of him but I truely believe that he does care about the troops. I believe that at that moment he genuinely cared about how Jimmy was doing. To me it also tells why he sought Mr. Webb out and why he didn't immediately ask about the rest of his family. I can picture a follow-on question:

Webb: "Jimmy's fine now. We need to work to get those kids home."
Bush: "Good. Hows his Momma and sisters holding up?"

See? Now I am an admitted pessimist, and I try to see always the good in people. George Bush was not wringing his hands in the corner, prior to the reception thinking, "Boy oh boy, I'm going to **** with Jim Webb today."

Web could have turned the whole thing to his advantage by turning the other cheek. Doesn't make him a very savy politician but since he's never been in politics before this I hope he learned a good lesson.

RangerDog

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Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

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Mad Jay
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by RangerDog:
I think the fact that he went out of his way to quietly (not in front of others) ask about Jimmy after knowing about Jimmy's *brush with death* speaks volumes. Mr. Bush has his faults, and I am not blindly supporting of him but I truely believe that he does care about the troops. I believe that at that moment he genuinely cared about how Jimmy was doing. To me it also tells why he sought Mr. Webb out and why he didn't immediately ask about the rest of his family. I can picture a follow-on question:

Webb: "Jimmy's fine now. We need to work to get those kids home."
Bush: "Good. Hows his Momma and sisters holding up?"

See? Now I am an admitted pessimist, and I try to see always the good in people. George Bush was not wringing his hands in the corner, prior to the reception thinking, "Boy oh boy, I'm going to **** with Jim Webb today."

Web could have turned the whole thing to his advantage by turning the other cheek. Doesn't make him a very savy politician but since he's never been in politics before this I hope he learned a good lesson.

RangerDog

RD,

IMO, Bush should have been the one who, as you say, turned the other cheek, simply because Webb has a child in harm's way and Bush doesn't.

Like you, I beleive Bush didn't ask the question with malicious intent. I think Webb was being honest, and perhaps didn't consider that his response might be seen as a slight by the President. At that point, Bush should have ignored the slight and showed sympathy and concern. Like DR said "whenever you ask a a parent about such a sensitive topic as a child who's gone to war, you have to be prepared for any answer you get"

I can't fathom that our Commander-in-Chief, who has sent our young to war, would be so insensitive as to be unprepared for an answer that he doesn't like. Did he honestly beleive that not even one parent would bristle at the question? Did he really beleive all parents would be glad that he has asked them about the kid? Does he really think that all parents who have heard about their kid's brush with death would be able to keep their composure? I can't decide whether Bush is insensitive or naive or both.

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Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

Posts: 4912 | From: VA | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
RangerDog
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Naive is my take. And after thinking about it, I agree (even looking through my rose colored glasses) that the President could have/should have taken the high road. It is the better part of valor, after all. And unfortunatly, hindsight is 20/20.

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Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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You know I'd really rather believe the president of the most powerful nation on earth was insensitive if the only other choice someone gave me was that he was naive.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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