Bush flies at last

I'm with Glenn (and Sullivan, and NZB) on this one. Though given my lower opinion of Bush, I take my objections even further - IMHO pretending to be a fighter jock is a crass and cynical ploy to personalize the victory in Iraq. It's tantamount to disrespecting the sacrifices of our troops, for sheer political gain. Can you imagine the response if Clinton pulled this kind of stunt? The only President who could have pulled this off without triggerring my "craven PR manipulator" alarm is Bush Senior.

But I have to wonder if the flight time counts, after all these years, towards fulfilling W's ANG requirements? After all, it's a matter of heavily-documented public record that Bush stopped flying after 22 months within his unit of the Texas Air National Guard, and failed to show up for required Guard drills during a six-month stay in Alabama.

ah, well. Better late than never?

UPDATE: via Jeanne is this masterful photo-fisking by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post. Also David Corn weighs in.

UPDATE 2: via CNN:
There was no denying the ship's movements were carefully choreographed to benefit Bush. Commanders gauged the wind and glided along at precisely that speed so that sea breezes would not blow across the ship during Bush's speech. That could create unwanted noise, Daniels said. When the wind shifted during the speech, the ship changed course to minimize the breeze, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Terrance Rice. The camera angle also was arranged by the White House to ensure it did not show the nearby coastline. A huge banner reading "Mission Accomplished" was strung along the bridge and loomed behind Bush. The Navy sent all but a couple of fighter jets off the plane Wednesday and Thursday. Those left behind were left on the flight deck as props for Bush's speech. The 1,100-foot-long carrier steamed near the San Diego coast all night to come in at its appointed time Friday morning.

Bush: Supported Vietnam War, but daddy got him into National Guard ahead of huge waiting list so he could avoid combat. Appears to have been AWOL for last year of service. Still hasn�t explained actual reason for war in Iraq and lied to get people to support it. Cuts veteran�s benefits... Bush can dress up like G.I. Joe, Superman, Captain Kirk and Han Solo rolled into one if he wants to, but it won�t change reality.

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