You really have to wonder about the American media questioning why a Commander-in-Chief would want to visit the country in which we have been involved in a war for over 6 years. Sure, VIP visits to Iraq are a bag of dicks for the logistics folks, but boosting diplomacy, listening to Generals, riling up morale for the troops is pretty par for the course in what we should expect from the President. However, TIME appears to view the Obama presidency as one big permanent campaign and poo-poos this visit:
Surprise stops on presidential journeys became the norm during Bush era, with the U.S. engaged in two foreign wars — where the Commander in Chief could not be guaranteed satisfactory security if his intention to visit the troops was announced ahead of time. Still, Baghdad was the wrong choice for Obama. Iraq is Bush's war — or Bush's folly, depending on your point of view. Obama's main contribution to Iraq has been to criticize the war while on the campaign trail, and then to begin drawing down the U.S. troop presence as soon as he became President.Uh, okay. No one is disputing that the OIF wasn't started by Bush, but does that mean Obama should just forget about it and not carry out his responsibilities? Fortunately, the President isn't that much of a dumbass.
This highlights the disconnect between American society and the fact that this is a time of war. When a long-running counter-insurgency/nation-building conflict is reduced to a campaign stop in the media, we shouldn't expect much public awareness of what's going on. MezzoSF emailed me that there's a new video game based on Fallujah 2004. Maybe that will raise consciousness...that or Obama bringing Kal Penn along on these overseas meet n' greets. That dude is fucking hilarious.