"OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"
"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.
"Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.
"Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.
And so it went.
"If the question comes up about partnering -- how often do we train with the Iraqi military -- who does he go to?" Barber asked.
"That's going to go to Captain Pratt," one of the soldiers said.
"And then if we're going to talk a little bit about the folks in Tikrit -- the hometown -- and how they're handling the political process, who are we going to give that to?" she asked.
Before he took questions, Bush thanked the soldiers for serving and reassured them that the U.S. would not pull out of Iraq until the mission was complete.
"So long as I'm the president, we're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory," Bush said.
So who do Malkin, et al. turn to try and debunk the story? Why a rightwing milblogger, Ron Long, who just happened to be one of the 10 soldiers who were chosen to appear with the president. Imagine the odds!
However, Long doesn't debunk the charge, he confirms it, using lots of bold print to make sure he gets his point across. "First of all, we were told that we would be speaking with the President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, so I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us NOT to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President." Long then channels Merle Haggard, circa 1970:
It makes my stomach ache to think that we are helping to preserve free speech in the US, while the media uses that freedom to try to RIP DOWN the President and our morale, as US Soldiers. They seem to be enjoying the fact that they are tearing the country apart. Worthless!This latest attempt to stage manage reality by the Bush administration is very much a venial sin. After five years of buying columnists, creating and distributing fake news reports and never missing an opportunity to use the military as a backdropfor the president, I could only laugh when I saw it on the news. The Bush administration's attempts to manage reality aren't working anymore. It is a cliche, but an apt one. The curtain has been pulled and the Wizard exposed as a fraud.