I heard about this somewhere last week, but ThinkProgress has a piece about it this morning, so I'll get around to mentioning it, too.
After the election, the White House held a private reception for Congressional newbies (because God knows they won't be wined and dined enough in the years to come). President Bush approached new Virginia Senator Jim Webb and asked, "How's your boy?" Webb, whose son is a Marine stationed in Iraq, replied, "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President." To which George, gentleman and bastion of couth that he is, replied, "That's not what I asked you." Webb, in lieu of knocking the Chief Executive unconscious, said, "That's between me and my boy," and walked off, which to me seems like a restrained and reasonable response.
Not all would agree. Conservative commentators have lined up to shit on Webb for behaving rudely to the President. Bill O'Reilly, for Christ's sake, called Webb disrespectful. In case you didn't get that, Bill O'Reilly, the guy who once berated and cut the microphone of a son of a 9/11 victim on national television, called Jim Webb's response to George W. Bush disrespectful. All Bush wanted to do was make a gesture of friendship to Webb, let him know those boys over in Iraq are in the President's heart, and that he would never even dream of exploiting them to improve the standing of himself or his party.
If Bush wants to make a real gesture to Webb and all the other parents and family of troops serving in Iraq, he should talk Jenna and Barbara into enlisting. For all his talk about empathy and understanding, Bush has no clue how these people are feeling. Some of them support the war, some of them oppose it, but all of them face the possibility that someone they love might not make it home alive or in one piece, and there's nothing they can do about it. Worst of all, that sacrifice and all those already made by Americans and Iraqis alike may very likely turn out to be for nothing. There's no noble cause here, no great goal – Bush can't tell us what we're doing there in any way that makes sense. Bush doesn't get it. No one in Congress, with the possible exception of Webb, gets it. Fuck, I don't get it. I'm lucky enough not to have anyone to worry about over there. Millions of people around the world who know someone in the war zone don't share that luck, and some of them might have reacted just as Jim Webb did when approached by the man who sent their loved one over there. Some might have reacted not with mild rudeness but with violence. While his faithful bitches at the National Review and Fox News work overtime to trash Webb, Bush should be grateful he didn't get a lot worse. God knows he's got it coming.