Cam Edwards links a FindLaw/Reuters story about operational security on President Bush’s Thanksgiving trip to Baghdad:

President Bush’s flight plan was falsified last week to hide his Thanksgiving Day visit to Iraq, the White House said on Thursday, in another example of the extraordinary — and deceptive — steps taken in arranging the battle-zone trip.

Critics have said admitted deceptions over the trip threaten Bush’s credibility, which has also been challenged on larger issues such as his assertions Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction that have not been found.

On Thursday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan read for reporters a British air traffic control statement that the flight plan filed for the trip said the plane was a Gulfstream 5, rather than Air Force One.

He described the step as a reasonable security precaution on a visit intended to boost morale for U.S. troops, who are serving extended deployments in Iraq and threatened by insurgent attacks.

“The American people understand the importance of not compromising security, not only for the president of the United States, but for those on board the plane and those on the ground as well,” McClellan said

But David Wise, author of the 1973 book “The Politics of Lying,” said, “The trip certainly I’m sure gave a morale boost to the troops, but that’s almost beside the point.”

“The question is, should the government engage in lying in order to essentially … protect a photo op? The answer is, no it shouldn’t,” he said. “It’s a serious business when government lies, and eventually it does hurt a government and a president’s credibility.”

Bush, speaking at the annual ceremony for the national Christmas tree on Thursday, made light of his stealthy travel.

“He travels in the dark of night. He arrives unannounced. And he’s gone before you know he was there. Santa, I can assure you it’s a lot easier on a flying sled than it is on Air Force One.”

Does anyone really thinka bit of OpSec for a president flying into a combat zone is a bad thing? Or tantamount to lying on a matter of substance?

Bonus points to Cam for the clever post title, “Bush Lied, Turkeys Died.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Give me a break. Just goes to show how desperatly some folks want a Bush scandal. Sheesh.

  2. That our politics has devolved to a Manichean hell of ‘my side is pure and your’s is evil incarnate’ is the fault of strategists and operatives of both the Dems and the Repubs (eg. the repugnant and ethically challenged opportunists James Carville and Mary Matalin). We would benefit a LOT from more competition in Party availability and choice.

  3. JW says:

    And if there hadn’t been all the security and subterfuge and Air Force One was blown out of the sky by a shoulder-fired missle? There’d be courtmartials all around with Reuters leading a howling pack of media jackals. There’s no satisfying some people. . . .

  4. Owen Fear says:

    In a quickly spoken, broken moment last week with Donald Rumsfeld in reference to Sadaam’s
    “rat hole” he cracked in prophetic humor: “looks suspiciously like Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location” Go figure!