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Kurtz found “irony” in Obama’s Baghdad visit because “Obama ran against the Iraq war”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 10th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Kurtz found “irony” in Obama’s Baghdad visit because “Obama ran against the Iraq war”

In his April 8 Washington Post “Media Notes” column, media critic Howard Kurtz wrote that President Obama, during his unannounced April 7 visit to Baghdad, took photographs with “whooping and hollering American soldiers,” adding: “The irony, of course, is that Obama ran against the Iraq war.” Kurtz, however, offered no explanation as to why Obama’s visit with troops in Iraq or their enthusiastic greeting is in any way incongruous with his opposition to the invasion of Iraq. As Media Matters for America has documented, several media figures and outlets have suggested that opposition to the Iraq war and support for U.S. troops are mutually exclusive.

Media Matters also noted CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric finding “irony” in the deaths of two soldiers in Iraq who had co-authored an op-ed opposing the war.

From Kurtz’s Arpil 8 column:

But the “surprise” visit soon became a cliche, as the likes of Don Rumsfeld, Condi Rice and Dick Cheney would periodically show up in Iraq and the novelty wore off. The trips were unannounced for legitimate security reasons, but they lost their impact, especially as the public turned fervently against the seemingly endless war.

But who was expecting President Obama to show up in Baghdad yesterday? The White House showed it can keep a secret and seized an opportunity to showcase Obama as a hands-on commander-in-chief. Pictures of a president with whooping and hollering American soldiers, in a war zone, have always been a plus.

The irony, of course, is that Obama ran against the Iraq war. Indeed, his primary candidacy against Hillary Clinton was built on his 2002 speech opposing the invasion, and as president he has done what he promised to a set a timetable for withdrawal.

But many things could go wrong — and in Afghanistan as well — so it can’t hurt a new president to be seen conducting an on-site inspection of the divisive war he inherited.

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