I should probably preface this post by placing the blame for its inspiration squarely on the shoulders of one current and one former member of the White House Press Corps. The current Press Corps member is none other than CBS News’ Mark Knoller. He has a very interesting Twitter feed (@markknoller) and tweets out some interesting details about White House life not found anywhere else. If President Obama sneaks out to Five Guys for a bacon double-cheeseburger, Mark will know what he topped it with. He’ll also keep you posted on the guest list for most any state dinner. I suspect Mark to be a closet “foodie” but again I digress.
The second (and former) White House Press Corps member is CNN’s latest addition to its fledgling political staff and former ABC Newsman Jake Tapper. Jake’s contribution to this post is what I believe to be the single best book written about the Afghanistan war entitled The Outpost.
This is not a book to be read, but rather an intensely detailed experience to be endured. It does not have a happy ending and the story he relates about this American outpost beats the reader about the head and shoulders.
Tapper relates the story of several injured soldiers whose wounds required them to be medically evacuated to field hospitals. Often these soldiers were then flown to Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany where the heroic medical staff works around the clock trying to save the lives of these American heroes. Many lives are saved at this facility. Far too many are not as fortunate.
I’m sure I’ve confused you by now as to the point of this post. Rest assured, Dear Reader, I do have a point.
In the past six months President Obama has boarded Air Force One for trips overseas which offered him the opportunity of refueling the Boeing 747 at Germany’s Ramstein Air Force Base. On November 12, 2012, Mark Knoller reported:
Air Force One done refueling at Ramstein and now on final 10hr leg of trip to Thailand. Pres Obama stayed on the plane. (Emphasis added)
And, just this past Saturday Knoller again took to Twitter to report:
After 11hr 36min flight, Pres Obama back from his Mideast trip. Flight home from Amman was 5,935 miles. Refueling stop in Germany bypassed. (Emphasis added)
Here’s my point. The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. In my humble opinion, this job is far and away the most important role of that office. It brings with it a responsibility unique to the relationship between a commander and his (or her) troops. Ramstein Air Force Base is but five kilometers from the Lanstuhl Regional Medical Center. The very least the Commander in Chief could do would be to take time out from his golf game, state dinner, fundraiser, or campaign event schedule and pay a visit to those who have given so much in the service of their nation.
He is, after all, the President of the United States. Air Force One goes where he says, stops where he says, and takes off when he says. It’s not like the plane is going to leave without him.
Perhaps I’m being small and petty. If I am, blame Tapper, Knoller, and Twitter.