Bush's ride in jet fighter was symbolic

Friday, May 9, 2003

Even the landing of a Navy jet carrying President Bush to a homeward-bound aircraft carrier couldn't escape the barbs of his critics.

The president used the occasion of his visit to the carrier to announce the end of major combat operations in Iraq, saying, "The United States and our allies have prevailed."

Bush's remarks were hailed by thousands of cheering Navy personnel who were, no doubt, glad to be nearing a U.S. port after nine and a half months at sea.

Many of the cheers were for a commander in chief who chose to add some zest to his landing rather than taking a safer -- and much more sedate -- helicopter ride to meet the USS Abraham Lincoln that was 30 miles from San Diego.

For millions of Americans, the president's trip to the carrier was regarded as a victory flight that sent a strong and positive message to U.S. troops everywhere who had risked so much to remove the intolerable yoke of Saddam Hussein's repressive regime.

Critics can always find something to target, no matter how uplifting an event like this. Let's just say that many Americans were as proud as the sailors on the Lincoln to see Bush make a grand entrance befitting of a proper welcome-home.

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