Gateway Pundit clipped this yesterday and today it made the big time. I get the revulsion at photo ops with fallen soldiers, believe me, but look: He didn’t go to Dover as a prelude to pulling out. Even under the “McChrystal light” strategy that he’s toying with right now, we’re still talking about a build-up of some kind. If he had gone to Dover as a prelude to withdrawing, this photo would symbolize his willingness to abandon Afghanistan and, by extension, U.S. interests because he’s simply unwilling to accept casualties. Doing that on the backs of the dead, who fought valorously to win, would be intolerable. Going to Dover before a build-up symbolizes the opposite, that he is willing to accept the political consequences of further casualties to defend U.S. interests. Conveying that message by posing with a casket is dicey (although he did have the family’s permission), but it’s much more vivid than simply having a press pool reporter write it up — just as the photos of jumpers on 9/11 are much more vivid in communicating the stakes of terrorism than print accounts.
Look at it this way. A year from now, after many months more of hard fighting and men killed in action, which side is more likely to be angrily waving this photo in his face? Conservative hawks or the leftist doves in his own base? The answer is obvious, and don’t think he doesn’t know it. Yet he went and took the photo anyway. As a show of “tenacity” before the anti-war crowd that’s starting to shout at him about quagmires, you can do worse than this.