Bush wearing a fatigue jacket during a speech -- Is this wrong?

I work for a satellite TV company, and in our lobby we have about 20 screens on all the time, I imagine to impress visitors with the awesome quantity and variety of channels that our satellites broadcast.

I noticed on one, as I walked in today, that Bush was giving a speech, and he was wearing a very military-looking olive drab colored fatigue jacket. Incidentally the screens are all silent, so I can’t tell you what he was speaking about. Anyway, the question for me is, should a civilian leader of a democracy make public appearances in military garb? I know he’s the commander in chief of our nation’s military forces, but the idea of a President choosing to appear in such clothing is a little unsettling. This is mainly because it’s traditionally been associated with military dictators and other assorted “strongmen” in small countries. Fidel Castro, to cite only one well known example, often used to wear fatigues, although in recent years even he seems to favor business suits.

What do non-American Dopers think of this? I couldn’t imagine Tony Blair wearing military clothes in public, nor Gerhard Schroeder.

I just realized that non-American dopers might not know that “W.” stands for George W. Bush.

Could you please change the “W.” in my title to “Bush”?

Well, I think that the fact he was visiting Fort Hood in an official capacity would make him wearing fatigues fairly appropriate. He was performing some sort of inspection.

An article on the event.

No problem.

Considering he spent the Vietnam War safe in the Texas National Guard, I really wish he wouldn’t dress up like a soldier anywhere people can see him.

I think there is a huge difference between this and a uniformed dictator. Whenever a V.I.P. visits a military unit, they are almost always presented some type of “souvenir”. It’s usually just a ball cap or jacket. Today, he got a jacket with his name on it. Presidents must get thousands of caps and jackets from everywhere they’ve been. He most likely arrived in a suit and tie, took the suit jacket off and donned the gift jacket for his speech. He still had on the shirt and tie under the jacket. It happens almost every time.

The seperation of military and government is important. He should not have worn the fatigue jacket, he should always wear a suit & tie befitting his office.

Seems to me akin to officers fraternizing with enlisted men.

The President? In public? Wearing a field jacket? In the style of Fidel, Arafat and God knows how many tin horn Third World dictators? My God in Heaven, the terrorists have won!

Come on, people, as long as he doesn’t wear any insignia or badges he isn’t entitled to it’s just a costume from L.L. Bean.

Guys, every president does this. Often they are presented with a Jacket bearing the insignia of a squadron they are visiting, or even a special one with the presidential seal on it, and they wear it to honor the men. Reagan used to have a black leather flight jacket given to him by some squadron somewhere, and he wore it often. Same with Bush Sr.

I can’t remember if Clinton did (I think he did), but if he didn’t, it’s probably because no one gave him a jacket and it wouldn’t have been seemly to wear one of his own if the military didn’t offer one. They really didn’t like the guy.

Besides, the President is Commander in Chief, and Bush was a member of the Armed Forces. He probably owns several military jackets like that.

Btw, they are also popular among civilians. I have an identical B-2 jacket like the one Bush was wearing, except without insignia. I also have an A2 flight jacket. I bought both simply because they are excellent outer wear. Light, warm, and they last forever. There are still WWII vets who wear their A2’s regularly, and have for the last 60 years.

He was given the jacket as a souvenir by the troops he was addressing (or at least by their CO) - it would’ve been rude for him not to wear it to show his appreciation. It’s very common, and is done for distinguished visitors quite often (including foreign dignitaries or officers), and considering all the times I saw Bill Clinton wearing military jackets and caps while giving speeches, I think any "controversy’ stirred up over Mr Bush wearing that jacket is particularly stupid.

Sam, whether he was liked or not, Mr Clinton was the Commander-in-Chief while he was President and received the appropriate level of respect by the military. What military personnel thought of him on their own time was their own business, but when a member of the military is on duty the President is the President and is treated accordingly. Mr Clinton was given plenty of souvenir jackets and caps during his tenure.


Exactly. This is even worse than his usual Buckaroo Bush getups.

And didn’t he spend most of that AWOL?

He has a protocol person whose job it is to warn him if he is doing something inappropriate, so I’m guessing it’s not inappropriate. Didn’t his father also wear fatigues when he visited the troops during Desert Storm?

Always Willingly dOing Lines. :wink:

Actually, Bush wasn’t more safe. His job was more dangerous than the average soldier shipped to Vietnam.

He spent 3500 hours sitting in the cockpit of a Century-series fighter jet. Just flying those things on stateside patrols was plenty dangerous. Bush lost a couple of members of his squadron to operational accidents.

Kilt-Wearin’ Man: You’re right.

Public Relations Image.
Image, image, image.

Same as wearing a hard hat when talking to construction workers (as if he will be anywhere that a hard hat would be necessary).

Same as wearing a VFW hat when talking to Veterans Of Foreign Wars. Same as wearing jeans when talking to farmers.

I loathe Bush, but he is playing the game. Every President does it.

I long to see the first Presidential candidate NOT wearing a red tie, white shirt, and blue suit.


There were several occasions, especially early on his Presidency, where that was absolutely not the case. He was openly mocked, within earshot of reporters and other objective observers.

That SAM fire from New Mexico was a bitch.

Really? I’d be surprised if that were the case. Do you have a cite for that?