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Our absent leader
Brattleboro Reformer (Vermont)
Last week was the deadliest for U.S. forces in Iraq since the war began.
The scene in Iraq remains unsettled and chaotic.
And where was our president?
On vacation, again.
George W. Bush, who has frequently spoke about how hard it is to be a "wartime president," is on his 49th vacation since taking office in 2001.
He is on a five-week vacation on his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the longest presidential vacation in nearly four decades.
As of today, our president has spent 325 days of his presidency on vacation -- more than 20 percent of his time in office.
While Bush did act concerned and mouthed the appropriate words of sorrow and resolve over last week's deaths, he didn't let it interrupt his vacation.
While he reiterated his tough talk about staying the course in Iraq and defeating the insurgency, he didn't let it interrupt his vacation.
And while the flag-draped coffins come home, one-by-one, to the suburbs of Cleveland where many of the dead Marine reservists left their families and their jobs and their comfortable lives behind to fight in Iraq, our president will still be at his ranch, resting from the hard work of sending other people off to fight for in a war he created.
It's no wonder that public approval of Bush's handling of the war has dropped to 38 percent, according to a recent Associated Press poll.
That's the lowest point so far.
But all this doesn't seem to faze our president. After all, he has another four weeks of vacation to enjoy.