Rich Galen

President Barack Obama made a trip to Afghanistan to put an exclamation point on the anniversary of the attack which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

Air Force One costs about $180,000 per hour to operate. Just the travel from Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington, DC to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan was about 26 hours round trip.

Just the cost of the plane up and back, then cost American taxpayers just under a half million dollars. As one reporter I talked to last night pointed out, "That doesn't even include the cost of the box lunches."

Just as the President was beginning to speak last night I tweeted:

Here's everything you need to know about Obama's trip: GWB went to Iraq on Thanksgiving. Obama went to AFG on the anniversary of bin Laden.

As it happened I was in Iraq when George W showed up, but I was not at the event because I had been there that afternoon and was busy writing a MULLINGS about Thanksgiving outside the Green Zone.

If you don't remember it, you can catch up by clicking HERE.

About eight people knew about the visit of President Bush and there was no reason for me to have been one of them.

I was told that at one point the White House Director of Advance came to the Palace in Baghdad to go over the event with Ambassador Paul Bremer. Someone was assigned to walk the route from the SUV to Bremer's office to make certain I wasn't, by sheer happenstance, walking around.

The theory was, if I had seen the guy from the White House I would have known the President was coming.

That's how closely these types of trips are held.

A President going into a war zone is a big deal to the troops in the war zone. He is the Commander-in-Chief meaning he is their boss' boss' boss' boss' boss' boss' boss.

I think I got that right, but I might be missing a "boss" or two.

When George W. made the "Mission Accomplished" trip to the USS Abraham Lincoln after we had taken control of Iraq in 2003, it was every bit a political trip as Obama's was last night.

But, it was not a campaign trip, which Obama's was last night.

The Obama campaign is trying to walk a very fine line between being seen as tough on America's enemies while not overly annoying the crowd who actually believed him when he said that he would do things like close the prison at Guantánamo.

But he forgot to think about what to do with the people who want to kill us who are housed there after he closed it.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at