Bush Enjoys Vacation As Middle East Crisis Escalates

01/29/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In an effort to "prevent Palestinians from attacking towns in southern Israel with missiles," Israel today undertook its third day of offensive military airstrikes in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, raising the death toll to more than 300. The Palestinian casualty numbers have been described as the highest over such a brief period since the 1967 Six-Day war. Scores of Israelis have been wounded -- and at least one killed -- by rocket attacks fired by Palestinians. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the situation "all out war."

While Bush has been briefed on the situation by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, he has opted not to interrupt his final vacation as president to make a public statement on the crisis. For someone who has enjoyed the most vacation days as sitting president -- including days spent relaxing in comfort during Hurricane Katrina and in the lead-up to 9/11 -- it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that Bush prioritizes vacationing over crisis management.


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