Washington, DC (Rotters) - In a quiet ceremony today, President Bush recognized the efforts of Air Force Staff Sergeant Michelle Manhart with a Medal of Freedom. Manhart will be appearing in the February issue of Playboy magazine due to hit newsstands this week. The magazine features a partially clothed as well as completely nude picture of Manhart in a feature article entitled "Tough Love". As a result of the controversial spread, Manhart has been relieved of her duties at Lackland Air Force Base.
A tearful Bush apologized for the heavy-handed response of Manhart's superiors and promised to make sure she was reinstated as the behavior of the commanding officer in question was investigated.
"I've spoken to a lot of our fine young men who are now serving their third and fourth tours in Iraq," stated Bush. "The number one thing that virtually all of them have said that they enjoy the most in care packages from home is pornography. Sergeant Manhart has made a real personal sacrifice that should not go unrecognized, and my resolve has stiffened thanks to her."
Manhart, a mother with two children, has been in the Air Force since 1994, and has actually spent time in the Middle East theater, serving in Kuwait in 2002. Under the president's recent announcement of a troop surge of 21,000, Pentagon sources stated that there was a high likelihood of Manhart's deployment to Iraq.
"Tough love is a fairly nice description of this administration's new way forward in Iraq, as we attempt to get the Iraqi leadership to stop jerking around," concluded Bush. "Sergeant Manhart is a touchstone for the freedom and American values we are attempting to foster in a new, more democratic middle east. I hope that she will serve as an example of the sacrifices that we are asking of everyone in America."