Battlefield tourism is the sour term occasionally used by soldiers when some group of distinguished visitors shows up in the deserts of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan. From the soldiers’ point of view, the itinerant pundits or officials are a nuisance. They require special care and handling, they ask dumb questions, they take up the time of harried commanders and sleep-deprived intelligence briefers, and they really don’t get what this enterprise is all about. The visitors will probably go back and brag about their time under fire when they have just been lounging around a safe forward operating base—but if they do force their way to a place where bombs go off or snipers shoot, they can be a real menace to others as well as themselves. And God help you if an unlucky rocket so much as nicks them or, infinitely worse, takes them out. The grunts may understand that everyone downrange is at the mercy of the hazards of war, but the higher-ups are unlikely to be so philosophical about it. Stuff happens, but it had better not happen to the distinguished visitor.
Of course, it’s a lot worse when it is the president who comes calling. Secret Service agents, who in the United States happily shut down half a dozen or more city blocks, nail blinds to windowsills, and give innocent pedestrians the fisheye during presidential visits, become obsessive-compulsive berserkers when the commander in chief of the armed forces (not of the United States, let it be clear, but only of the American military) goes to a war zone. Such visits require fleets of special vehicles and helicopters, extensive screening, extraordinary secrecy, and a zone flooded with armed men and women. They are a massive pain in the neck.