Bush surprises troops in Baghdad
Nov. 27 â€” President Bush gets a loud welcome at Baghdad International Airport.
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 27 â€” President Bush made a surprise visit Thursday to U.S. troops in Baghdad, flying secretly to violence-scarred Iraq on a trip tense with concerns about his safety.
THE VISIT, timed to coincide with Thanksgiving, was the first trip ever by a U.S. president to Iraq.
Air Force One landed in darkness at Baghdad International Airport. Security fears were heightened by an attack Saturday in which a missile struck a DHL cargo plane, forcing it to make an emergency landing at the airport with its wing aflame.
Bush spend only about two hours on the ground, limiting his visit to a dinner at the airport with U.S. forces. The troops had been told that the VIP guests would be Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq.
"You are defending the American people from danger, and we are grateful,â€� Bush told 600 soldiers who were stunned and delighted by his appearance.
Bush spoke with soldiers from the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division at an airport mess hall. â€œYou are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq,â€� he said, â€œso we donâ€™t have to face them in our own country.â€�
Terrorists are testing Americaâ€™s resolve, Bush said, and â€œthey hope we will run.â€�
â€œWe did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins,â€� the president said, prompting a standing ovation and cheers.
Wearing an exercise jacket with a 1st Armored Division patch, Bush stood in a line for food, dished out sweet potatoes and corn for Thanksgiving dinner and posed with a platter of a fresh-baked turkey.
So we're all supposed to be impressed he snuck into Baghdad at the dead of night, took a few feel good pictures, and then went home two hours later?
Hey, it's a nice thing to do, and of course, it trumps Hillary's trip to our forgotten war in Afghanistan. But I would be more impressed if he had gone to Walter Reed's Ward 57 instead. I think they need a presidential visit more than the rear area troops eating dinner in one of Saddam's palaces.
Karl Rove: weakened, but still dangerous.
posted by Steve @ 2:13:00 PM