United States President George W. Bush, along with Secretary of State Condi Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, flew directly into Anbar Province Iraq today. He is meeting with Gen. David Petraeus, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, and other top Iraqi officials from Baghdad.
To a large degree, the setting was the message: Bringing al-Maliki, a Shiite, to the heart of mostly Sunni Anbar province was intended to show the administration's war critics that the beleaguered Iraqi leader is capable of reaching out to Sunnis, who ran the country for years under Saddam Hussein.
The temperature topped 110 degrees as Bush stepped off Air Force One. The president stopped at a small building where a Marine Cobra pilot briefed him about the positives and negatives of current troop rotations. He told the president that troops were not getting enough time at home and did not have enough time for training.
Bush's six-hour stay was being confined to Al-Asad Air Base, an airfield once part of Saddam Hussein's military.
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the trip was conceived about six weeks ago when top White House advisers began discussing Bush's role as Congress returns to Washington and debate over the war heats up. It was decided that progress in Anbar made it the perfect place to showcase the administration's strategy. (AP)
This is interesting news. The press and most everyone on the far left has been having a meltdown over the prospect that Petraeus’s report will show more progress than any of them had hoped possible. Of course they will cherry pick the failed marks and try every way possible to continue the drumbeat for defeat.
In related news pigs are flying and Katie Couric is reporting good things about the military effort in Iraq after her tour with General Petraeus. Her report in a nutshell: the surge is working and that General Petraeus is an impressive military leader (h/t Newsbusters).