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June 13, 2006
Bush To Baghdad, Post To Desperation

George Bush paid a surprise visit to Baghdad and the newly-formed constitutional government of Iraq. Keeping the news secret until he landed in Baghdad, he delighted the new Prime Minister, who greeted him enthusiastically:

President Bush arrived in Baghdad this afternoon for a face-to-face meeting with new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- an effort, the White House said, to get a clear sense of the premier's priorities and how the U.S. government could help his government succeed.

The White House originally had said Bush was scheduled to be at Camp David and to hold a video-conference with Maliki this morning. Instead, without telling the Iraqi government or all but his closest advisers, the president slipped out of Washington last night and made the 11-hour trip to Baghdad International Airport, landing at 4:08 p.m. Baghdad time (8:08 a.m. EDT). ...

"Good to see you," Maliki said to the president, who was escorted by a retinue of aides, including U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad and the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr.

"Thanks for having me," Bush replied, before disappearing with Maliki into one of the offices. Maliki learned of Bush's visit only after his Nighthawk helicopter had landed in the Green Zone following a six-minute ride from the airport, part of the extraordinary security measures associated with the trip.

The trip has powerful symbolic and political value beyond the issues that the two leaders will debate and decide today. Bush shows that he considers Iraq and its new government important enough to take extra risks to meet them on their own ground. It shows that the US wants to work closely with the new government and that we will do what we can to normalize their stature in the community of nations. For the Iraqis, who have risked their lives to install a permanent constitutional government, it sends the message of success and recognition.

Domestically, it sends another clear message. The Bush administration has come under pressure to back away from Iraq, to declare victory with the death of Zarqawi especially and to retreat from the mission of creating a self-sufficient security force. This visit shows that Bush has no intention of doing a cut-and-run, and that he's willing to put himself in the same theater as his soldiers and Marines in order to secure a democratic future in Iraq. The President does not travel on a whim; no matter who occupies the Oval Office, a presidential visit is always meaningful, and this more than most.

The Washington Post article notes this, but gets the message wrong and a bit overly dramatic (emphasis mine):

Bush had summoned his senior advisers to Camp David this week to outline new ways to help the fledgling government. Administration officials see the success of the new government as their last best hope to stabilize the situation in Iraq.

"Last best hope" is a trite phrase that belongs on a movie poster and not in a serious newspaper. The so-called "last best hope" is the strategy that the Bush administration planned all along: the creation of a constitutional government. That has always been Plan A, so it's hard to see why Michael Abramowitz chose to paint it as some last-gasp strategy that by implication means that we've changed course in any way. It's equally difficult to understand why his editor allowed that sentence to remain in the article,

This war has afforded the American media with a number of opportunities to demonstrate their firm conviction that they are an objective system designed to discover and report the truth. Instead, they have repeatedly shown in ways small and large that they allow their personal biases to flow into their news reporting, underscoring the widespread knowledge that they ceased being objective decades ago.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 13, 2006 9:53 AM

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» Bush Does It Again from Hard Starboard
I'm listening to Fox News right now regarding President Bush's surprise trip to Baghdad to meet with FREELY ELECTED Iraqi president Maliki. This is a breathtaking historic moment. Nobody knew but just a few people close to the President and a few han... [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2006 11:12 AM

» Ridiculous from
I cannot begin to tell you how ridiculous and silly this is… Bush Meets With Iraqi PM in Surprise Trip BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - President Bush, seeking to bolster support for Iraq’s burgeoning goverment and U.S. war policy at home, made a surpr... [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2006 11:46 AM

» Not A Good Day for the Left from RightPundit
Conservatives have been in a rather deep funk lately. Today, however, was not a good day to be a liberal. 1) President Bush visits Iraq, greeted by Iraqi governmental officials that are happy to see him. Captain Ed has an excellent analysis at C... [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2006 2:46 PM

» The MSM Military Smear Du Jour from Ed
With the Haditha story unraveling, it's time for the media's next drive-by smear of the Marines: "Hadji Girl". (Soon to be dubbed HadjiGate?) Charles Johnson has both the video, and the story behind it:Weve been watching this develop, as earlier... [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2006 9:21 PM


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