September 3, 2007

Bush in Iraq.

A surprise visit.

ADDED: More here:
Administration officials said that Mr. Bush had made the decision to travel to Iraq along with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to meet face-to-face with General Patraeus and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki because it was his last chance to do so before completing a review of his Iraq strategy.

"He has assembled essentially his war cabinet here, and they are all convening with the Iraqi leadership to discuss the way forward," said the Pentagon Press Secretary, Geoff Morrell. "This will be the last big gathering of the president before the president makes a decision on the way forward."...

Though Mr. Bush and General Petraeus had met as recently as last week by video hookup, the seemingly last-minute nature of the trip and the array of top officials from both governments who attended did not mean there were deep disagreements among President Bush’s top advisers about strategy in Iraq, they said....

Mr. Bush has been touting developments in Anbar recently and wanted to meet with Sunni sheiks who have formed alliances with the United States this year. Some of the tribal leaders he is expected to meet with were likely involved in operations against American forces before switching their allegiences.

38 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Why is it a surprise? Unscheduled, yes -- for obvious reasons. Surprising, not so much.

I hope this can further push the Iraqis into accepting responsibility for their own welfare.

hdhouse said...

Happy Labor Day to all...the last day hopefully of my town being crushed by tourists...I wonder if Iraq feels the same way? Just thought I would put a note of contention into this but someone should tell the Presidential team that this is actually a slow news day and a holiday so if they are attempting to get ahead of the news cycle this is a 50:50 gambit.

am struck by: "The White House said the base was chosen because of the "remarkable turnaround" in the province"

hmmm could it be that the last congressional delegation flying out of Baghdad was fired on by missles?...and that without adequate advanced notice the route from the airport to the green zone is far too dangerous and the meeting places within the green zone are subject to mortar fire?

I'm glad he is there. It is good for the troops to see someone there but he gets to leave and they have to stay.

EnigmatiCore said...

Disappointing. A good sign of there being something approaching the type of security and stability that is acceptable would be for our President to have normal diplomatic relations with Iraq, including scheduled visits.

EnigmatiCore said...

hdhouse, as is often the case, your logic (beyond just trying to bring up news that you consider bad for Bush/Republicans/whoever you consider your enemies) escapes me.

Are you suggesting that they should have chosen the site where the Congressional delegation was fired upon? I suppose you would like if the President was shot down, but it seems very straight forward to me that if a base was having planes shot at with missiles, that would naturally not be the choice of where to send Air Force One. Duh?

Bruce Hayden said...

I found myself agreeing with Lucky on cats earlier, and now with hdhouse about Labor Day.

Sat. here esp. was wall to wall cars, and there was a concert at the nearby amplitheater, so getting out for groceries was esp. traumatic. And walking to the store wouldn't have been any better, since I would have had to wade through the concert crowds.

Pressure was down slightly Sun., and the crowds should be mostly gone by tonight. We can then expect a good crowd over Christmas, but interestingly, even though this is a ski community, not as bad as Labor Day. Until December, it will almost seem like a ghost town. Great.

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting that my more germane post on the President's trip to Iraq was eaten by Blogger, but the one on Labor Day crowds was not.

Bruce Hayden said...

My Blogger eaten post pointed out that the risks are just too high for the President to take any chances in Iraq. Al Qaeda is on the run, and is compensating by ratcheting up the size of its attacks. It is primarily playing these days to the U.S. media, and an attack, no matter how futile, on our President would be worth almost any sacrifice on their part, and would likely result in massive casualties, regardless of success.

Pam said...

The news keeps showing Bush getting off the plane in Iraq. The problem is that the video that they are showing is not of president Bush. I have recorded this and showed it to numerous people. This man is definitely not the president. Do they think we are really that ignorant?

Gedaliya said...

This man is definitely not the president. Do they think we are really that ignorant?

Please explain. Are you suggesting that the president is not really in Iraq?

Fred said...

I hope this can further push the Iraqis into accepting responsibility for their own welfare.

I'm not a fan of spinning the Iraq conversation in that direction. Is that what anti-War activists are trying to do or are those words consistent with the conservative leadership, now? (i.e. Limbaugh, Coulter?)

While I can't say I've ever liked President Bush, (He was terrible as my governor, too!) I am encouraged that he went the extra mile in a final attempt to turn Iraq into something less than a catastrophe. I agree that this is pretty dangerous for our President to do, at least it -feels- like he is doing something to show he isn't all talk. Most lame duck presidents would sit around signing executive orders until they turn blue in the face.

As for the 'surprise' visit, I expect to see more of this kind of act over the next year. 2008 is a huge election year, it'll make or break Democrats OR Republicans for a generation or two. America is primed for an ideological shift and at this stage it looks like the U.S. will veer left short of a Karl Rove miracle or an act of God.

stu said...

in "veering left", do you mean we can look forward to more identity politics, taxes, more government interference in the economy,and military commitments only where our national interest or security is not involved? Or is it just being made to go to the doctor?

hdhouse said...

now now enigmatic core, its not nice to piss off mother nature on such a fine day...but let's take a look at your comment ok?

EnigmatiCore said...
"...they should have chosen the site where the Congressional delegation was fired upon?"

ahhh no. flying into the capital city of a country where we have been for 5 years is far to dangerous. let's move the capital.

"I suppose you would like if the President was shot down"

nope.

"but it seems very straight forward to me that if a base was having planes shot at with missiles, that would naturally not be the choice of where to send Air Force One."

Well it is the capital and an occupied city and all that...see the first comment above.

" Duh?"

Ok.

Verso said...

EnignmaticCore said: "a base was having planes shot at with missiles"

Is that how we're referring to Baghdad, now? A base?

Fred said...

Stu said: in "veering left", do you mean we can look forward to more identity politics, taxes, more government interference in the economy,and military commitments only where our national interest or security is not involved?

Yeah, that sounds about right. Welcome to the United States of America! :)

Gedaliya said...

ahhh no. flying into the capital city of a country where we have been for 5 years is far to dangerous. let's move the capital.

This is cynical.

No president ever goes to the front lines to meet his field commanders. These meetings have always, and will always, take place well behind the lines of battle.

Your remark implies that the president is a coward. If you think this, why not just say it instead of insulting our intelligence with such...tedious remarks.

vnjagvet said...

Several interesting points made by a journalist over there:

First time Chief of Staff, SecDef, Secretary of State and Pres all travelled together to a war zone.

First time al Maliki, a Shiite appears in Anbar, a Sunni stronghold.

Cliche' of the day:

Actions speak louder than words.

The Mechanical Eye said...

This trip is a morale booster, pure and simple. Back when I supported Bush it was meant to convey a simple message - "I am in charge and can go where ever I want."

I don't think this will have any of the effect the famous Thanksgiving trip did, but its a way to give the usual "bring 'em on" message Bush is so fond of making.

DU

downtownlad said...

He probably wanted to check out our new $600 million luxury resort, er, I mean embassy we just built there.

downtownlad said...

I thought it was "mission accomplished" three years ago. Why is going there now?????

hdhouse said...

vnjagvet said...
"First time Chief of Staff, SecDef, Secretary of State and Pres all travelled together to a war zone."

well to the same destination but you'll notice condi and gates came on a different plance - they were there before the pres.

i actually don't think bush is a coward at all. i don't think he thinks about it much one way or another. i think it was both a good move and a dumb stunt. just don't make too much or too little out of it.

Gedaliya said...

i think it was both a good move and a dumb stunt...

What is "dumb" about meeting with your top field commanders to discuss war strategy? What is "dumb" about meeting with top Iraqi leaders to discuss political strategy, especially considering the meetings are taking place in the most important Sunni province?

Why was this trip a "dumb stunt"?

EnigmatiCore said...

I would imagine that Air Force one tends to land on bases when flying into war zones, rather than to commercial airports. But, perhaps, that is a wrong assumption on my part.

I think that my very first comment makes the point that you numbnutz attacking me are trying to make-- real progress would be being able to fly in to the country normally to have normal diplomatic meetings, not flying in unannounced.

But go ahead, attack those who aren't agreeing with you sufficiently. We're getting used to it.

Peter Palladas said...

"This will be the last big gathering of the president before the president makes a decision on the way forward."...

Errr, no. The was the one and only chance to go to Iraq and boo the Brits off the playing field for 'retiring' / 'retreating' from Basra:

"When we begin to draw down troops from Iraq it will be from a position of strength and success [US], not from a position of fear and failure [Brits]."

Gordon Brown cares what Bush thinks?

hdhouse said...

Gedaliya said...
"What is "dumb" about meeting with your top field commanders to discuss war strategy?"

ahhhh because they are all getting on a plane to fly to washington this week to meet with the president and tell him about the war strategy????could that be it?.....sure can't get one by you Gedaliya...steel trapped mind there.

Gedaliya said...

ahhhh because they are all getting on a plane to fly to washington this week to meet with the president and tell him about the war strategy????could that be it?..

I don't think that's it.

The president flies to Anbar province, meets his top field commanders and consults with them on war strategy and (presumably) the tactics they'll use when Petraeus and Crocker go to Capital Hill next week. While he's there he meets personally with the troops in what is undoubtedly an effective morale-building exercise.

Secondly, he meets with the Iraqi political leadership on the Sunni home turf, sending a message to the world that the situation in Iraq is improving.

Thirdly, the Anbar trip becomes the top news story of the week, drawing attention away from those who oppose his Iraq policy. There are lots of photos showing the president in the midst of combat troops who are clearly overjoyed to see him among them, and their lusty cheers are will resonate long after the images fade from the screen.

Perhaps I'm missing something here. In my view, it would have been dumb not to go to Iraq this week.

Too many jims said...

"meets his top field commanders . . . and (presumably) the tactics they'll use when Petraeus and Crocker go to Capital Hill next week."

I hope President Bush mentioned something about how he expects them to answer questions truthfully. (To be clear, I have every confidence that Petreaus will answer truthfully though he may have a particular point of view that is reflected in how he emphasizes certain aspects.)

Fen said...

I hope President Bush mentioned something about how he expects them to answer questions truthfully. (To be clear, I have every confidence that Petreaus will answer truthfully though he may have a particular point of view that is reflected in how he emphasizes certain aspects.)

LOL. Leftist attempts to discredit Petreaus [even before he speaks] are still afoot. But not by Jim, nooooo, he put all kinds of weasly disqualifiers in while still implying the report to congress will be dishonest...

I also enjoyed hdhouse's complaints. Anyone want to bet that in 10 years, hdhouse will still be moving the goalposts: Iraq won't sell us oil at discount, what a GREAT ally.. Bush's fault blah blah blah

Silly transparent Leftists.

Fen said...

real progress would be being able to fly in to the country normally to have normal diplomatic meetings, not flying in unannounced

Nooo, REAL progress would be Iraq allowing us to base Patriot missile systems and short range nukes aimed at Iran in their country. Until they do THAT, all this talk about "improving conditions" is mere propaganda..

/s

Fen said...

Better analysis here, with key quotes from Left-wing sites to demonstrate how the Moonbats are throwing a tantrum over Bush's visit:

"The president secretly flew 11 hours to this air base in a remote part of Anbar province, bypassing Baghdad in a symbolic expression of impatience with political paralysis in the nation's capital. The gesture underscored the U.S. belief that the spark for progress may come at the local level."

/via Instapundit

Sloanasaurus said...

For those who track presidential vacations (I read a few weeks ago that Bush tops the vacation list) - I wonder if they will include Bush's trip to Iraq as part of his vacation?

Luckyoldson said...

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — A previously undisclosed exchange of letters shows that President Bush was told in advance by his top Iraq envoy in May 2003 of a plan to “dissolve Saddam’s military and intelligence structures,” a plan that the envoy, L. Paul Bremer, said referred to dismantling the Iraqi Army.

Mr. Bremer provided the letters to The New York Times on Monday after reading that Mr. Bush was quoted in a new book as saying that American policy had been “to keep the army intact” but that it “didn’t happen.”

Luckyoldson said...

Fen is a moron.

Period.

Too many jims said...

Fen,

How did I attempt to discredit Petraeus? By saying that I had every confidence that he would answer truthfully? I realize for someone who supports Bush as you do that it is discrediting to place honor and the truth above furthering whatever political position the President tells you to take.

Apparently, I wasn't clear enough for you before so let me explain what I meant. I think Petraeus will be honest. (Even if I didn't think he had personal integrity {which I think the vast majority of officers do}, I don't think he will lie because he would be called on it by other career military.)

I am not certain that the Ambassador or anyone else from the administration will be truthful.

So I suppose I might have been implying that the report to congress might be dishonest. If Petraeus has charge over the report, I do not think it will be dishonest. If the administration has control over it, I would view it quite skeptically. And as Bob Schieffer recently noted: "we're told the general won't actually write the report but that his thoughts will be incorporated in a summary prepared by the White House."

And I guess it takes a thick fascist to lump me in with transparent leftists.

Luckyoldson said...

gedalyia says: "...he meets with the Iraqi political leadership..."

There's "leadership" in Iraq??

Read more...talk less.

hdhouse said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"For those who track presidential vacations (I read a few weeks ago that Bush tops the vacation list) - I wonder if they will include Bush's trip to Iraq as part of his vacation?"

Frankly, now that Bush has topped 1 full year of vacation for the 7 in office it is very hard to tell the difference between work and play. I did hear the Karl Rove interview on Rush yesterday however and there is a book-reading contest between the two....GWB won last year with over 100 but the numbers are "up" this year.wooowooo!

I begrudge noone vacation and with Bush out of the office there is a lot less harm being done on a daily basis...but 2 books a week..even not so long books has to take him 10 hours of reading...

no president in history has that much spare time for reading...specially one who has been fighting a war for 5 years....well?

Fen said...

So I suppose I might have been implying that the report to congress might be dishonest.

No really?

If Petraeus has charge over the report, I do not think it will be dishonest. If the administration has control over it, I would view it quite skeptically. And as Bob Schieffer recently noted: "we're told the general won't actually write the report but that his thoughts will be incorporated in a summary prepared by the White House." And I guess it takes a thick fascist to lump me in with transparent leftists.

See, you are already embracing ways to disregard whatever Petraeus reports. I think you're searching for ways to ignore an outcome you disagree with, regardless of what facts are presented. If that makes me "fascist", so be it.

But just a little curious: what facts would you need to change your mind and support the surge and mission in Iraq? Make a list please? Do it BEFORE Petraeus reports, not after...

Luckyoldson said...

Fen,
GAO Releases Final Iraq Report: 11 Out Of 18 Goals Not Met

Too many jims said...

See, you are already embracing ways to disregard whatever Petraeus reports.

No, I am embracing ways to critically read the report. If I am satisfied that Petraeus and the military have had authorship, I will regard it one way. If I believe that the administration had authorship of the report I will regeard it much more skeptically. (Note, in neither case will I "disregard" it.)

To make an analogy, let's say (hypothetically) there was an attack in Iraq yesterday. The U.S. military puts out a press release. The Administration puts out a press release. The NYTimes runs a story on it. Do you read all of these pieces in the same way? I know I wouldn't.

But just a little curious: what facts would you need to change your mind and support the surge and mission in Iraq? Make a list please? Do it BEFORE Petraeus reports, not after...

Just curious, what makes you think I don't "support the surge and mission in Iraq"? I will admit that I think the administration lies and is incompetent in the way it tried to pursue the war in Iraq, but that doesn't mean that I am against "the surge and mission in Iraq."

In fact almost a year ago I said: "I know it sounds like an odd thing to say but I believe to have a more effective war effort, we need more (e.g. Kristol/Lowery's [sic] more troop proposal) unpopular decisions be made." Of course President Bush waited another 5 or 6 months to pursue an increase troop strategy thereby wasting valuable time.