Bush makes surprise visit to Iraq.

“President Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, using the war zone as a backdrop to argue his case that the buildup of U.S. troops is helping stabilizing the nation.” On his way to the APEC summit in Australia, Bush made a detour to Iraq, landing at an air base in a remote part of Anbar province. Accompanied by security aides Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley, Bush’s visit came just hours after British forces completed their pullout from Basra. “Residents of Basra cheered the withdrawal.”


UPDATE: “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. ‘Morale?’ asked Bush. ‘How’s morale?’ ‘Very high sir,’ the pilot, Capt. Lee Hemming, said.” ”There are some people who might try to deride this trip as a photo opportunity,” White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said. ”We wholeheartedly disagree.”