President Bush is flanked by Marines at the Al-Asad military base in Iraq’s Anbar province on Monday.
The “What, me worry?” president paid a cheerful visit to U.S. troops in Iraq’s Anbar province, an auspiciously timed trip (his third since the war began in 2003) that falls mere days before Congress is scheduled to hear Army Gen. David Petraeus’ Iraq “progress” report. For another status report (read: reality check), follow this link.
Aides said Bush would prod Maliki and other Shiite national leaders to support the local Sunni leaders, whom the White House has praised for fostering political reconciliation that has proved more difficult in mixed-sect regions such as Baghdad and Diyala province, where Sunni insurgents have also begun to work with the Americans.
Later, Bush was to make short remarks to about 750 U.S. troops and other guests. “The president felt this is something he had to do in order to put himself in a position to make some important decisions,” National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley said of the visit.