Bush’s Surprise Iraq Visit


President George W. Bush met with top U.S. military officials in Iraq and announced it might be possible to “maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces” if the situation on the ground continues to improve.

Bush hailed improvements in Anbar province, a Sunni-dominated region formerly a stronghold of Saddam Hussein, and signaled what The Wall Street Journal calls a major shift in policy emphasizing local authorities over the central government.

The BBC argues Bush’s case that security has improved can be chalked up to the fact that “some Sunni militias are now focused more on driving out al-Qaeda than driving out American troops.”

Al-Jazeera notes that shortly before Bush’s arrival, two car bombs went off in the province’s capital, Ramadi.

Newsweek International interpreted the trip as a “Hail Mary pass” ahead of a mid-September “surge” report, attempting to focus attentions on Iraq’s “few positive developments.”

The Economist calls the trip “political theater” but notes to Bush’s credit that “a few months ago such a trip would have been extremely risky if not impossible.”

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