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View Diary: "Unprecedented" trip to Iraq? (120 comments)

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  •  Re: "Unprecedented" trip to Iraq? (none)
    A Defining Moment in A War and Presidency

     Three images tell the story of George W. Bush's presidency.

    The first, of Bush and bullhorn atop the rubble at New York's Ground Zero on Sept. 14, 2001, came to symbolize his transformation into a powerful wartime president. The second, of Bush in flight suit with "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, became the symbol of Bush's unrealized optimism about the U.S. military's victory in Iraq.

    Yesterday, Nov. 27, 2003, brought an equally vivid but more complex image of Bush. His stealthy landing in Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day portrayed a leader well aware of the chaotic and dangerous situation in Iraq but determined to assure the Iraqi people that the United States will not, as he has put it, "cut and run."

    While the troops cheered the moment, it is too soon to know whether the image of Bush in his Army jacket yesterday will become a symbol of strong leadership or a symbol of unwarranted bravado.

    Iraqis may be reassured that the United States will put down the insurgency and restore order in their country. Or they may take the image of Bush landing unannounced at night without lights and not venturing from a heavily fortified military installation as confirmation that the security situation in Iraq is dire indeed.


    This is a reasonable thing for Junior to do, but the under-wraps part of the visit (confined to base, landing under cover of darkness with no lights) is striking and likely to outlast the few days of positive press (such as it is, with both the WaPo and Times (UK) noting how this was done out of weakness, not strength).

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