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Anonymous (
Posted on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 10:57 am:   

Bush Stuns Troops, U.S., With Iraq Trip
Fri Nov 28,12:46 AM ET

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

BAGHDAD, Iraq - President Bush (news - web sites) flew to Iraq (news - web sites) under extraordinary secrecy and security Thursday to spend Thanksgiving with U.S. troops and thank them for "defending the American people from danger."

AP Photo

AP Photo
Slideshow: Iraq

Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Baghdad
(AP Video)

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Special Coverage

The unannounced visit brought wild cheers from battle-worn soldiers, stunned the nation and even surprised the president's parents, who had been expecting him at the Thanksgiving table at his Crawford, Texas ranch.

The president returned to U.S. soil early Friday, as his plane landed at Andrews Air Force base outside Washington shortly after midnight, before continuing on to Texas to complete the dramatic journey.

Bush, the first U.S. president to visit Iraq, promised that insurgents testing America's commitment will not be rewarded with a U.S. retreat.

"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins," Bush told about 600 soldiers from the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne.

The troops had been told only that they were gathered for Thanksgiving dinner with a VIP guest in the mess hall at Baghdad International Airport.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, added his own drama to the surprise. Billed as the special guest along with coalition forces commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Bremer opened the program by telling the soldiers it was time to read the president's Thanksgiving proclamation.

He asked if there was "anybody back there more senior than us" to read the president's words. Bush emerged from behind a curtain as cheering soldiers climbed on chairs and tables to yell their approval.

The president shed a few tears.

"I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere," he joked, fresh from an 11-hour overseas flight. "Thanks for inviting me to dinner."

Wearing an exercise jacket with a 1st Armored Division patch, Bush then worked the entire room and dished out but did not sit down to eat sweet potatoes and corn from the chow line.

"We thank you for your service, we're proud of you, and America stands solidly behind you," he said during brief remarks delivered on a day when Americans count blessings. "You are defending the American people from danger and we are grateful."
Anonymous (
Posted on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 11:45 am:   

The first time a US President visited Iraq. It might have been a good time to mention Peace Corps to Bush or should it be Clinton?
DeanforAmeri ( -
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 8:10 am:   

Anonymous, her hair looked a little flat. Don't think we could have got her a hair dryer. Or should it be Dean?
Anonymous (
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2003 - 4:00 pm:   

It might have been a good time....
Haliburton ( -
Posted on Monday, December 08, 2003 - 2:23 pm:   

...hmmmm I wonder why he wasn't wearing his flightsuit--maybe it was at the cleaners?

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