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Bush Holds A “War Council” – In Anbar Province

From an outraged Reuters:


Bush holds “war council” with top aides in Iraq

By Andrew Gray and Matt Spetalnick

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq (Reuters) – President George W. Bush held a “council of war” with his security team at a desert air base in western Iraq on Monday, a week before testimony to Congress that could influence policy on the war.

Bush, heading for a showdown with congressional war critics pressing him to begin withdrawing troops, flew secretly to the al Asad Air Base in Anbar province, where he was also due to meet Iraq’s Shi’ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki.

The president was accompanied by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Steven Hadley. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived separately.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Bush, Rice and Gates would meet their top commanders, Iraqi leaders including Maliki, and tribal leaders in Anbar, once a flashpoint province but now a success story for the U.S. military.

“This is very much the meeting of the war council,” Morrell told reporters at the dusty American air base in baking heat.

“This will be the last big gathering of the president’s advisers and the Iraqi leaders before the president makes a decision on the way forward.”

The decision to meet in Anbar is highly symbolic. Such a trip by Bush would have been unthinkable just months ago, when the province was the most dangerous in Iraq for U.S. troops.

But a rebellion by Sunni Arab tribes against Sunni Islamist al Qaeda has pacified Anbar and will likely be held up as a sign that the U.S. military strategy is working when U.S. commander General David Petraeus gives testimony to Congress on September 10.

Petraeus will be joined by U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker.

They will give their assessment on the impact of Bush’s decision to send an extra 30,000 extra troops to Iraq, raising the complement to 160,000.

The White House is required to submit its own report on the situation in Iraq by September 15.

The stopover in Iraq had not been announced in advance…

Of course the media hates it when Mr. Bush does things like this.

The decision to meet in Anbar is highly symbolic. Such a trip by Bush would have been unthinkable just months ago, when the province was the most dangerous in Iraq for U.S. troops.

It is a little more than symbolic. It shows that the surge has worked better than anyone anticipated.

But the media can’t bring itself to report that.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 3rd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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