Rumsfeld’s Surprise Visit to Troops in Mosul
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld flew into Mosul, Iraq, today in a surprise Christmas Eve trip to visit wounded soldiers, reassuring them that their mission would not be in vain. “There’s no doubt in my mind, this is achievable,” he told the soldiers, three days after a suicide bombing, the deadliest attack on Americans in Iraq, left 22 people dead, including 14 American service members and four American contractors. “When it looks bleak, when one worries about how it’s going to come out, when one reads and hears the naysayers and the doubters who say it can’t be done, and that we’re in a quagmire here,” one should recall that there have been such doubters “throughout every conflict in the history of the world,” he told about 200 soldiers of the 1st Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division at their commander’s headquarters.
Adding his own holiday greetings to the troops, President Bush made Christmas Eve telephone calls to Iraq and spoke to several soldiers, personally thanking them for their sacrifices. Mr. Bush talked to 10 soldiers, Reuters reported, “to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice and to wish them all a merry Christmas and happy holidays,” a White House spokesman, Ken Lisaius, said.
Very nice gestures. The press is portraying the Rumsfeld visit as a PR move designed to bolster his own standing but the soldiers seem to be geniunely excited by these visits. The Bush team handles them very well, showing up unannounced. Not only is this smart from a security standpoint but it’s better for morale as well. Not only does the surprise factor enhance the experience for the troops but it also avoids having commanders force the troops to jump through hoops, painting rocks and otherwise preparing for the dignitary’s visit.