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Bush makes surprise Iraq visit

December 14, 2008

President George W. Bush on Sunday made a farewell visit to Iraq, a place that defines his presidency, just 37 days before he hands the war off to a successor who has pledged to end it.

Air Force One, Bush’s distinctive powder blue-and-white jetliner, landed at Baghdad International Airport in the afternoon local time, after a secretive Saturday night departure from Washington and an 11-hour flight. In a sign of modest security gains in this war zone, Bush was welcomed with a formal arrival ceremony — a flourish that was not part of his previous three trips to Iraq.

U.S. President George W. Bush waves as he walks on the South ... 

By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP White House Correspondent

Bush planned a rapid-fire series of meetings with top Iraqi leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He and Bush were marking the recent security agreement between the two nations.

Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, said the agreement was “a remarkable document — unique in the Arab world because it was publicly debated, discussed and adopted by an elected parliament.”

Hadley said the trip “shows that we are moving into a different relationship … with Iraqis rightfully exercising greater sovereignty, we in an increasingly subordinate role.”

It was Bush’s last trip to the war zone before President-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20. Bush’s most recent Iraq stop was over 15 months ago, in September 2007.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081214/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush

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