Last week, the President made a surprise visit to Iraq. Here's Voice of America reporting on the trip, with the point I want to emphasize in italics:
President Bush is on his way home after a surprise trip to Baghdad designed to show support for the new Iraqi government. Mr. Bush also met with some of the more than 130,000 US troops serving in Iraq.I seem to recall being told the trip had been planned weeks in advance, in order to defuse criticisms about this being a photo-op timed to coincide with the
The public was told the president would speak Tuesday with Iraqi leaders via videoconference from his Camp David retreat. Instead, they met face to face in Baghdad.
"I've come to not only look you in the eye," said Mr. Bush. "I've also come to tell you that when America gives its word, it keeps its word."
Why? So the President could look al-Maliki in the eye.
Here's The Guardian:
[...]The whole circus— jet fuel, security details, advance teams, the works— was arranged so the President could look al-Maliki in the eye.
The prime minister had been invited to the embassy on the pretense of taking part in a video conference with Bush, supposedly at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. The videoconference went on as scheduled, but with Bush appearing alongside al-Maliki.
What had been announced as a two-day meeting at Camp David was part of a ruse to conceal Bush's Baghdad trip and a cover story to bring al-Maliki and his cabinet to the green zone.
With only five minutes prior notice.
Apparently, the new Prime Minister really did have that Queen of Clubs, because the President concluded— after spending five minutes looking him in the eye— by saying, "I appreciate you recognize the fact that the future of your country is in your hands. I appreciate your committment to representing the people of Iraq."
The President then proceeded to see the Prime Minister's bet and doubled the pot. Again.