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CURRENT STORIES


Bush trip positive message for troops and world

Undoubtedly, there will be those who find reason to criticize President Bush's recent clandestine visit to Iraq.

They'll say he did it for the publicity, since it is, after all, campaign time.

But what President Bush did on Thursday wasn't a stunt.

It took courage and caring to fly into a war zone at a time when attacking the president of the United States would be the grandest accomplishment in a terrorist's mind.

Bush's visit had to be a great morale boost for the 600 troops who were honored by his visit, and for the thousands of others who have now heard of his efforts to share Thanksgiving with them.

"You are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq," Bush told the soldiers, "so we don't have to face them in our own country."

The trip also sends a clear message to the world that the United States remains committed to making things right in Iraq, as well as its efforts to continue to fight terrorism.

"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 said, drawing a standing ovation.

Bush's visit served to remind those soldiers that they are not forgotten by their president or the millions of the rest of us who honor their sacrifice and courage.

The trip also demonstrated our country's ability to carry out top secret plans without a hitch.

Only a handful of people knew of the president's trip.

And various efforts to keep the trip secret -- from unmarked cars that took him from his Texas ranch to the airport to flying under radio silence -- kept the world from knowing where the president was until he was safely on his way back home.

For those who try to dismiss Bush's efforts as a campaign ploy, we say balderdash.

The president did what was expected -- he honored our troops with his visit and kept all of those involved out of harm's way. All in all, it was a job well done.

John G. Miller