Monday, September 3, 2007

President Bush's Symbolic Visit


On the way to a meeting with Asia-Pacific leaders in Sidney, President Bush stopped over in Anbar province in Iraq. It was in Anbar Province that just last year, US forces had just about written the area off as unmanageable. But that was before Sunni tribesmen got fed up with all the suicide bombings and started fighting against al-Quaeda. Now it is one of the safer areas around Baghdad. The President met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and leaders of Iraq's Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish communities. Joining President Bush were Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and US Commander General David Petraeus.
During the meeting, the President urged Iraqi leaders to use the calmer times to work to pass legislation to bring the Iraqi people together (like the oil wealth distribution law). Though the entire US "war council" was there, this meeting was more symbolic than substantive.
Having the Prime Minister (al-Maliki is a Shiite) meet President Bush in Anbar province (a Sunni territory) was set to show that the Iraqi government wants to work with the Sunnis. President Bush just being in Anbar makes a statement on how much has changed in the past year. A year ago, there was no way the president would have been allowed in Anbar ... It was just too dangerous. The arrival of so many high-ranking US government officials is symbolic to the Iraqi parliament that the US is serious about them getting down to business when they re-convene tomorrow. And finally, by the President actually stepping foot on Iraqi soil, he now takes away some of the thunder of Congressional leaders who have visited recently. What this means is that when a Congressman says, "I've been to Iraq and ... ", the President can now say, "well so have I, and ...".
Words are important, actions speak louder than words, and in this part of the world, symbolic gestures are also important.

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11 comments:

Debbie said...

I think it also sent a message to Maliki. Bush did not go TO Maliki, he made Maliki COME TO HIM in Anbar. Maybe that was symbolic, but I think folks noticed. It was good to have Bush on the ground with the troops, they love having him surprise them. When he said he would pull troops out in VICTORY, they cheered.

Words do have meaning and do carry weight. I'm glad Bush went and I'm glad he did not go to Baghdad. Not because it would be dangerous, which it would, because it would give credence to the parliament. They need to be jogged into action.

Paul Champagne said...

debbie ... hopefully the message was received loud and clear by the parliament that it's time to quit squabbling and get some work done. Thanks for stopping by.

Debbie said...

Thanks for your comments at Right Truth. Seems my troll has returned, but readers are setting him straight. I usually leave the trolls up to readers. Makes for some pretty interesting reading, up to a point.

Stephanie said...

Wait...this is the first time Bush has been to Iraq in all this time?

Yes, I suppose it is a sign of progress that he can set foot over there without getting his butt bombed!

Paul Champagne said...

debbie ... trolls are often useful in exposing the utter absurdity of the far left. I always leave all comments up unless they are particularly offensive.

stephanie ... This is the Presidents' third trip to Iraq. He served Thanksgiving dinner to the troops in 2003 and met with the al-Maliki government in 2006.

Gunfighter said...

I think it was good for the President to go to Iraq, too.

I , too, think that words are important. However, in the long run, speeches about victory aside, the situation in Iraq is about as good as it is going to get.

This is a simple numbers excercise, and the numbers are all against the sort of military "victory" that some folks envisage.

I wish the President the best of luck, despite my opposition to his regime.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

He did look so handsome.

Paul Champagne said...

gunfighter ... welcome to my blog. Opposition to the Bush Presidency is nothing new here. I personaly wish that we could raise Reagan from the dead and put him back in office, but that isn't going to happen.

The progress that has been made recently isn't sustainable without the Iraqi parliament doing its' job and passing laws that will unify the people. Among these are the Baathist reintigration act and an equitable oil wealth distribution law.

terri ... Did you notice in all the pictures with the troops, the troops are all smiling (even the ones in the back that were not even aware that a picture was being taken). Tell them that a symbolic visit isn't important.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I know... I think it's great...
and heartwarming...

I do NOT agree with a lot of what Bush does... but I would love to meet him .. and I do think he's a very emotional and sensitive man...

did you see that he cries!!!!
I feel bad for him that people are so mean to him. I would hate to be his mother... or wife...

I would be crying all the time..

Terry said...

I am glad to hear good news from Anbar. Thanks, Paul.

Terri, you really are the sweetest gal! Yep, Pres. Bush has made mistakes and some bas decisions, but I too do not think he deserves all the criticism he gets. I believe that he wants to do whats right. I think we have a few politicians who aren't even concerned with doing right. I believe at least Bush wants to please God and help the nation, even if he misses the mark now and then. I also believe that this country will always be better off with leaders who feel accountable to God for their actions. I guess this is a little off topic. Sorry, Paul.

Paul Champagne said...

terri ... I have met the President when he was first running for Governor of Texas and then again when he was Governor (I seriously doubt that he remembers me). He seemed like a great guy ... the kind you would feel comfortable around.

terry ... It really isn't very far off of topic (well yeah, I guess it is), but the point is that we vote for the man and not the party. When Democrats finally figure this out, maybe then they will take back the White House.