OK, so I beat up on Our Sainted President with appalling regularity. It's for our own good. Still, when the man DOESN'T f*** up, it should warrant a pat on the back. His secret trip to Baghdad for Thanksgiving certainly certainly seem to qualify as "not a f*** up".
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- President Bush returned to Texas early Friday after making an unannounced visit to Baghdad to spend part of Thanksgiving Day with U.S. troops -- a trip that surprised not only the soldiers but also virtually everyone else in the world.
Bush touched down in Waco, Texas, around 3:45 a.m. (4:45 a.m. EST) Friday en route to his ranch in nearby Crawford. He had arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland several hours earlier.
His visit marked the first time a U.S. president had traveled to Iraq, and concern for Bush's safety kept the trip cloaked in secrecy. Even some members of the Secret Service were kept in the dark about it....
Air Force One, with its lights turned off for security reasons, touched down at Baghdad International Airport at 5:31 p.m. (9:31 a.m. EST) and taxied to a remote corner of the airport.
Bush then went to a hangar where about 600 members of the 1st Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division had gathered.
The U.S. forces had been told that L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of coalition forces, would be attending the dinner.
As Bremer prepared to read a presidential proclamation to the troops, he said, "Let's see if we've got anybody more senior here who can read the president's Thanksgiving speech. Is there anybody back there who's more senior than I?"
Bush then emerged, misty-eyed and wearing a U.S. Army exercise jacket, to a roaring ovation.
The shocked and elated soldiers jumped to their feet, pumped their fists in the air, roared with delight, and grabbed their cameras to snap photographs.
"I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere," Bush joked, and added: "I can't think of a finer group of folks to have dinner with."
So, from a quarter where praise for Our Sainted President is rarer than Michael Jackson being caught in flagrante delicto with a naked soccer mom, a hearty TPRS pat on the back goes out to George W. Bush. Of course, I still wouldn't vote for the man if someone held a razor blade to my manhood, but I am man enough to recognize and applaud someone for doing the right thing. It's only too bad that it's taken him three-plus years.