The first video is in from Bush's surprise visit to a remote and heavily guarded air base in Iraq's western Anbar Province and it truly speaks volumes. It's clear that this was nothing more than a chance for the president to use the troops as props (note the big thumbs up! from Gen. Petraeus) to spin his failing surge as U.S. troop levels surge as well. MSNBC's Contessa Brewer brought in Republican strategist Joe Watkins and former Senior Advisor to John Kerry, James Boyce, to talk about the presidential visit.
Boyce is on the money, calling this what it was -- a staged photo op. Watkins tries to spin this as a positive move by the president, and that he wants to get in touch with the troops to find out what's going on on the ground, but Boyce fires back, reminding him that if Bush really wanted to get things done in Iraq he'd stay for more than six hours, he'd visit more than three times in four years and he wouldn't have ignored the Iraq Study Group's recommendations.
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The White House says the decision to have the president fly into Anbar was to show the successes of the surge in that region and touting this as "a symbolic expression of impatience with political paralysis in the nation's capital." The truth of the matter is that the president is nowhere near an Iraqi city, he's tucked away in a remote area and safe -- surrounded by soldiers. I guess this is the best spin they could put on this seeing as how after four years of U.S. occupation, it still isn't safe enough for him to fly into Baghdad.