Grins as big as Texas

President Bush made a surprise visit to the Anbar region of Iraq today.

AL-ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — During a surprise visit to Iraq, President Bush on Monday addressed an animated military base in what was once a Sunni insurgent stronghold and said it would be possible to reduce troops in Iraq if progress being made there continues.

Bush gave the troops a Labor Day greeting, thanking them for their hard, and often deadly work there. He also sought to assure them that he will be listening to military commanders, not Washington officials, when it comes to decide when to withdraw troops.

“Every day you are successful here in Iraq draws nearer to the day when America can begin calling you and your fellow servicemen home,” Bush said.

Bush received a “hoorah” when he said he would not base his deployment decision on “nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media.”

“When we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure. To do so otherwise would embolden our enemies and make it more likely that they would attack us at home,” Bush said.

Such a nice labor day surprise for the true laborers of freedom. And yet, the pool reporter who was lucky enough to make the trip couldn’t put his snippiness away, not even for a day.

The troops were thrilled to be in the presence of their Commander in Chief.

Frederick W. Kagan writes, “We should all understand the significance of the president’s presence in Anbar.”

There’s much more at Mudville Gazette.