President Bush has arrived in Baghdad on a surprise farewell trip, the BBC reports. A day after Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US mission in Iraq is in its “endgame,” Bush met with President Jalal Talabani; he’ll meet with other "leaders, thank the troops, and celebrate the new security agreement” that calls for withdrawal by 2011, a White House rep said.
The visit is Bush’s fourth since the invasion in 2003, Reuters reports. Upon the president’s high-security arrival, US Central Command Chief David Petraeus said attacks in the country had fallen to 10 a day from 180 in June of last year. There are now some 149,000 US troops in Iraq; according to the security pact, passed last month, they are to leave Iraq's cities next year before withdrawing completely.