Bush Makes Surprise Farewell Stop in Baghdad

Will meet leaders, thank troops in mission's 'endgame'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 14, 2008 9:28 AM CST
Bush and Iraq President Jalal Talabani pose for photographs in the Oval Office at the White House September 10, 2008 in Washington, DC.    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – 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.