Trump makes surprise visit to US troops in Iraq

Thursday, December 27th, 2018 | | International

Agency, 27 December : President Donald Trump and the first lady quietly swept into Iraq Wednesday to pay a holiday visit to US troops, at last making good on the President’s promise to travel to one of the war zones he has derided as costly blunders.

After seeing the American war effort at close range for the first time, the President remained adamant that the days of broad-scale US involvement overseas had ended. He used his nighttime appearance at an air base west of Baghdad to reinforce his skeptical view of wading into foreign conflicts.

“If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price,” Trump said at the Al Asad Air Base, where he landed after dark with his wife, Melania Trump. “Sometimes that’s also a monetary price, so we’re not the suckers of the world. We’re no longer the suckers, folks. And people aren’t looking at us as suckers.”

Regardless of whether Trump likes the wars or not, they are now his; the lives of the young men and women stationed abroad subject to his decisions, whims and orders. And as such, the commander in chief was fulfilling what is viewed as an essential duty in paying them a surprise Christmastime visit.

After a secret overnight flight from Washington, the President and Melania Trump touched down onto a pitch-black airstrip, the dicey security situation still restricting Trump to a clandestine visit more than 15 years after the American invasion.

He remained on the ground for about three hours, greeting enthusiastic selfie-taking servicemen and women in their holiday-bedecked dining hall. Dressed in a black overcoat and red tie, Trump posed for pictures and signed autographs for troops in fatigues. Melania Trump stood smiling next to him, wearing a mustard-colored blouse.

Later, the President changed into a green flight jacket to address 100 or so troops, who greeted him warmly.
Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy. He’s also faced criticism for a series of foreign policy decisions that have left his national security team at odds.

Trump has sought to distance himself from the foreign entanglements he describes as foolhardy mistakes made by his predecessors, including the war in Iraq. He recently ordered the US military to being planning a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and, citing the destruction of ISIS, a complete withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria which came against the advice of his military generals and top national security officials.