Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Why is Bush in Afghanistan a "surprise?"

This morning, we're seeing a zillion stories on George Bush making a surprise visit to Afghanistan (go visit your favorite news site, I'd bet it's the lead story).

However, I heard he was going a couple days ago. From the media. A simple Google search turned up the following:

Houston Chronicle, February 28:

There is a great deal of speculation that Bush will add a quick, unscheduled stop in Afghanistan to his itinerary. White House officials have refused to confirm or deny such a trip.

"We think he's going to make a quiet trip to Afghanistan," said Marvin Weinbaum, a policy expert at the Middle East Institute and a former State Department analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan:

"He will fly, in all likelihood, to Bagram Air Base" outside Kabul, Weinbaum said. "And unless I'm wrong, he might think it's Fort Hood. He won't see very many Afghans. What he will get is a chance, and all presidents do this — this president relishes it — to stand in front of the troops" to boost their morale.

Toronto Star, Feb 28:

There has been speculation that Bush intends to visit nearby Afghanistan but officials have refused all comment.

"Even if we were going to other countries, we would announce that at an appropriate time — not before," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday.

Maybe the press is surprised because the White House told them to be surprised.


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