When the history of the Iraq War is written, President Bush's secret Thanksgiving visit in Baghdad may well be seen as the day the tide turned in winning the peace.
Though it might seem to some - and will certainly be viewed by his Democratic critics - as a public relations gimmick to boost his ratings in the popularity polls, Bush's Baghdad visit made several important points to the Iraqis.
First, it demonstrated clearly once again that America won the war. It was the president of the United States, not the ousted president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, who was serving mashed potatoes to the troops in Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day. Bush came to Iraq not as a conqueror but as a friend. The message was crystal clear: Not only are American troops firmly in control of the country, their commander in chief was there, too.
Secondly, the Bush visit demonstrated America's commitment to staying in Iraq until the job is done. As Bush told the troops, "We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins."