Ian Andrew Bell
fork at ianbell.com
Fri Nov 28 10:21:59 PST 2003
Whaddya do when you cross paths with Air Force One and he tells you
he's a private jet?
Bush Returns From Secretive Trip to Visit Troops in Iraq
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: November 28, 2003
WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 — President Bush returned to the United States
early this morning from Iraq, after spending Thanksgiving dinner with
hundreds of soldiers in a military mess hall in Baghdad.
Ending one of the most secretive presidential trips in American
history, Mr. Bush arrived back in Waco, Tex., at 4 a.m. local time,
then flew on Marine One to his ranch.
Mr. Bush flew to Baghdad under intense security on Wednesday to thank
them for standing up against the "band of thugs and assassins" they are
fighting in Iraq.
The trip highlighted the continuing dangers of Iraq. Mr. Bush's trip
was conducted under extraordinary security, even for a president who
routinely travels under some of the tightest security in the world. Air
traffic controllers in Baghdad did not know the plane heading for the
runway was Air Force One, and it then landed without its lights in
darkness, but for a sliver of moon.
On the flight over, Air Force One had come within sight of a British
Airways plane, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director,
told reporters on the trip, according to the transcript.
The British Airways pilot radioed over and asked, Mr. Bartlett said,
"Did I just see Air Force One?" There was silence from the Air Force
One pilot, who then replied, "Gulfstream 5."
There was a longer silence from the British Airways pilot, Mr. Bartlett
said, who, seeming to get that he was in on a secret, then said, "Oh."
Mr. Bush, who spent only two and a half hours in Baghdad, all in the
secure area around the airport, also met with members of the Iraqi
Governing Council, including Ahmad Chalabi, the exile leader who is
close to senior officials at the Pentagon.
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