posted on Dec, 23 2004 @ 11:10 PM
After the deadly suicide bombing at a US base in Mosul, Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise holiday visit to the hospital
housing some of those injured in the attack. The trip to Mosul had already been planned for some time, and is reportedly not in response to
Tuesday's attack. Rumsfeld spent Thursday speaking with staff and patients at the hospital, and will have a holiday breakfast with troops on Friday.
Rumsfeld, who flew in on Thursday amid great secrecy, visited staff and patients in a hospital at the U.S. base where a suicide bomber infiltrated
and killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. military personnel and four American contractors.
"The purpose of the trip is to thank the troops and wish them a merry Christmas," Rumsfeld, who has been criticized in some quarters for not showing
sufficient concern for troops' welfare, told reporters during the flight from Washington.
Rumsfeld said his trip to Iraq had been planned for a while but was kept secret for security reasons and that Tuesday's attack had not been a factor
in selecting the northern city for a visit.
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In spite of, or perhaps partially in response to, coming under criticism in recent weeks, Rumsfeld's pre-planned visit to Mosul could be viewed as a
PR move. Whether planned with ulterior motives or not, his trip to Iraq will likely provide a morale boost to troops during the holiday season.
The fact that the trip was arranged so far in advance leaves one to question the timing of Tuesday's attack, however. Despite being arranged
secretly and with the utmost security, one wonders if word leaked that such a high-profile target would be in Mosul this week, thus sparking an attack
on a US base. The ramifications of such an attack occurring while Rumsfeld or any US official was present would be, to put it lightly, stunning.
[edit on 23-12-2004 by Banshee]