Reports emerged late on 27 November, after Bush’s plane had left Baghdad, from the small number of reporters invited on the 30-hour trip to Baghdad, about the intense secrecy of the trip. Bush was believed to be having Thanksgiving lunch with his family in Texas, who arrived unaware that he had left for Iraq.

Democrats have greeted Bush’s visit with some scepticism. Senator John Kerry issued a statement saying that the trip was ‘the right thing to do for our country.’ But, he added that, ‘when Thanksgiving is over, I hope the president will take the time to correct his failed policy in Iraq that has placed our soldiers in a shooting gallery.’