It is at this point a year past the “end of the fighting” in Iraq, a year past “mission accomplished.” Yesterday I heard about Rumsfeld’s “surprise visit” to Iraq and I realized that every visit I’ve ever heard of from any high ranking US official is always a “surprise visit.” When Bush or Cheney or Powell or Rumsfeld go to Iraq, it is always skulking in and skulking out under a media blackout. Since a central thesis of this administration is that things in Iraq are really pretty good, why don’t they put their money where their mouths are (or their asses where our money is) and visit this country like they would any other. Announce it ahead of time, set up an itinerary and have exactly the same kind of diplomatic meetings we do anywhere else. If that isn’t possible because the country still isn’t stable enough, then perhaps they should shut their lying mouths about how well things are going. In business, this is referred to as “eating your own dog food.” They are trying to sell Iraqi stability to us and to the world, but they are unwilling to partake of the same, perhaps because there really isn’t any.