Outgoing US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made a surprise trip to Iraq, just days after a bipartisan commission called the situation there "grave and deteriorating" and said the administration's policy wasn't working.
"For the past six years, I have had the opportunity and, I would say the privilege, to serve with the greatest military on the face of the Earth," Rumsfeld, 74, said in a speech on Saturday to more than 1,200 soldiers and Marines at Al-Assad, an air base in Anbar province, the large area of western Iraq that is an insurgent stronghold.
"I leave understanding that the true strength of the United States military is not in Washington, it's not in the Pentagon, it's not in the weapons. It's in the hearts of the men and women who serve. It's your patriotism, it's your professionalism and indeed your determination," he was quoted by the US Department of Defense as saying.