The Atlantic

The President Is Visiting Troops in Iraq. To What End?

Do presidential visits to combat zones offer leaders any insights, or boost morale for troops?
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Since Franklin D. Roosevelt secretly flew to Morocco to finalize Allied war plans with Winston Churchill and surprise American soldiers stationed in the country, American presidents have engaged in the well-worn tradition of meeting with troops in combat zones. Bill Clinton met with troops in the Balkans; George W. Bush and Barack Obama both visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; Bush spent Thanksgiving with Americans in Iraq months after the invasion of the

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