Gates in Baghdad

The defense secretary makes a surprise visit to the area that has come to define his new employer.

Published December 20, 2006 2:35PM (EST)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates apparently doesn't plan to ease into his job. Today, only two days after taking office, he's making a surprise visit to Baghdad. While there, he'll meet with top commanders and, likely, embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

By the way, it was also only two days ago that White House press secretary Tony Snow, asked whether and when Gates would be visiting the area, responded, "One thing you never do is announce when somebody is going to go to Iraq."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Iraq Middle East Robert Gates War Room