Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said Saturday.
“He’s there to express his appreciation to the troops and to thank both the troops and their families for the sacrifices they are making,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a Defense Department spokesman.
It was Rumsfeld’s 15th trip to Iraq since the war began; he was last there in July.
Rumsfeld’s trip follows an emotional farewell Friday at the Pentagon, where the defense secretary defended his record on Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said Friday that the worst day of his nearly six years as secretary of defense occurred when he learned of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse.
Rumsfeld’s Pentagon appearance Friday and his trip to Iraq, where he was Saturday, were among the few public appearances he has made since President Bush announced on Nov. 8 that he was replacing the defense secretary. His last full day will be Dec. 17.