"think of the faces in afghanistan when the people were liberated, when they moved out in the streets and they started singing and flying kites and women went to school and people were able to function and other countries were able to start interacting with them. that's what would happen in iraq."
— defense secretary donald rumsfeld, 9/13/02
"as i told the president on january 10th, i think they will be greeted with sweets and flowers in the first months and simply have very, very little doubts that that is the case."
— iraqi exile kanan makiya, 3/17/03
baghdad — pomp and ceremony greeted iranian president mahmoud ahmadinejad on his arrival in iraq on sunday, the fanfare a stark contrast to the rushed and secretive visits of his bitter rival u.s. president george w. bush.
ahmadinejad held hands with iraqi president jalal talabani as they walked down a red carpet to the tune of their countries' national anthems, his visit the first by an iranian president since the two neighbours fought a ruinous war in the 1980s.
his warm reception, in which he was hugged and kissed by iraqi officials and presented with flowers by children, was iraq's first full state welcome for any leader since the u.s.-led invasion to topple saddam hussein in 2003.
— reuters, 3/2/08