It wasn’t a part of his itinerary and no one but close advisers knew ahead of time that President Obama made plans to visit Iraq before heading home today. The President is there to visit American troops and see firsthand how the war has affected the people and the area. So far, 4,266 members of the U.S. military have succumbed to violence since the war began in March 2003, according to ABC News. That doesn’t include civilians from Iraq who have been caught in the crossfire. Only hours before the President arrived, a car bomb exploded in a Shiite neighborhood near the capital. This is Presisdent Obama’s third trip to Iraq and his first since taking office. He has already announced that troops will begin to withdraw out of the region starting in 2010.—WLW