Bush to Begin New Year By Visiting Troops

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President Bush plans to begin 2006 by visiting wounded troops at an Army medical center in Texas on New Year's Day.

Bush will stop at Brooke Army Medical Center on Sunday on his way back to Washington from a weeklong stay at his Texas ranch, said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Most of the soldiers he will see were injured in Iraq, Duffy said.

During his holiday stay, the Crawford chapter of Veterans for Peace is organizing small demonstrations near Bush's ranch. The group wrote a letter to the president on Christmas Eve, asking him to limit air attacks in Iraq to reduce civilian casualties and bring U.S. troops home.

"Wouldn't you much rather be known as the peace president rather than the war president?" Carl Rising-Moore, field organizer for the group, said in the letter.

Duffy responded on Wednesday, saying that the president welcomes the opinions of all Americans.

"The American people have the right to protest," he said.

Bush, who is relaxing at the ranch this week with his wife, Laura Bush, and her mother, Jenna Welch, had his regular intelligence briefing on Wednesday and was clearing brush on his property, Duffy said.