6.28.2005

Bush Lays Out "Strategy for Victory" in Iraq

Radio address highlights military, political goals

In his weekly radio address June 25, President Bush recalled his June 24 meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari at the White House and previewed his scheduled June 28 address to the American people, in which he intends to speak of "our mission in Iraq, why it remains important to our safety here at home, and our two-track strategy for victory."

The first track is military, according to the president, in which the United States must "defeat the terrorists and continue helping Iraqis take greater responsibility for defending their freedom" against "terrorists [whose] ... objective is to break the will of America and of the Iraqi people before democracy can take root."

Bush said that so far the enemy has not succeeded: "Two years ago, they tried to intimidate the Iraqi Governing Council -- and failed. Last year, they tried to delay the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq -- and failed. This year, they tried to stop the free Iraqi elections -- and failed."

Now, despite the fact that "the terrorists are trying to undermine the new government and intimidate Iraqis ... more and more Iraqis are defying the terrorists by joining the democratic process." The military strategy is clear, said the president, asserting, "We will train Iraqi security forces so they can defend their freedom and protect their people, and then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned."

On the second, or political track, Bush said, the U.S. strategy "is to continue helping Iraqis build the institutions of a stable democracy." The president hailed as "landmark steps" the Iraqi election and formation of government, and said the Iraqi prime minister during his visit assured him that "his government is committed to meeting its deadline to draft a new constitution for a free Iraq. Then the constitution will be submitted to the Iraqi people for approval, and new elections will be held to choose a fully constitutional government."

The president called the challenges ahead "monumental" but promised that "the free world will continue to stand behind the Iraqi people." He pointed out that, "more than 80 countries and international organizations came together in Brussels," Belgium, to discuss helping Iraq with its security and reconstruction, the latter also being the theme of a planned July meeting of donor countries in Jordan.

Despite a prediction of "more tough fighting in the weeks and months ahead," Bush said he was confident as the Iraqi people "in optimism and hope" understand "that the violence is only a part of the reality," while Iraq's infrastructure is being rebuilt.
"Americans ... have been tested before," said the president, "and we have a long history of resolve and faith in the cause of freedom ... we will see that cause to victory in Iraq."

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