6.29.2005

Bush Vows United States Will Defeat Terrorists in Iraq

President rules out setting deadline, says number of troops now sufficient

President Bush vowed that the United States will not flinch from fighting terrorism in Iraq or from seeing that democracy, prosperity and hope are spread throughout the Middle East.
In a speech June 28, Bush said that the sacrifice that the United States is making to bring democracy to Iraq is worthwhile because success in Iraq is vital to U.S. security and to the global cause of freedom.

The terrorists, both Iraqi and foreign, "know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy, prosperity, and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world," Bush said.

The president said the terrorists, despite their "savage acts of violence," are not achieving their strategic goals. He said the only way that the enemies of the United States can succeed is if the United States forgets the lessons of September 11, 2001 – something he vowed would not happen while he is president.

Bush noted that since sovereignty was restored to Iraq one year ago, Iraqis have held elections for a transitional government, are drafting a constitution, and are planning more elections for the end of the 2005. He noted that progress is being made in improving the educational and health systems and in rebuilding the infrastructure. More than 30 nations have troops in Iraq and many others are contributing nonmilitary assistance, Bush said.

"Thus far, some 40 countries and three international organizations have pledged about 34 billion dollars in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction," Bush said. "And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction."

Regarding the question of setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq, Bush said such an action would be a "serious mistake" in that it would send the wrong message to the Iraqi people, U.S. troops and the terrorists.

He also said that the United States does not need to send more troops to Iraq at this time.

"Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever – when we are in fact working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave," he said.

In order to bolster the Iraqi security forces, Bush said the United States is taking three steps:

  • Partnering Coalition units with Iraqi units to show Iraqis "how the most professional armed forces in the world operate in combat;"
  • Embedding Coalition transition teams inside Iraqi units to provide "battlefield advice and assistance to Iraqi forces during combat operations;" and
  • Working with Iraq's Defense and Interior Ministries to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations.
  • Bush said that on the political front, Iraq's constitutional committee plans to include more Sunni Arabs, and many Sunnis who opposed the elections in January are now participating in the political process.
"[A]s Iraqis see that their military can protect them, more will step forward with vital intelligence to help defeat the enemies of a free Iraq. The combination of political and military reform will lay a solid foundation for a free and stable Iraq," Bush said.

The transcript of Bush's speech

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