Iraq Violence Depicts Terrorists' Desperation, Bush Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2006 Continued acts of brutal violence performed by terrorist groups operating in Iraq depict a desperate and frustrated enemy, President Bush said yesterday in Louisville, Ky.
President Bush talks about the global war on terror during remarks given in Louisville, Ky., Jan. 11. White House photo by Eric Draper
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
"It's hard for me to believe that we've got soldiers passing out candy to young kids, and a killer comes and kills the kids and the soldiers," Bush said in remarks given at the Kentucky International Convention Center.
Bush said this shows that terrorists in Iraq will do anything to try to force America to withdraw its military forces from the country.
"They will go to no ends to defeat us," Bush said, "but, they can't beat us on the battlefield. The only thing they can do is create these brutal scenes."
The best way to defeat terrorists in Iraq, Bush said, is to train, equip and field capable Iraqi security forces to deal with them.
"And that's what's happening," Bush said, noting he'd recently received briefings on Iraq from Army Gens. John Abizaid and George W. Casey Jr. on the subject. Abizaid is U.S. Central Command's commanding general, and Casey is in charge of Multinational Force Iraq. The two generals came to Washington this week for meetings with senior Pentagon officials.
"These are generals, you'd be happy to hear, who tell me the way it is, not the way they think I would like it to be," Bush said, noting he understands that the Iraqi soldiers are good fighters and that much territory has been ceded to their control.
The Iraqi people want democracy, Bush said, pointing to the three successful elections held last year that established Iraq's constitution and permanent government.
"And now part of the mission is to give this government a security force which will help fight off the few who are trying to stop the hopes of the many," Bush said.
Bush said a key element of U.S. security strategy for Iraq in 2006 will be to accelerate the training of Iraq's police forces. The Iraqi police are "pretty well trained," Bush said, but he noted they still require human rights training. News reports have said some Iraqi police had improperly used their authority to settle old scores.
"You can't have a democracy in which the police don't enforce the rule of law, but enforce their view of revenge," Bush said. To address the issue, U.S. and coalition law enforcement specialists will join Iraqi police units, the president said, to provide mentoring and training on professional ethics and the rule of law.
Advances in Iraq also are being made on the economic and reconstruction front, Bush said.
"The Iraqi economy has got a great chance to succeed," Bush said. The country's post-war oil and gas revenues are less than predicted, he said, because of infrastructure neglect committed by the deposed Saddam regime and current-day sabotage of pipelines by terrorists.
Improved security provided by Iraq's soldiers and police eventually will take care of the terrorist issue, Bush predicted, while recent surveys say Iraqis are optimistic for their nation's economic future. Small businesses are sprouting up all across Iraq, the president said.
However, Bush cautioned, it'll take some time for Iraq to get back onto its economic feet.
"It's not going to happen overnight. You can't go from a tightly controlled economy to an open market overnight, but it's happening," Bush said. The Iraqi government is making tough choices, he said, that will assist the country's economy to flourish.
Bush said he's confident of success in Iraq, despite the terrorists' violence.
"The enemy has one weapon - I repeat to you - and that's to shake our will," Bush said. "I just want to tell you, whether you agree with me, or not, they're not going to shake my will.
"We're doing the right thing," Bush said.