Bush Calls on Americans to Unite Against Terror in Iraq
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2005 While people may disagree on the decision to liberate Iraq, all should agree that the country is the central front in the war on terror, President Bush said in his weekly national radio address today.
Bush reminded Americans that the United States did not seek the war on terror. "We went to war because we were attacked," he said. "And we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens.
The president said terrorists are violently opposed to a democratic and free Iraq. "They know that when we replace despair and hatred with liberty and hope, they lose their recruiting grounds for terror," he said.
Bush said American servicemembers are fighting in Iraq so Americans won't have to face the terrorists in the United States. "The terrorists know they cannot defeat our troops, so they seek to weaken our nation's resolve," the president said. "They know there is no room for them in a free and democratic Middle East, so the terrorists and insurgents are trying to get us to retreat."
The terrorists' goal is to get the coalition to leave Iraq before the Iraqi government and its security forces are ready to assume responsibility.
No one should underestimate the Iraqi people, the president said. "Time and again, the Iraqi people have defied the skeptics who claim they are not up to the job of building a free society," he said.
He noted that June 28 marks a year since the Coalition Provisional Authority returned sovereignty to the Iraqi people. In that time, the Iraqi government has held elections, formed a government and begun writing a constitution. The Iraqis have also fielded a force of almost 170,000 police and soldiers now fighting alongside coalition forces.
"This week, Iraqis have worked on an agreement to expand their constitutional-drafting committee to ensure that all communities are represented in the process," Bush said. "I am confident that Iraqis will continue to defy the skeptics as they build a new Iraq that represents the diversity of their nation and assumes greater responsibility for their own security. And when they do, our troops can come home with the honor they have earned."
The mission in Iraq is not easy nor will it be quick, the president said. "We're fighting a ruthless enemy that relishes the killing of innocent men, women and children," he said. "By making their stand in Iraq, the terrorists have made Iraq a vital test for the future security of our country and the free world. We will settle for nothing less than victory."