Bush: Troops Need Support Despite Political Debate
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2005 Debate about policy decisions and his approval rating as president are not reflections on the value of the service military members are providing every day, President Bush said in San Diego, Calif., Aug. 30.
After speaking at a ceremony commemorating the Allied victory over Japan 60 years ago, the president and first lady Laura Bush sat down to an interview with the Pentagon Channel and discussed the importance of support for the troops, regardless of what people may think of his politics.
"There's a difference between whether or not people support the decisions I have made and whether or not people support the troops," Bush said. "Our troops have just got to know that America supports them."
Bush said he is aware of the debate about the U.S. withdrawing its forces from Iraq, but emphasized he is firm in his position.
"I have made it absolutely clear that we will not withdraw now," he said. "We will complete the mission. I will continue to make the case that by withdrawing now, we will make the world less secure; we will have abandoned our word."
American society encourages people to express their opinions and have debates, but troops and families need to know America is supporting them as they make sacrifices to defend freedom, Bush said. Americans can show their support in many ways, one of which is by visiting the Defense Department's "America Supports You" Web site, which gives ideas on how to support the troops, he said.
Servicemembers and their families have had to make major sacrifices since the war on terror began almost four years ago, but they also are enjoying enhanced benefits, Bush said. Housing, pay, health care, training and equipment all have been improved, he said, and military families have a strong support community.
"We're a much more robust military today and a much more considerate military today than we were four or five years ago," he said.
The dedication of today's military members can be seen in the wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who, despite their life-changing injuries, want to return to the fight as soon as possible, Laura Bush said.
"The amazing thing for me is how strong they are," she said.
It is important for the government and the American public to support these wounded troops now and for the rest of their lives, she said, because they will always be affected by the sacrifices they have made.
President Bush said he attributes these servicemembers' dedication to two factors: first, the character of the troops and their understanding of the importance of the mission, and second, their willingness to defeat an enemy for the sake of future generations.
"America's lucky to have such incredibly courageous people," he said.
These dedicated troops will help the United States achieve its objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush said, where he is confident freedom will prevail.
"When freedom prevails, history has proven that peace will prevail," he said. "When people see Iraq as an example - a country that answers to the hopes and aspirations of the people themselves, not to a tyrant - more will demand that kind of freedom."