Bush: Iraqis 'Are Taking Control of Their Country'
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2005 As they complete a draft democratic constitution by the Aug. 15 deadline, Iraq's elected leaders are taking "a critical step on the path to Iraqi self-reliance," President Bush said today during his weekly radio address.
In so doing, "Iraqis are taking control of their country," he said.
Bush noted Iraqi voters are slated to approve or disapprove the document during an Oct. 15 referendum.
Despite continued insurgent violence, the Iraqi people are "building a free nation," he pointed out, "that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself."
America and its coalition partners "are helping the Iraqis to succeed," the president said, by chasing down terrorists and training Iraqi security forces "so Iraqis can defend their own country."
The U.S. approach in Iraq is "as Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," Bush said.
When the U.S. mission to defeat terrorists in Iraq is finished, "our troops will come home to a proud and grateful nation," he said.
Bush said insurgent violence continues in Iraq today because "the terrorists know that a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will be a crippling blow to their hateful ideology." Therefore, American, coalition and Iraqi efforts against insurgents in Iraq constitute "a vital part" of the global war on terror, Bush said.
Since the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, Bush noted that terrorists have also struck Madrid, Casablanca, Istanbul, Riyadh, Jakarta, London, Bali, Baghdad and elsewhere across the globe.
And "the enemy remains determined to do more harm," Bush pointed out. Terrorists want to shake the will of free nations and "topple governments across the Middle East, establish Taliban-like regimes in their place, and turn the Middle East into a launching pad for attacks against free people," the president said.
But the terrorists are doomed to fail, "because we are fighting their murderous ideology with a clear strategy," Bush said.
U.S. and coalition forces are staying on the offensive against terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere around the globe "so we do not have to face them here at home." the president said.
American and coalition efforts to spread democracy across the Middle East represent another facet of the war, Bush said, noting, "free societies are peaceful societies."
The members of the U.S. armed forces are "serving with courage and commitment" in the fight against terrorism around the world, Bush declared. And U.S. servicemembers' "bravery is inspiring others to join them," he added.
All the U.S. armed services met or exceeded their July active duty recruiting goals, Bush noted, and "the troops closest to the fight continue to re-enlist in impressive numbers." He said the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are all poised to meet or exceed their re-enlistment goals for this year.
America's servicemembers "know the stakes of this war," Bush said, adding, "Americans can have pride and confidence in our all-volunteer forces."
Victories achieved against the terrorists haven't come without personal cost, the president acknowledged. "Our nation grieves the death of every man and woman we lose in combat and our hearts go after the loved ones who mourn them," he said.
But Americans "can be confident in the future" outcome of the war, the president asserted, "because the darkness of tyranny is no match for the shining power of freedom."
The terrorist forces cannot defeat U.S. forces on the battlefield, Bush said. The only way terrorists can win the war is if America loses its resolve for the fight, he said.
"That will not happen on my watch," Bush vowed. A premature withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq before the mission there was finished "would betray the Iraqi people," he stressed, and "would cause others to question America's commitment to spreading freedom and winning the war on terror."
Bush pledged that America would honor its fallen service members by completing the mission in Iraq. "And by doing so, we will ensure that freedom and peace will prevail," Bush concluded.