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Bush, Cheney Express Confidence in U.S. Iraq Strategy

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2005 – The United States has a winning strategy for Iraq that's showing steady success on the political, economic and security fronts, the president and vice president said today in separate forums.

"Our strategy is one that ... will lead us to victory," President Bush said in response to a reporter's question following a meeting with Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, director of the World Health Organization.

Terrorists have nothing to offer the Iraqi people, who Bush said are showing "incredible courage" in the face of violence by extremists desperate to reverse the wheels of progress. That progress continues as Iraqi and coalition forces stay on the offensive against terrorists and train Iraqi forces so they can take charge of the fight, the president said. Meanwhile, the Iraqis are moving steadily toward a new democratic government, Bush noted.

Meeting with troops just returned from Iraq at Fort Drum, N.Y., Vice President Dick Cheney echoed Bush's confidence in the U.S. strategy for victory in Iraq.

"On the political side, we are helping the Iraqis to build the institutions of a free and representative government," the vice president said, noting that every benchmark in the process has been successfully met. "On the economic side, we are helping the Iraqis in the work of rebuilding and reforming their economy.

"And on the security side, coalition and Iraqi goals are to clear, to hold and to build," he said. Combined forces are clearing areas of terrorist control by taking the offensive, holding those areas from enemy control, and building a better future for Iraq through targeted reconstruction efforts, he said.

"Thanks to the quality of our forces and the will of the Iraqi people to keep and defend their freedom, we have been making steady progress," Cheney said. He noted the increase in Iraqi army and police combat battalions, which now number more than 120, and the growing amount of territory they are now controlling.

"And as they undertake more and more missions on their own, confidence is growing within the country, and more and more intelligence is coming directly from the Iraqi people," he said.

Staying the course with U.S. strategy in Iraq will ensure this continued progress, Cheney said. "Our strategy is clear, our tactics will remain flexible, and we'll keep at this work until we finish the job," he said.

Seeing the mission through will pave a better future for the Iraqis but also help ensure the United States' security interests, Cheney said.

"The lessons of September the 11th are lessons this country must never forget," Bush said at the White House. "We've got to take each threat seriously. We've got to stay on the offensive."

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