Bush Lauds U.S. Troops, Pledges to Send More 'If Needed'
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 25, 2004 American troops "are showing exceptional skill and courage" in Iraq, President Bush said in a televised address from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., May 24.
President George W. Bush delivers remarks on Iraq and the war
on terror at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., May 24, 2004.
White House photo by Eric Draper
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Speaking to a predominantly military audience at the Army's senior service college, Bush said he would maintain the current troop level of 138,000 in Iraq "as long as necessary" and he would send more troops if they are needed.
He said the troop-level increase was due to "the recent increase in violence."
Providing security in Iraqi is step two in Bush's five-step plan to achieve the coalition's goal of a democratic Iraq. Most of Bush's speech was dedicated to detailing this plan.
"Coalition forces and the Iraqi people have the same enemies the terrorists, illegal militia and Saddam (Hussein) loyalists who stand between the Iraqi people and their future as a free nation," he said. "Working as allies, we will defend Iraq and defeat these enemies."
The president acknowledged the increase in troops on the ground in Iraq, up from a previous level of 115,000, resulted in 20,000 soldiers from the Army's 1st Armored Division and 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment being extended in Iraq.
These soldiers were scheduled to leave Iraq in April. Most will now redeploy to their home bases in July.
"Our nation appreciates their hard work and sacrifice," Bush said. "And they can know that they will be heading home soon."