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Bush Thanks General Who Oversaw Iraqi Training

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2007 – President Bush welcomed the former commander for Iraqi military training to the White House today to hear his assessments and thank him for his service and commitment to Iraq.

Bush met with Army Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, former commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, to evaluate the effectiveness of the training.

He noted that Dempsey recently returned from Iraq, where he oversaw efforts to train and equip Iraq’s security forces “to prepare them for the day when they will be responsible for the security of their country.”

Bush also thanked Dempsey for his service. “It’s an extraordinary country where people volunteer to go into combat zones to protect the security of the United States of America,” he said. “(There is) no more important mission for our military than Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Earlier this week, Dempsey told Pentagon reporters that Iraqi troops have made significant progress in being able to support themselves. However, he said, they still need more troops to make up for the lack of technology required to defend their country.

The training in Iraq is “all about helping them move from a force that is today very firmly focused on internal security,” he said.

This will be a vital step toward the day when “they'll need to protect themselves against external threat, as well,” Dempsey said.

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