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Bush Speaks With U.S. Leaders in Iraq, Expresses Confidence

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 2007 – After speaking with commanders of U.S. provincial reconstruction teams and brigade combat teams via videoconference from Iraq today, President Bush expressed confidence about the chances for success in that country.

In remarks after the videoconference, Bush said that Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, told him that for the week of Sept. 8-15, attack levels across Iraq were the lowest they have been since January 2006.

“And when you couple that with grassroots efforts that our … provincial reconstruction teams are making, you begin to get a sense of why I'm confident that we can succeed in Iraq, why I believe that the efforts that we're making toward making sure that extremists like al Qaeda doesn't have safe haven from which to plot attacks and, at the same time, helping people realize the blessings of liberty which will yield long-term peace can happen, can succeed,” Bush said.

Bush said he thanked the leaders for their service to the nation and the sacrifices they and their families make. He also cited the progress noted last week when Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker made their report to Congress.

“I told the folks there that, on behalf of a grateful nation, that we thank them for what they're doing,” he said. “And I look forward to further discussions with those who actually see the progress that is taking place, with those who are living amongst the people and can report firsthand that the success that was reported on by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker now … is happening on a daily basis.”

There is plenty of work still to be done in Iraq, Bush acknowledged, but the mission is important to U.S. security and success is possible, he said.

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