Bush Underscores Importance of Iraq in Terror War
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2006 Although some people may call the war in Iraq a diversion from the war on terror, terrorists disagree, and they recognize that their long-term success or failure hinges on what happens in Iraq, President Bush said today during an address in Marietta, Ga.
President Bush delivers his remarks on the global war on terror during a visit to Marietta, Ga., Sept. 7. White House photo by Eric Draper
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Speaking to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Bush offered his fourth major address within the past week about the terror war, discussing the importance of Iraq and reaffirming his commitment to stay the course until achieving victory there.
“Osama bin Laden has proclaimed that the third world war is raging in Iraq,” Bush said. “Al Qaeda leaders have declared that Baghdad will be the capital of the new ‘caliphate’ that they wish to establish across the broader Middle East.”
One need only consider the terrorists’ investment in Iraq to know the stakes, Bush said. “It's hard to believe that extremists would make large journeys across dangerous borders to endure heavy fighting and to blow themselves up on the streets of Baghdad for a so-called ‘diversion,’” the president said. “The terrorists know that the outcome in the war on terror will depend on the outcome in Iraq. And so, to protect our citizens, the free world must succeed in Iraq.”
He cited progress in Iraq as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's unity government fights al Qaeda and the enemies of Iraq's fledging democracy. “They're taking increasing responsibility for the security of their free country,” he said.
The president acknowledged that the fighting in Iraq “has been difficult and it has been bloody,” and he praised the servicemembers who are carrying it out.
“We see that full measure and the strength of this nation in the men and women in uniform who fight this war and who have given their lives in the cause of liberty and freedom,” Bush said.
He recognized Army 1st Lt. Noah Harris, who died June 18 in Baqubah, Iraq, after a roadside bomb hit his Humvee, as an example of those soldiers and their sacrifice. Another Fort Benning, Ga., soldier, Cpl. William A. Long, also died in the attack.
Harris, 23, of Ellijay, Ga., joined the Army's 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, after the Sept. 11 attacks. “He told his dad that people had an obligation to serve a cause higher than themselves,” Bush said.
“In Iraq, Lieutenant Harris was an officer known for his toughness and his skill in battle and for the Beanie Babies that he carried with him to hand out to the Iraqi children,” the president said.
“He was also known for the photo of his parents' home in Ellijay that he used as a screen saver on his computer. When his troops asked why he chose that picture, he explained, ‘That is why I'm here,’” Bush said.
“Lieutenant Harris understood the stakes in Iraq,” Bush said. “He knew that to protect his loved ones at home, America must defeat our enemies overseas.”
Bush said Harris understood the importance of seeing the mission through in Iraq. “If America pulls out of Iraq before the Iraqis can defend themselves, the terrorists will follow us here home,” the president said.
“The best way to honor the memory of brave Americans like Lieutenant Harris is to complete the mission they began,” Bush said. “So we will stay, we will fight and we will win in Iraq.”