Bush Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Troops, Iraq, Terror War
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2006 America stands committed to its military members, to the Iraqis and to victory in the war on terror, President Bush said today during a White House news conference following yesterday’s elections and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation today.
“Amid this time of change, I have a message for those on the front lines,” Bush said.
“To our enemies, do not be joyful. Do not confuse the workings of our democracy with a lack of will,” he said. “Our nation is committed to bringing you to justice. Liberty and democracy are the source of America's strength, and liberty and democracy will lift up the hopes and desires of those you are trying to destroy.”
The president also offered assurances to the Iraqi people that the United States won’t abandon them. “To the people of Iraq: Do not be fearful,” he said. “As you take the difficult steps toward democracy and peace, America's going to stand with you. We know you want a better way of life, and now is the time to seize it.”
The president also expressed reassurance to members of the armed forces. “To our brave men and women in uniform: Don't be doubtful,” he said. “America will always support you. Our nation is blessed to have men and women who volunteer to serve and are willing to risk their own lives for the safety of our fellow citizens.”
Bush acknowledged that yesterday’s election results send a message that many people would like to speed up the timetable for bringing the troops home. “I'd like our troops to come home too, but I want them to come home with victory,” he said.
He defined that victory as an Iraq “that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself” and said he believes that the American people agree. “I recognize that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made there,” he said. “Yet, I also believe most Americans and leaders here in Washington from both political parties understand we cannot accept defeat.
“And so I'm committed to victory,” he said. “I'm committed to helping this country so that we can come home.”
Yesterday’s election “has changed many things in Washington, but it has not changed my fundamental responsibility, and that is to protect the American people from attack,” Bush said. “As the commander in chief, I take these responsibilities seriously. And so does the man who served this nation honorably for almost six years as our secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld.”
Bush vowed to work with both parties in Congress to ensure the best path forward for the country. He expressed optimism that although people’s approaches may differ, they share a basic goal that transcends party lines. “No leader in Washington is going to walk away from protecting the country,” he said.
He called the war on terror “a tough fight,” but assured the American people, “we’re going to win that fight.”