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Bush Outlines Three-Point Iraq Success Plan for 2006

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2006 – U.S. efforts to help Iraqis set up an enduring democratic government will key on three critical areas this year, President Bush said here today.

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After talking about progress in the war on terror with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush greets audience members in Washington Jan. 10. "This is one of America's great organizations. I appreciate the proud and patriotic work you do across America," Bush said. Photo by Paul Morse

(Click photo for screen-resolution image)

"History has shown that free nations are peaceful nations," Bush said in remarks to members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "And by helping Iraqis build a lasting democracy, we spread the hope of liberty across a troubled region."

The United States will focus on political, security and economic elements, Bush said, to further assist Iraqis to establish democracy in their country.

"On the political side, we will help Iraqis consolidate the democratic gains they made last year," Bush said, "and help them build democratic institutions, a unified government, and a lasting free society."

The United States also will help Iraqis bolster their military and police forces, Bush said.

"We will continue to strengthen the Iraqi security forces, with an emphasis on improving the capabilities of the Iraqi police," he said, "so that over the next 12 months Iraqi forces can take control of more territory from our coalition and take the lead in the fight."

And the U.S. will continue to help Iraqis jump start their economy and refurbish the country's infrastructure, the president said.

"We will continue reconstruction efforts and help Iraq's new government implement difficult reforms that are necessary to build a modern economy and a better life," Bush said.

The United States is learning from its experiences in Iraq and is making adjustments, the president said.

"And in the year ahead, we will continue to make every change that will help us complete the mission and achieve the victory we all want," Bush said.

Last year, Bush said, the Iraqis held three successful elections that provided, respectively, a transitional government, a constitution, and a permanent government under the new constitution that's slated to serve four years.

"Each successive election has seen less violence, bigger turnouts, and broader participation than the one before," Bush said.

However, the president predicted that foreign terrorists and supporters of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein will continue their efforts to destabilize the new Iraqi government.

"These killers will stop at nothing to undermine the new government, divide the Iraqi people, and try to break their will," Bush said. However, the success of Iraq's electoral process, which now includes Sunni participation, has dealt a hard blow to terrorists' interests, Bush said.

"The Saddamists and rejectionists are finding themselves increasingly marginalized," Bush said, "as Sunni Arabs who once rejected the political process are now participating in the democratic life of their country."

Iraq's leaders will form a new government after the final results from the Dec. 15 voting come in, Bush said.

"And in the weeks ahead, Americans will likely see a good deal of political turmoil in Iraq as different factions and leaders compete for position and jockey for power," Bush said.

That's to be expected, since such political activity represents "freedom in action," Bush said.

Iraqis were ruled for decades by a brutal dictator, so they are new to the democratic process, Bush said. "So we shouldn't be surprised if Iraqis make mistakes and face setbacks in their effort to build a government that unites the Iraqi people," he said.

Bush said last year's elections demonstrated that Iraq's citizens can come together to promote national unity.

"Now Iraqis must reach out once again across political and religious and sectarian lines and form a government of national unity that gives a voice to all Iraqis," Bush said.

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