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Cheney: Strategy for Success in Iraq Is Working

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2006 – Terrorists have demonstrated through their violence that they understand what's at stake in Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney said today, insisting that the terrorists will ultimately fail and that the strategy for success is working.

Speaking here to the 46th Annual American Legion Washington Conference, Cheney said terrorists are committing acts of horror in Iraq in a calculated move to shock and intimidate the civilized world. Similarly, he called last week's attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra "a clear attempt to ignite a civil war."

Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror and the United States must do the same, Cheney said.

"This nation has made a decision: We will stand by our friends and engage our enemies with the goal of a victory," he said. "And as the president said in the State of the Union (address), 'We are in this fight to win, and we are winning.'"

While acknowledging that more violence and destruction can be expected, the vice president said he and President Bush are optimistic that Iraq's political factions will work together to form a stable, viable representative government.

"We expect, as well, that as freedom takes hold, the ideologies of hatred and resentment will lose their appeal, and the advance of democracy in Iraq will inspire reformers across the broader Middle East," he said.

As the region experiences new hope and progress, "a terrible threat will be removed from the lives of our children and our grandchildren," he said.

Reaching that point won't happen overnight and will demand patience and perseverance on the part of the American people, Cheney said.

It will also require continued sacrifice by the country's men and women in uniform, he said.

Cheney thanked members of the American Legion for their strong support for the military. "I know it means a great deal to them to know how deeply you believe in them and in the cause they serve during a time of enormous consequence," he said.

America's armed forces, currently serving in 100 countries around the world, provide a visible sign of the country's global commitments, he said. These men and women are "defending our interests, standing by our friends, keeping patient vigil against possible dangers and above all, directly engaging the enemies of the United States," he said.

Military service has always involved accepting extremely perilous missions, the vice president said. "The war on terror is a new kind of war against the most ruthless of enemies, and the fight we are waging is every bit as urgent as it is dangerous," he said.

The servicemembers carrying out this fight are carrying out longstanding military ideals, he said. "In this new generation, we are seeing once against that the American in uniform places the mission first, never accepts defeat, never quits, and never leaves a fallen comrade," Cheney said.

By showing compassion and decency even in what Cheney called "the cruelties of battle," these troops are showing the world America's true character, just as the legionaries who served before them, he said.

"Our people in uniform today are following noble traditions and upholding a brave legacy," Cheney said. "And they find inspiration from those who came before them."

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