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Bush: No Timetable Set for U.S. Troop Departure From Iraq

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2005 – There will not be any timetables to schedule the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq, President Bush said today at a White House news conference.

As U.S. and allied forces continue to help Iraqis battle insurgents, Bush noted it makes no sense to announce a withdrawal timetable. The enemy, the president said, would then simply "just go ahead and wait us out."

Flanked by Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Bush characterized insurgents in Iraq as "a violent and ruthless enemy with no regard for human life."

Deadly bombings carried out by insurgents are designed to drive U.S. troops out of Iraq "before the Iraqis have established a secure democratic government," Bush said.

Bush asserted that the insurgents are "an enemy that will be defeated."

Jaafari thanked the American people for their help in confronting the insurgency, noting, "This is not the time to fall back." The Iraqi prime minister said he believes that "steady and substantial progress" is being made against the insurgents.

Democratization in Iraq is going forward, with nationwide voting on a new constitution slated for the fall, Bush said. And, the task of growing Iraqi security forces continues, Bush said, noting, "We're making good progress."

Bush said Iraqi army recruiting continues to be strong, and those recruits are being trained to fight terrorists. "That's our strategy, and it is working, and it's going to work," Bush said.

And, as Iraqis assume their country's security and national defense missions, then U.S. troops "will eventually return home with the honor they have earned," Bush said.

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Transcript of President Bushs news conference

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