Bush Vows Resolve in Iraq
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2005 U.S. forces will stay in Iraq until the fight is won and the Iraqis are ready to defend their own freedom, President Bush said today.
Addressing soldiers and family members of the Idaho National Guard in Nampa, Idaho, Bush said that as long as he is president, "we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terrorism."
The war in Iraq affects the safety and security of every American, Bush said, because America's enemies blend in with the civilian population and will stop at nothing to achieve their aims of death and destruction.
On Sept. 11, 2001, America faced a choice, Bush said: to retreat behind a false sense of security or to take the fight to the terrorists, striking them before they could strike again. Bush said he made a choice to be on the offensive and not wait for another attack, and since then he has followed a clear strategy to defeat the terrorists.
The first part of the strategy is to defend the homeland, Bush said. This involves strengthening intelligence capabilities, training more first responders and protecting cities, borders and infrastructures, he explained.
The second part of the strategy is to go after terrorists where they live, because in a free, open society like America, it is impossible to defend against all threats, Bush said.
"We're determined, and we're relentless, and we will stay on the hunt until the terrorists have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide," he said.
The third, critical aspect of the U.S. strategy is to spread the hope of freedom in the Middle East, Bush said.
"In the long run, the only way to defeat the terrorists is by offering an alternative to their ideology of hatred and fear," he said. "By advancing the cause of liberty and freedom in the Middle East, we're bringing hope to millions and security to our own citizens. By bringing freedom and hope to parts of the world that have lived in despair, we're laying the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren."
Bush praised the National Guard for its role in the war on terror, noting that citizen soldiers have always been called upon to fight whenever America's freedom has been threatened.
"From the War of Independence to today's war on terror, the Guard has defended this country with courage and determination," he said. "Your service is needed in these dangerous times."
Iraqis desire to defend their own country, Bush said, and America's goal is to put them in a position to do so.
"Our approach can be summed up this way: As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," Bush said. "And when the Iraqi forces can defend their freedom by taking more and more of the fight to the enemy, our troops will come home with the honor they have earned."
Insurgents have failed to disrupt the political process in Iraq so far, and the recently submitted constitution by the constitutional drafting committee to Iraq's Transitional National Assembly is proof that the country is closer to freedom every day, Bush said. The Iraqis still have to resolve difficult issues, he said, but he praised them for their cooperation with each other during the process.
"We admire their thoughtful deliberations, and we salute the determination of the Iraqi leaders to lay the foundation of a lasting democracy amid the ruins of a brutal dictatorship," he said.