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President Praises Troops, Says Victory Only Option in Iraq

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2006 – President Bush said today he knows the U.S. and coalition will succeed in Iraq and that he would never put the nation’s troops at risk if he didn’t believe that and recognize how important it is to U.S. long-term security.

The war in Iraq is difficult on U.S. troops and their loved ones, especially at this time of year, the president said during a news conference at the White House with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“I understand what long deployments mean to wives and husbands and mothers and fathers, particularly as we come into a holiday season,” Bush said. “And I have made it abundantly clear how tough it is.

“But I also believe we’re going to succeed. I believe we’ll prevail,” he said. “I know we have to adjust to prevail. But I wouldn’t have our troops in harm’s way if I didn’t believe that one, it was important, and two, we’ll succeed.”

Achieving victory won’t be easy, the president said. He acknowledged that progress in Iraq isn’t happening as quickly as he expected or hoped and said he’s open to new approaches, including those proposed yesterday in the Iraq Study Group report. “It’s a tough time,” he said. “It’s a difficult moment for America and Great Britain, and the task before us is daunting.”

The country appreciates the servicemembers who are rising to this challenge, he said. “I know how brave the men and women who wear the uniform are,” Bush said. “And therefore, they’ll have the full support of this government.”

Bush, noting that today is the 65th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, compared today’s challenges to what the United States and Great Britain faced during World War II. “Sixty-five years ago this day, America was jolted out of our isolationism and plunged into a global war that Britain had been fighting for two years,” he said.

“In that war, our nation stood firm,” he said, enduring difficult times as it overcame them to win the war.

“We will stand firm again in this first war of the 21st century,” the president said. “We will defeat the extremists and the radicals. We will help a young democracy prevail in Iraq. And in doing so, we will secure freedom and peace for millions, including our own citizens.”

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Related Sites:
Transcript of News Conference

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