Bush: Defeating Extremists is ‘Calling of Our Time’
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2006 Success in Iraq will help protect the United States in the long run, President Bush said here today.
“This is really the calling of our time -- that is, to defeat these extremists and radicals, and Iraq is a component part, an important part, of laying the foundation for peace,” Bush said following a meeting with State Department officials about the way forward in Iraq.
Bush, who received the Iraq Study Group report Dec. 6, said all advice is helpful when crafting a new way forward in Iraq. Tomorrow, Bush will participate in a video conference with senior military commanders and Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, and host Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi in the White House. On Dec. 13, he meets with officials at the Pentagon.
Bush said he looks forward to continuing his deliberations and including the State Department and Defense Department in the discussions, “so that when I do speak to the American people, they will know that I’ve listened to all aspects of government, and that the way forward is the way forward to achieve our objective -- to succeed in Iraq.”
Bush said he appreciates the Iraqi government taking the lead in its region and that most of the surrounding countries understand that a democratic Iraq is in their interests. The U.S. needs to focus efforts to help the Iraqis succeed, he said.
“Success is a country that governs, defends itself, that is a free society that serves as an ally in this war on terror,” he said.
Success in Iraq is vital because that country is a central component of defeating the extremists who want to establish a safe haven in the Middle East from which to attack the U.S. and other countries and spread totalitarian ideology, Bush said.