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America Will 'Finish the Job' in Iraq, Bush Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2004 – The U.S. commander in chief today thanked service members and families for their sacrifice and support in the war against terrorism during a troop visit to Fort Lewis, Wash.

President Bush said he was "very proud" and grateful for the efforts of American service members, noting some Fort Lewis soldiers had given their lives in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Our nation will never forget their sacrifice and their service," Bush declared, noting U.S. troops' stateside and overseas contributions "are making our world more peaceful" and America safer.

He predicted, however, that terrorists in Iraq "will grow more desperate and more violent" as Iraqis move closer to gaining sovereignty on June 30.

Iraqis are reclaiming their country after decades of despotic rule, Bush pointed out. The terrorists have cause for alarm, because "these killers know they have no future in a free Iraq."

Terrorists want the U.S. military to depart Iraq, but Bush vowed that that wouldn't happen.

"They want us to break our word," he explained, "so they're attacking us and they're attacking free Iraqis."

The terrorists, however, don't understand America or the resolve of its people, Bush pointed out.

"When America says we'll do something," the president declared, "we are going to do it -- and finish the job."

Bush noted the terrorists failed to intimidate the United States and also can't cow Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

He recalled Allawi's denunciation of terrorism and his vow to fight on after visiting the scene of the June 17 Baghdad recruiting station bombing. It reportedly killed at least 35 and injured more than 135.

The U.S. president said he and Allawi "share the same determination." The terrorists will fail in Iraq, Bush explained, because "the Iraqi people will not accept a return to tyranny."

And U.S. and allied resolve to establish a free, democratic Iraq "will not be shaken," he said.

Terrorists are also doomed to fail in Iraq, Bush told Fort Lewis soldiers and families, "because of the courageous men and women, like you, who are standing in their way."

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Transcript of the President's Remarks at Fort Lewis, Wash.


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