By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
April 24, 2007 – Although most Americans would like to see the conflict in Iraq end and U.S. troops come home, America must persevere in Iraq to ensure its own future security, President Bush said here today. "No matter how frustrating the fight can be and no matter how much we wish the war was over, the security of our country depends directly on the outcome in Iraq," Bush said in a White House statement on the 2007 Iraq war supplemental spending bill.
Bush spoke against Congress's proposed bill, which ties funding for the war with withdrawal deadlines for U.S. troops from Iraq. Setting withdrawal deadlines would let the enemy know exactly how long they have to wait before they can try to take over Iraq and use it as a base for future attacks, he said.
"A lesson of 9/11 is that allowing terrorists to find a sanctuary anywhere in the world can have deadly consequences on the streets of our own cities," Bush said. "Precipitous withdrawal from Iraq is not a plan to bring peace to the region or to make our people safer at home. Instead, it would embolden our enemies and confirm their belief that America is weak."
Withdrawing from Iraq before the job is done would be an invitation to terrorists to attack America and its allies around the world, Bush said, and would increase the chance that American troops would have to return to Iraq one day and face a stronger enemy.
Bush said he listened when, in the November 2006 election, the American people voiced a desire for change in the strategy in Iraq. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new commander of Multinational Force Iraq, is carrying out a strategy that's drastically different from the previous strategy, Bush said. While the people voted for change in Iraq strategy, Bush added, "the American people did not vote for failure."
"The price of giving up (in Iraq) would be paid in American lives for years to come," Bush said. "It would be (an) unforgiveable mistake for leaders in Washington to allow politics and impatience to stand in the way of protecting the American people."
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