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Bush: Terrorists converging on Iraq, US must stay
Reuters ^ | Aug. 24, 2005 | Reuters

Posted on 08/24/2005 9:24:48 PM PDT by FairOpinion

NAMPA, Idaho, Aug 24 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush said on Wednesday terrorists had converged on Iraq and that pulling U.S. troops out would only embolden them.

Bush's speech, coinciding with news that 1,500 more troops were headed to Iraq in coming weeks, was part of an effort to counter increased anti-war sentiment which has contributed to a sharp decline in the president's approval ratings.

Bush pointedly played up the case of a military mother who supported the Iraq war, in contrast to Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier who began a protest outside Bush's Texas ranch and has become a symbol for the anti-war movement.

"One of the most important battle fronts in this war on terror is Iraq," Bush told an audience of about 9,500, including members of the Idaho National Guard and other military branches.

"The stakes in Iraq could not be higher. The brutal violence in Iraq today is a clear sign of the terrorists' determination to stop democracy from taking root in the Middle East," he added.

Bush's comments came on a day when dozens of insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked police checkpoints in Baghdad.

More than 1,800 American troops have been killed in Iraq. The Bush administration's initial justification for the war was that Iraq posed a threat because it had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. None were found.

'WE NEED MORE THAN PHOTO-OPS'

"We need more than photo-ops and spin control to win this war. We need an effective plan to achieve our goals in Iraq and protect our troops. The president once again offered neither," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat. "He needs to realize what most Americans now understand -- that staying the course is not an option."

Bush has increasingly tied staying in Iraq to the need to fight terrorism following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Critics say the administration is trying to shift justification for the war despite lack of evidence linking prewar Iraq and Sept. 11.

A Harris poll released on Wednesday showed Bush's approval rating dropping to 40 percent, while 58 percent had a negative opinion. The previous Harris poll in June had Bush's approval rating at 45 percent, versus 55 percent disapproval.

Forty-one percent of respondents considered Iraq the most important issue facing the country, up from 24 percent in June, according to the telephone poll of 1,217 Americans between Aug. 9 and 16. Other recent polls have shown growing unease among Americans with the Iraq war.

Bush said foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya were targeting Iraqi civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks.

"We will stay on the offense. We'll complete our work in Afghanistan and Iraq," Bush said. "An immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq or the broader Middle East, as some have called for, would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations," he said.

"So long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight, and we will win the war on terror," Bush said.

The Pentagon announced that it would send 1,500 airborne troops from North Carolina to Iraq as part of a plan to bolster security for votes there in October and December.

There are now 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That total could temporarily rise to 160,000 ahead of the votes as thousands of soldiers scheduled for rotation home are kept in place after the arrival of their replacements, defense officials said.

MEETING WITH MILITARY FAMILIES

Bush's comments came a day before the Iraqi parliament was due to vote on a new constitution backed by the Shi'ite-led government but opposed by minority Sunnis.

Seeking to defuse arguments by military families protesting the war, Bush quoted Tammy Pruett, whose husband and five sons have served or are deployed in Iraq, as saying if something happened to one of them, they had fought for what they believed.

"America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruett's," said Bush, who kissed Tammy Pruett on the cheek after his speech and met with 19 other military families.

Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, has sought a second meeting with Bush and wants U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq. Bush has no plans to meet Sheehan after meeting her last year after her 24-year-old son died.

Sheehan returned to her vigil outside Bush's ranch later on Wednesday after going to California to care for her ailing mother.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Idaho; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: cindysheehan; iraq; oif; staythecourse; terrorists
Cindy Sheehan and her supporters WANT the US to lose and the terrorists to win, and probably want to have terrorist attacks IN the US, so they can blame President Bush.
1 posted on 08/24/2005 9:24:49 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: FairOpinion

bttt


2 posted on 08/24/2005 9:26:11 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: FairOpinion

God bless George W. Bush, but he should say "Terrorists converging on Iraq, US keeps killing them."

It always comes back to "better to kill them over there than have them kill us over here" for me. It's like one big rat trap - now if we could just find a way for them to carry poison to their fellow terrorists, like an exterminator would do.


3 posted on 08/24/2005 9:34:32 PM PDT by Kryptonite
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To: nopardons

These things are always skewed against Bush. I'm beyond tired of it.


4 posted on 08/24/2005 9:35:12 PM PDT by Just Lori (Praying that liberals will see the light. Yes, I believe in miracles.)
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To: nopardons; Black Tooth; moehoward

so if pulling out of iraq will embolden terrorists....

then why should israel have pulled out of gaza?


5 posted on 08/24/2005 9:35:57 PM PDT by Stellar Dendrite ( Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. -Churchill)
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To: FairOpinion
"We need more than photo-ops and spin control to win this war. We need an effective plan to achieve our goals in Iraq and protect our troops. The president once again offered neither," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat. "He needs to realize what most Americans now understand -- that staying the course is not an option."

We'll drive off that bridge when we come to it, Senator.

6 posted on 08/24/2005 9:38:33 PM PDT by sauropod (Polite political action is about as useful as a miniskirt in a convent -- Claire Wolfe)
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To: FairOpinion
President George W. Bush said on Wednesday terrorists had converged on Iraq and that pulling U.S. troops out would only embolden them.

Terrorists had converged on Iraq!?

As opposed to converging where else?

GWB & Co. have, perhaps, been very wise after all.

Remember, these terrorist groups were already funded, trained, supplied and ready to act somewhere. GWB gave them an easy, handy dandy target to focus on, and that change of focus has protected U.S. citizens at home. Plus allowed the identification of the enemy which has usually led to their death.
IMHO

7 posted on 08/24/2005 9:42:59 PM PDT by Lester Moore (islam's allah is Satan and is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.)
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To: FairOpinion

PresBush has been right from the get-go. Fighting the terrorists over there, is better then fighting them over here. The plan is working and in the long run, the plan will succeed.


8 posted on 08/24/2005 10:03:34 PM PDT by Reagan Man (Secure the borders;punish employers who hire illegals;halt all welfare handouts to illegals.)
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To: Stellar Dendrite
They should NEVER have left Gaza! Israel should have kept every inch of land they took, after winning the war in '67!
9 posted on 08/24/2005 10:32:38 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: FairOpinion
Dubya needs new material desperately. He is reading lines from 2004...
10 posted on 08/24/2005 10:33:11 PM PDT by HitmanLV
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To: Spanaway Lori

Me too.


11 posted on 08/24/2005 10:33:17 PM PDT by nopardons
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To: Stellar Dendrite

Hell of a question.

I can't think of a bigger victory for the bad guys than this Islamic constitution Iraq seems to be cobbling together.


12 posted on 08/24/2005 10:59:49 PM PDT by moehoward
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