Note: The following text is an exact quote:
Bush: U.S. Seeks 'Total Victory' Over Terrorists
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2005 U.S. servicemembers are fighting and sacrificing in Iraq because that country "is a central front in the war on terror," President Bush told Veterans of Foreign War members gathered in Salt Lake City today.
After addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Salt Lake City, President Bush chats with troops from the Utah National Guard on Aug. 22. Photo by Paul Morse
Terrorists want to "establish Taliban-like regimes" in Iraq and other troubled areas of the Middle East, Bush explained to VFW members at their annual convention, in order to "turn that region into a launching pad for more attacks" against America and its allies.
Yet, "in all their objectives" the terrorists "will fail," the president vowed.
The overriding lesson provided by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States is "we must confront threats before they fully materialize," Bush asserted, noting that "a policy of retreat and isolation" cannot protect Americans from terrorists' violence.
Therefore, "the only way to defend our citizens where we live," Bush maintained, "is to go after the terrorists where they live."
Bush saluted today's generation of U.S. servicemembers, who, in defending America and confronting terrorism across the globe, are fighting "the first war of the 21st century."
And the only acceptable outcome for the war is "total victory" over the terrorists, Bush said.
Terrorists want to transform Iraq "into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban," he noted.
And terrorists want to stop the spread of democracy in Iraq, "because they know a free Iraq will deal a decisive blow to their strategy to achieve absolute power," Bush said.
Iraqis had experienced three decades of dictatorship under Saddam Hussein, the president pointed out, noting, "They will not allow a new set of would-be tyrants to take control of their future."
Bush said more than 8 million Iraqis voted in recent democratic elections. And despite ongoing insurgent violence, the Iraqis "are building a nation that secures freedom for its citizens and contributes to peace and stability in that region," the president said.
The finished draft of a democratic national constitution will represent "a landmark event in the history of Iraq and the history of the Middle East," he said.
Crafting a constitution is an arduous process that involves "debate and compromise," he noted, pointing out that the U.S. constitution wasn't easily written and adopted.
As Iraqis continue to take on more responsibility for managing the day-to-day affairs of their nation, the U.S. and its allies will "help them to take responsibility for their own security," Bush said. American and Iraqi troops are serving side by side and "working to defeat the terrorists together."
As Iraqis gain more experience in fighting the insurgency, then American troops will stand down, Bush noted. Then, "our troops will come home with the honor they have earned," he said.
The 1.8-million-member VFW was founded in 1899 and works on behalf of all military veterans and their families.
Transcript of President's Remarks
Note: The following text is an exact quote:
Afghan Army, U.S. Marine Operation Helps Secure Konar Province
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2005 Afghan National Army forces and U.S. Marines killed more than 40 enemy combatants during an offensive operation over the last few weeks in the districts of Chawkay, Asadabad, Pech and Narang, in Afghanistan's Konar province.
The ANA and Marines fought side by side in 29 separate engagements against the enemy, disrupting hostile activity during Operation Whalers. The operation's purpose was to disrupt enemy forces in the area and to clear the way for successful elections, Combined Forces Command Afghanistan officials said.
"The ANA have demonstrated their abilities with great success," said Marine Lt. Col. James E. Donnellan, commanding officer of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. "The willingness and professionalism of the ANA to engage the enemy will ensure success for the security of Afghanistan."
Lt. Col. Nasir, commanding officer of the ANA battalion, also said he was proud of the courage shown by his Afghan soldiers. Afghan soldiers have made many sacrifices to fight for a democratic and free Afghanistan and, with the help of coalition forces, they will win the war on terrorism and defeat the enemies of Afghanistan, Nasir said.
Afghan and U.S. forces worked in close coordination with local leaders regarding the mission, meeting several times with Provincial Governor Wafa during the operation. Wafa also broadcasted several messages on local radio stations explaining the purpose of the operation.
Civil affairs and medical personnel also ensured Afghan citizens in the area received medical treatment and an opportunity to prosper and improve their lifestyle. U.S. forces brought much-needed supplies, humanitarian and civil assistance to some of the local residents.
Wafa said he expects this operation to encourage former enemies of Afghanistan to reconcile and join Program Takhim-e Solh, the Afghan government's reconciliation program, so they can participate in the democratic process of rebuilding the country.
"The enemy continues to learn the hard way that U.S., coalition and Afghan National Security forces will continue to be relentless in their search for and destruction of the enemy," Army Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya, Combined Joint Task Force 76 commanding general, said.
"In a few weeks, the people of Afghanistan will elect a National Assembly, which will constitute a vote against continued violence and suffering and a vote for a free and prosperous future," Kamiya said. "The enemy, too, has choices to make: to peacefully and honorably reconcile with Afghanistan's national government and become part of Afghanistan's brighter future, or to continue to live in the shadow of continued military confrontation, violence, death and defeat."
(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan
With all due respect to the President, we haven't prtected our own border. They are HERE already!!
I am disappointed in every politician out there for closing their eyes to this problem for VOTES.
After watching 9-11 on National Georgraphic last night it's fairly obvious we were stupid then and we still are.
The voices of the FAA people not knowing what to do was certainly embarassing. One says in answer to a phone call saying "we need to do something now"- [answer] "well everyone has left the room".
Then they sent the fighters 150 miles over the Atlantic by mistake instead of in the direction of flight 77 coming toward DC. The explanation was the hijacked plane was below the radar. Well, it seems to me he was above the radar originally, so how did they make such a big error?
As a final thought, it appeared that Vice President Cheney was the only cool head that morning putting the nuclear scenario into effect. One thing the 9-11 story completely neglected was Donald Rumsfeld's assistance with the injured at the Pentagon. I did not hear his name mentioned once.